Data science jobs: Professionals with advanced degrees earn more

Apart from being in-demand, data science jobs can also be financially rewarding.

By U2B Staff 

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Data science jobs are in high demand.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that there are ample opportunities in the field of mathematical science. Four occupations that make up the mathematical science occupational group include actuaries, operations research analysts, mathematicians and statisticians; data science is listed under the latter.


“Data science combines methods from statistics, computer science, engineering, and management,” notes the US Bureau. 

“This field aims to build models, make predictions, and recommend actions based on data, rather than just explaining what the data mean. As businesses increasingly look to make decisions with fully formed data analysis and evidence, statisticians who work on actionable predictions will be in high demand.”

Data science jobs 

Apart from being in-demand, data science jobs can also be financially rewarding. 

A survey by recruitment agency Burtch Works — Salaries of Data Science & Analytics Professionals — found that 73% of data science and analytics teams planned to hire in Q1/Q2 of 2021. This is an increase from January 2020 when 67% of teams planned to hire.

They add that 81% of data science and analytics teams plan to hire in Q3/Q4 of 2021. This is a significant increase from their survey for the first half of the year.

The salary data was gathered from May 2020 through April 2021, and shows that 2021 salaries remained steady at most job levels for both data scientists and analytics professionals. “While there were a few job levels that saw a slight median salary increase or decrease over the past year, these changes were not significant,” said the report.

In investigating the changes to data scientists’ salaries by segmenting their data sample by the pandemic economy period (May 2020 – January 2021) and then the recovery economy period (Feb. 2021 – Apr. 2021), they found that the most notable increases in data scientists’ base salaries were for experienced individual contributors and first-level managers. 

data science jobs
Base salaries for data science individual contributors.

Burtch Works found that top-level data science managers have a median base salary of 250,000 US dollars while the figure is US$160,000 for experienced individual contributors. They predict that salaries will continue to climb. 

data science jobs
Base salaries by job level for analytics managers.

“As the economy booms, companies will be more likely to invest in or accelerate digital transformation efforts causing increased competition for talent as compared to the pandemic economy. These factors will push salaries for those with quantitative skillsets upward,” it said.

They add that leadership skills become the main focus over hands-on data skills at the most senior levels of management. 

Data science jobs: education

data science jobs
Data science professionals with advanced degrees tend to earn more.

Other trends and insights from the report notes:

  • Most data science and analytics professionals hold an advanced degree (master’s or PhD)
  • Education level has a marked effect on salary
  • Data scientists are more likely to hold a PhD than other analytics professionals
  • Computer science is the most popular area of study for data scientists
  • Engineering is gaining prevalence among both types of professionals compared to previous years