Career Spotlight: Data Scientist

August 23, 2019
Author: Stephanie Ludwigsen

Median Annual Wage (2018): $118,370/year or $56.91/hour

Entry-Level Education: Master’s degree

Work Experience in Related Occupation: None

Job growth through 2026: 19 percent (much faster than average)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Data Science

Data scientists represent one of the most sought-after professions in the world. Thanks to advanced analytics, big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, the need for data scientists continues to outpace supply.

So what exactly are Data Scientists?

“In the everyday sense,” according to ThinkWhy’s CTO David Kramer, “data scientists are mathematicians and researchers. They should be hypothesizing data outcomes and running the math models to prove and disprove their theories. In the end, they should be using rational analytical skills to allow organizations to take our most abundant and valuable resource, data, and turn it into action.”

The Challenges of Hiring Data Scientists

For many companies and institutions, understanding the role of data science remains fuzzy. This is partly because understanding the ways in which technology accomplishes tasks is still an ethereal construct and because data is ambiguous, pervasive and often overwhelming. Executives know they need data-driven analytics for business growth and forecasting, but it can be difficult to identify exactly where to start.

The obscurity surrounding technology, analytics and business intelligence can make it difficult to convince leaders and stakeholders to approve hiring budgets for data scientists. And even if they do get approval, hiring managers and human resource managers may find that the position they filled turns out to be something else entirely.

In addition, while chief technology officers clearly understand the important role of data scientists in their organization, they may face resistance when they explain that fully tapping into the potential of all that data science can do requires more money to get the job done right.

Outlook: (Very) Bright

Even with the existing obstacles associated with the data science employment learning curve, the job outlook is very bright. As the field of data science matures, so too will technology, innovation and automation. Data scientists have been ranked as the top profession for 2019, proving that employment for these intelligent and intelligence-minded professionals is expected to flourish.