Data scientists as a profession

The role of the data scientist was recognized 10 years ago, and it has become a sexy profession in the job market. The next-generation data scientists will be mostly welcomed in the increasingly important data economy and data-to-decision.

In 2004, Dr Usama Fayyad was appointed as the Chief Data Officer of Yahoo, which opened the door to a new career possibility: the data science professional [Manieri et al. 2015; Harris et al. 2013] or more specifically data scientist, for those people whose role very much centers on data. In 2015, the White House appointed the first U.S. Chief Data Scientist [Whitehouse 2015]. This role “will shape policies and practices to help the U.S. remain a leader in technology and innovation, foster partnerships to help responsibly maximize the nation’s return on its investment in data, and help to recruit and retain the best minds in data science to join us in serving the public.” [Whitehous 2015].

Today, the role of data scientist [Patil 2011] is regarded as “the sexiest job of the 21st century” [Davenport and Patil 2012]. It is reported that data scientists earn much higher salaries than those in other data-related jobs, with a median salary of US$120k for data scientists and US$160k for managers, according to the 2014 Burtchworks survey [Burtch 2014]. This is attributed to the fact that 88% of respondents in this survey have at least a Master’s degree, while 46% also hold a Doctorate compared to only 20% of other Big Data professionals. In the 2015 O’Reilly survey [King and Magoulas 2015], 23% were found to hold a doctorate, while another 44% had a Master’s. The median annual base salary of this survey sample was US$91,000 globally, and among US respondents was US$104,000, compared to US$150k for “upper management” (higher than project and product managers).

Note: Excerpted from “Longbing Cao. Data Science: A Comprehensive Overview


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2. Harlan Harris, Sean Murphy, and Marck Vaisman. 2013. Analyzing the Analyzers: An Introspective Survey
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5. Thomas H. Davenport and D.J. Patil. 2012. Data scientist: The sexiest job of the 21st century. Harvard
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6. Linda Burtch. 2014. The Burtch Works Study: Salaries of Data Scientists. (April 2014). http://www. DS final.pdf

7. John King and Roger Magoulas. 2015. 2015 Data Science Salary Survey. (2015). http://duu86o6n09pv.