Data Scientist Breakdown: Skills, Certifications, and Salary

Data Scientist Breakdown: Skills, Certifications and Salary

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A lot of us are worried about the demand for data scientists since the use of platforms such as ChatGPT. Over the past few years, companies have been laying off employees in the tech sector, and the big question everybody is asking is whether AI is the reason behind it.

In today’s article, we will be speaking specifically about data science, and although there are challenges, those with data science skills have a more promising career longevity.

A study by 365datascience shows that data scientists made up 3% of those laid off by major tech companies. Other tech professionals such as software engineers, were affected more, at around 22%.

This statistic alone presents to us the crucial role data scientists play in advancing the tech industry.


What is the Role of a Data Scientist?

A data scientist’s job role focuses on statistics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Their business objective is to be able to use different data strategies and turn raw data into business insights that can be used in the decision-making process.

This can go from simple data analysis to building machine learning models.

A data scientist is skilled in mathematics, statistics, and computer science with expertise in a programming language such as Python or R.


How Do You Become a Data Scientist

As stated above, to become a data scientist, you will need to have a good foundational understanding of mathematics, and statistics along with a programming language.

What about computer science? Do I not need a degree for this?

In some cases yes, depending on where you are in the world. For example, in the UK a lot of companies desire a university degree. However, as the demand for data scientists continues to grow, organisations understand the low supply and are more than happy to take on people with the correct certifications and skills.

So what kind of certifications are these?


Data Scientist Salary

So what’s the money like?

According to Glassdoor, updated on the 12th of April 2024 – the average salary for a data scientist in the US is $157,000, ranging from $132,00 to $190,000.

Please note that in this figure, only 37.8% of job postings announced their salary. Working in the tech industry, I have come across US data scientists with a salary between $160,000–$200,000 annually.

However, salary is highly dependent on a range of factors:


Factors Affecting Data Scientist Salary


  • Geographic Location – Regions that tend to have a higher cost of living such as London or New York will generally have a higher salary. However, with this being said, the increase in remote workers has allowed data scientists globally to earn a better salary.
  • Experience – Naturally, the more experience you have the more money you will get. Gaining the right experience and skills as a data scientist will help you increase your salary as you become more competitive in an already high-demand market.
  • Industry – The industry you work for also reflects your salary. Industries such as technology, finance, and healthcare are making more use of their data day-to-day and require data scientists to make sense of it.


Wrapping it Up


The demand for data scientists will continue to grow and if you are somebody who is looking to transition into the tech industry with a career that has a higher chance of job security – data science is for you.

Don’t worry about not having the right qualifications from University, you can gain the same experience, skills, and land a job with the certifications mentioned above!


Nisha Arya is a data scientist, freelance technical writer, and an editor and community manager for KDnuggets. She is particularly interested in providing data science career advice or tutorials and theory-based knowledge around data science. Nisha covers a wide range of topics and wishes to explore the different ways artificial intelligence can benefit the longevity of human life. A keen learner, Nisha seeks to broaden her tech knowledge and writing skills, while helping guide others.

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