As one of the fastest-growing jobs in the US, data roles are an appealing option if interested in the tech industry.

Data roles, specifically data scientists, are one of the fastest-growing jobs in the United States, according to the LinkedIn Jobs on the Rise Report for 2021. The report found that 150 million technology-related jobs are expected to be added around the world in the next five years, with 5,420 current job openings for data scientist positions on the LinkedIn website. 

With the powerful role that technology holds in the world today, data roles are a great option for those who may be interested in the technology industry. But what is it like to be a data scientist? 

What does a data scientist do?

Data roles primarily involve data science. Data science is the study of big data using statistics and computation. According to the UC Berkeley School of Information, data science involves a cycle that involves capturing, maintaining, processing, analyzing, and communicating.

Data scientists analyze data by combining statistics and math with computer science. An article from the Harvard Business Review conducted interviews with more than 30 data scientists. Those interviewed explained that data science involves testing large amounts of data, and using machine learning to make decisions and data products.

Data scientists work in various areas of technology, including universities, scientific research centers, and technology companies. They can also work in areas outside of the tech industry. For instance, data scientists may be helping analyze data for the medical industry or trucking industry.

What is the average data scientist salary in 2021?

According to May 2019 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, data scientists earn a mean annual salary of $100,560. However, there are several different variables that can result in a higher or lower salary. 

One variable that dictates salary is location. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some states, such as California, Illinois, and Texas have the highest levels of employment. However, these states do not provide the highest wages. New York, North Carolina, and Maryland are the highest paying states for data scientists. 

Another factor influencing how much a data scientist earns is the company they work at. According to Indeed, IDC Technologies, Facebook and eBay Inc. are some of the top companies in the US to work for. Based on 16 salary reports, IDC Technologies has an annual salary of $189,958 for data scientists. 

Glassdoor conducts annual research on the best jobs in America, according to salary, job openings, and job satisfaction. According to The Best Jobs in America 2020 findings, data scientist was the No. 3 best job in the US. It had a job satisfaction score of 4.0 out of 5 and a median base salary of $107,801.

How do you become a data scientist?

To become a data scientist, proper experience and education are required. If you are a student, a bachelor’s degree in engineering, mathematics, or statistics is ideal. It is also helpful if you take at least a course involving data science and analytics. 

While some jobs in the field require a bachelor’s degree, others require further education, like a master’s degree or doctorate. Furthermore, in addition to a degree, jobs will also require a few years of related experience through internships or past work. 

Those who are looking to shift careers from non-technical fields can also pursue a career in data science. People who work in economics or psychology, for instance, can transfer skills that can be used in data science. Then they can learn hard skills such as statistics or programming languages through programs or courses. 

What skills do you need to be a data scientist?

Data scientists use programming languages such R, Python, SQL, and Java. They also may use frameworks or databases in their work and may need to learn skills such as Tableau, NoSQL databases, or Apache Hadoop. 

Data scientists need to be able to build complex algorithms, so they need to be analytical and results-oriented. They also need to be good critical thinkers to recognize patterns in code and curious enough to work hard to turn results into solutions.

It is helpful if they have a background in statistics or linear algebra, as the profession blends computer programming with mathematics. Good communication skills are also helpful as they need to be able to discuss and present their results to people in their company.

A Quick Overview of Data Scientists

Overall, becoming a data scientist may require several skills and a solid education, but it is an important job in the technology industry and beyond. Data scientists collect, organize, and analyze data. Once they recognize patterns and discover solutions, they communicate their results to their company.

In the next five years, data roles will only continue to grow in greater demand and a need for more data scientists will become more prevalent. For those interested in pursuing a job in the technology industry, becoming a data scientist may be the perfect option. Powered by Woz U data science training is available from many of our higher education partners.

Sophia Acevedo

Sophia Acevedo is a journalist based in Southern California. She is a 2020 graduate from California State University, Fullerton, and a proud Daily Titan alum.