Salaries of Data Scientists Remain Unthreatened by the rise of AI
New insights have been shown into the current compensation trends for data scientists as their salaries remain quite lucrative—despite the rise in AI adoption.
In a publication titled Burtch Works Study: Salaries of Data Scientist, the average base salaries of data scientists have remained relatively steady. Ranging from $95,000 at level 1—with 0-3 years of experience—to $165,000 at level 3 (9+ years) for individual contributors; and from $145,000 at level 1 (1-3 reports) to $250,000 at level 3 (10+ reports) for managers.
The report also revealed that data scientists still earn lucrative salaries despite not being managers and those holding a PhD earn a higher median base salary than with a Master’s degree in every job category. However, this trend is most noticeable among individual contributors as level 1, data scientists with a PhD earn a median base salary of $102,000 while those with a Master’s degree earn a median base salary of $92,500.
In the field of predictive analytics, data scientists earn base salaries up to 36% more than other professionals and in all job categories—except the higher-level managers—data scientists earn a double-digit percentage advantage in base salary when compared to others in the predictive analytics field.
For many individuals, huge salaries attract new them into starting a new profession—and the growing demand for data scientists has caused the continuous evolution of the profession as awhole. There has now been a shift in the requirements as many organizations demand a Master’s degrees instead of a PhD which has helped drive the increase of data science Masters degree programs.
Today, the pool of available data scientists has grown due to the influx of existing mathematicians and statistics professionals upgrading their skill sets—in addition to the new graduates of online data science courses that can be started via an online program page.
However, as the number of new data scientists has grown, so has the demand. While this has moderated the salary growth of data scientists, it still remains very lucrative. According to an analysis conducted by PromptCloud—a web data provider—it found that the average salary offered to data scientists between July 2017 and March 2018 increased by 6.43%.
Professor of Computer Science at IIT and director of the Master of Data Science program at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Shlomo Argamon observed that there has been an increase in both the demand for and the supply of data scientists.
“The awareness of the usefulness of data science has grown, and as tools become more widely available, companies in a greater variety of industries are making use of data scientists, either in-house or via a growing number of data science consulting firms,” said Argamon in a report.
Since data science provides an increasing number of diverse employment opportunities, it has been equally matched by an increasing number of people with different backgrounds entering the data science profession.
“We’ve always sought a diversity of backgrounds among our students, as we see that as strengthening the learning experience for budding data scientists – our goal is to produce well-rounded data scientists who can effectively communicate with both technical and non-technical colleagues and clients, and who can learn new domains and collaborate with diverse experts,” noted Argamon.
Argamon noted that over the last five years, there has been a trend of new entrants from different fields and experiences getting attracted to data science.
“While our earliest students were almost entirely from computer science, engineering, and statistics backgrounds, we have seen growth in the numbers of our incoming students from other backgrounds, with majors such as business, history, biology, chemistry, economics, and anthropology,” he said.
“These different ways of thinking, we believe, will contribute to the breadth and effectiveness of these students and others in their cohort as data scientists.”
According to the report by Burtch Works, they predict a shift in job requirements that leans towards machine learning and AI skills.
“Now that many teams have grown, the need for generalist ‘unicorns’ has given way to a higher demand for data science specialists that can work with other analytics professionals and data engineers on the team,” noted the report.
“For example, we now regularly receive requests for experts in specific areas such as NLP (natural language processing) or image processing using tools like TensorFlow.”