Data Scientist Salaries: How Much Do Data Scientists Make?

A career in data science offers great job opportunities and high incomes. If you are interested in these opportunities, you probably have questions. How much do data scientists earn? How much do data scientists earn per hour? Is it possible to work freelance as a data scientist? How much do freelance data scientists earn? Such questions help aspiring data scientists determine whether a career in data science is worthwhile.

Maybe you’re pursuing a degree in data science and want to know if the time, effort, and money you put into it are worth it. Maybe you’re trying to progress in the field and increase your income, or maybe you just want to change careers. Whatever your situation, this article will shed some light on how much data scientists make and help you make your decision.

Data Scientist Salary: An Overview of How Much Data Scientists Earn

  • Average salary: $97,004
  • 10th percentile salary: $68,000
  • Salary 90th percentile: $158,060

The above numbers reflect average base salaries for data scientists across all industries. While the average salary for data scientists is about $97,051 per year, according to PayScale, your salary potential depends on factors such as how many years of experience you have, where you work, what your job title is, and whether you have certain technical skills.

Data scientists who know how to use Python, understand machine learning and artificial intelligence, and have cybersecurity skills earn more than their counterparts. PayScale data shows that cybersecurity expertise alone can increase a data scientist’s annual salary by 42 percent. With the right set of skills and tools, you can qualify for senior positions such as lead data scientist, data scientist manager, or data scientist director.

How much do data scientists earn per hour?

According to PayScale, data scientists earn about $36.61 per hour on average. However, ZipRecruiter’s estimate places the median salary for data scientists at $57.41 per hour. The discrepancy between these sources can be explained, at least in part, by the fact that data scientists in different industries earn different amounts per hour.

For example, someone in the senior data scientist role can expect a higher hourly wage than an entry-level data scientist. According to PayScale, professionals with positions such as data science manager, senior data scientist, and lead data scientist would earn $59.26, $66.29, and $89.00 per hour, respectively.

Do data scientists make good money?

Yes, data scientists make good money. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that in 2020, the annual median wage for data scientists was $98,230. In addition, the total annual compensation of data scientists usually includes additional money from commissions, bonuses and profit sharing. Six-figure income is the gold standard for success in many industries.

A data science career offers a lot of room for growth and pay rises. Data science professionals can usually increase their earnings by continuing their education, earning advanced degrees such as a Master’s Degree in Data Science or a PhD in Data Science.

How much do data scientists earn? A breakdown of salary by location, experience and skills

Data scientist salaries are heavily influenced by skill level, experience and location. By understanding how these factors affect how much data scientists earn, you can better manage your salary expectations.

Data Scientist Salaries by Location

Salaries vary from state to state, as well as within a single state. In California, for example, the salaries of data scientists in the top cities range between $130,796 and $146,989 per year, according to ZipRecruiter. And as shown below, the states that pay the most for data scientists are New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, California, and Idaho.

Venue 25th percentile salary Median salary 75th percentile salary
New York $101,460 $130,980 $151,915
California $90,937 $127,388 $136,160
New Hampshire $97,810 $126,269 $146,451
Vermont $91,851 $121,598 $137,528
Idaho $85,018 $120,010 $127,297

Data Scientist Salaries by Experience Level

Data science professionals also earn more or less depending on their level of experience, i.e. the number of years they have worked in the field. An entry-level data scientist salary is the lowest, but you can look forward to an upward salary trajectory as you gain experience. Below is a breakdown of salary estimates by years of experience.

Experience Level 10th percentile salary Median salary Salary 90th percentile
Entry level (0-1 year) $61,000 $85,206 $118,000
Early career (1-4 years) $68,000 $95,865 $131,000
Mid-Career (5-9 years) $80,000 $110,216 $148,000
Experienced (10-19 years) $82,000 $121,122 $172,000
Late career (20+ years) $87,000 $134,267 $196,000

Data Scientist Salaries by Skill

By acquiring a wide range of relevant skills, a data scientist can earn more. Some data scientist skills are almost a standard requirement for this career path, while other specialized skills are in demand, but not mandatory everywhere. The table below shows how acquiring certain skills can affect how much you earn in a data scientist position.

Skill 10th percentile salary Median salary Salary 90th percentile
Cybersecurity $110,000 $137,971 $182,000
machine learning $72,000 $99,677 $137,000
Python $70,000 $98,351 $135,000
Static analysis $69,000 $98,082 $134,000
Data analysis $65,000 $93,239 $132,000

How much do freelance data scientists earn?

According to ZipRecruiter, the median wage for freelance data scientists is $100,349 per year. The compensation in terms of hourly wages is $48 per hour while the total salaries are between $22,500 and $182,000 annually. Statistics show that those in the 25th percentile earn about $52,000 a year, while those in the 75th percentile take home about $140,500.

Data Scientist Job Outlook

Forecasts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that employment for data scientists will increase by 31 percent between 2020 and 2030. This shows that the demand for skilled data scientists will continue to grow and employers will have to compete for the best in the field.

Keep in mind that those with specialized training can look forward to higher wages, and that upskilling and retraining are necessary if you want a chance at the best jobs. That said, data science is an ever-growing field with a positive outlook. This is true whether you are making a fresh start or changing careers.

Is data science a good career?

Yes. As we’ve seen, no matter what type of data science position you want, there’s room in the field for newbies. You can look forward to high pay, extra benefits and rewarding work. Best of all, you don’t need a data science degree to get started. To start your high paying career in data science, check out the best data science bootcamps.

How much do data scientists earn? FAQ

How much do data scientists earn from bonuses?

Bonuses for data scientists differ in relation to the position a person holds in a company. According to PayScale, data scientist bonuses range from $2,000 to $20,000. Many companies pay higher bonuses to data scientists with more seniority.

Do data scientists earn commissions?

Yes. According to PayScale statistics, data scientists enjoy commissions that range from $983 to $7,000 on average. In addition, data scientists in senior positions can expect higher commissions.

Can I benefit from profit sharing?

Yes. Careers as a data scientist have many benefits, including profit sharing. While this is unlikely to happen in the entry and early career stage, it is certainly something to look forward to later in your career. Someone in a senior position in data science could earn between $997 and $25,000 in profit-sharing money, according to PayScale.

Where can I find the highest paying jobs for data scientists?

The demand for data scientists varies by location. According to ZipRecruiter, cities in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area have the highest demand for data scientists and offer some of the highest salaries.

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