Over the past decade, our global focus has shifted more and more toward data, leading to growth in the field of data science. The demand and salary attached to the coveted data scientist career career remains high, though it is important to note that salaries for data scientists depend on their experience, where they work and what industry they work in.
This data scientist salary guide will help you understand how experience, location and industry affect a data scientist’s salary and will offer some recommendations to maximize your earning potential.
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How Much Do Data Scientists Make?
The mean annual data scientist salary was $103,930 in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, a data scientist’s starting salary may be lower than the average. The BLS reports that data scientists in some states such as California, New York, Washington, North Carolina and New Jersey earn mean annual salaries above $116,000. In all states, data scientist salaries are much higher than the median annual salary for all occupations, which was $41,950 in May 2020, according to BLS data.
O*Net OnLine claims that the job outlook for data scientists is bright and that data scientists will experience 15% growth between 2020 and 2030. According to Tableau, data skills are important for every career, and data jobs are on the rise. Companies are often searching for individuals who understand machine learning, big data and artificial intelligence. Generally, professionals with more education on their resumes are in higher demand than their entry-level counterparts.
Education level factors into how much data scientists make as well. A master’s degree in data science or a PhD in data science may lead to higher salaries in the field. Certifications, such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, may also increase earning potential.
Top Paying Locations/States for Data Scientists
Salaries for data scientists vary by region and state. Many high-paying jobs can be found in coastal states, such as California, Washington and New York. However, it is possible to earn a high data scientist salary elsewhere in the United States. In fact, Arizona boasts an average salary of $111,900 per year. Depending on the employer, some data scientists may also work remotely, which offers the opportunity to live where they want while maximizing their earning potential.
Overall, data scientists working in California, New York and Washington are in the highest-paying states in their field. It’s important to note that the BLS did not collect median wage data for Nevada, Wyoming, North Dakota, Delaware or Vermont.
Here’s a breakdown of five of the top states for data scientists’ earning potential in the BLS database, as of May 2020:
|State||Annual mean wage|
Data Scientist Salary by Working Experience
For those who want to live and work in a major metropolitan area, data science professionals can again look to the coastal cities for some of the top-paying jobs. These cities are considered major tech hubs, the homes of Silicon Valley (San Francisco) and Silicon Alley (New York). All the top five best-paying metropolitan areas for data scientists may expect an annual mean salary of over $120,000. However, there are many opportunities elsewhere. For example, the annual mean data scientist salary in Boise, Idaho, is $120,620. While location is one factor in determining salary, your particular industry, education level and experience affect salary as well.
The BLS lists the following metropolitan areas for the highest salaries among data scientists as of May 2020:
|Metropolitan area||Annual mean wage|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||$148,680|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$146,400|
|New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA||$129,250|
|Durham-Chapel Hill, NC||$125,790|
For those who don’t want to work in metropolitan areas, some nonmetropolitan areas may also offer competitive salaries for data scientists:
|Nonmetropolitan area||Annual mean wage|
|North Northeastern Ohio (noncontiguous)||$99,410|
Data Scientist Salary by Experience Level
In the field of data science, salary is based on multiple factors, including work experience. As professionals work within the field over time, they can expect to earn more as they move their way from an entry-level data scientist salary to a junior data scientist salary to a senior data scientist salary.
Looking at occupational data can provide a sense of how salaries may vary among data scientists. According to the BLS, the lowest 10% of data scientists earn around $52,950. In 2020, the median data scientist salary was $98,230 while the top 10% of data scientists earned an annual wage of around $165,230. In addition to level of work experience, other factors that may affect these numbers include a professional’s location and the industry they work in.
Data Scientist Salary by Industry
Data scientists can be useful in almost any industry. The type of company a data scientist works for may affect their earning potential as some industries are more lucrative than others. For example, data scientists in the industry of computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing can expect a mean annual wage of $144,090, which is well above the national mean of $103,930. However, it is important to note that the differences in salary may also have to do with the skills needed to perform at different levels in these industries. It is possible to earn a higher salary in most industries by building the right skillset.
Based on May 2020 data provided by the BLS, the following five industry areas offer the highest salaries for data scientists:
|Industry||Annual mean wage|
|Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing||$144,090|
|Securities, commodity contracts and other financial investments and related activities||$143,490|
|Merchant wholesalers, durable goods||$142,300|
|Other schools and instruction||$139,120|
|Monetary authorities-central bank||$126,590|
FAQs About Data Scientist Salary
There are many things to consider when pursuing a new career. The following frequently asked questions about salary expectations can be helpful to professionals seeking a job as a data scientist.
What are the highest paying cities for data scientists?
According to data from the BLS, the top five highest paying metropolitan areas for data scientists are:
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
- Durham-Chapel Hill, NC
- Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC.
Annual mean salaries range from $124,850 (Charlotte) to as much as $148,680 (San Francisco) in these areas.
How much money do data scientists make?
The average data scientist salary is over $100,000 in most parts of the country. The BLS reports that the mean annual wage for this career was $103,930 in 2020. Salaries for data scientists can vary based on job location, industry and work experience. As data scientists advance in their field, there is potential to earn higher salaries.
How much do data scientists make an hour?
Based on BLS data from 2020, data scientists earn a mean hourly wage of $49.97. Depending on certain factors, professionals may earn more or less than the average data scientist salary. These factors can include type of employer, location and skill level.
How much do entry-level data scientists make?
A data scientist’s salary will vary depending on their level of work experience. While an entry-level data scientist may start at a lower wage than those with years of experience, there is potential to earn more as they progress in their career. According to BLS data, the lowest 10% of all data scientists earned around $52,950 in 2020 while the top 10% earned an annual salary of around $165,230.
How much do junior-level data scientists make?
Junior-level data scientists typically make more than an entry-level data scientist but less than their senior-level peers. As they progress in their career, junior-level data scientists have the potential to earn higher salaries.
Last updated: January 2022
This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.