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2018 Data Scientist Salary Report Highlights

July 9, 2018

This post is a summary of our annual update to our data scientist salary report series, which includes analysis of the complete compensation and demographic information of 399 data scientists. The new set of data for The Burtch Works Study: Salaries of Data Scientists May 2018 was collected by our recruiters during the 12 months ending March 2018.This report contains data scientist salary information, including how salaries have changed since the last study was published in April 2017. Salary data include the distribution of base salaries (quartiles, medians, and means). Demographic characteristics are also reported, which include education, region, industry, gender, residency status, years of experience, and job category – individual contributor or manager, and experience or management level – along with how data scientist base salaries vary by such characteristics.

The full report can be downloaded for free here, and we’ve included page ranges in this post so that you can easily find additional data in the full report.

See this post for more information about how we define data scientists for this report.

Data Scientist Salary Highlights

For individual contributors, the median base salaries within data science range from $95,000 at level 1 to $165,000 at level 3 (see p. 13).The median base salaries of managers in data science range from $145,000 at level 1 to $250,000 at level 3 (see p. 13).

Similar to last year’s figures, the median base salaries of data scientists have remained relatively steady. In every job category, salaries fluctuated by a single-digit percentage point. Individual contributors at level 1 saw no increase in median base salary. In 2015 and 2016, salary growth in this category was most pronounced, but this year has continued the trend of entry salaries leveling off. For individual contributors at levels 2 and 3, median base salaries ticked upward by 2% and 5% respectively. Among managers, salaries for those at level 3 remain unchanged, while salaries at levels 1 and 2 decreased slightly, a 3% change in both cases (see pp. 12-14).When we compare the salaries of data scientists to those of others within predictive analytics (using data from our September 2017 report on predictive analytics professionals), it is clear that data scientists (who work primarily with unstructured data) continue to out-earn other predictive analytics professionals (who work primarily with structured data).As the data on pages 16 and 17 exhibit, data scientists earn base salaries up to 36% higher than other predictive analytics professionals. In all job categories except the higher level managers, data scientists realize a double-digit percentage advantage in base salary compared to others in predictive analytics.

Data Scientist Salaries Analyzed by Demographic Characteristics

Educational level continues to play a major role in compensation with data scientists holding a PhD earning higher median base salaries than those holding a Master’s degree in every job category. This trend is most pronounced among individual contributors; at 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 (see pp.18-20).

For data scientists working on the coasts, median base salaries continue to be higher across most job categories when compared to salaries in the Middle U.S. region (comprised of the Midwest, Mountain, and Southeast regions for this study). Additionally, the gap between salaries on the West Coast and the Northeast is beginning to close across job categories (pp. 21-22).Compared to previous years, the proportion of data scientists holding an H-1B has risen significantly. After holding steady in 2015 and 2016 at 9% and in 2017 at 8%, this year’s data show 13% of data scientists with an H-1B residency status (see pp. 25-26).Gender distribution remained steady when compared with previous years, with men representing 85% of data scientists and women representing 15%. For managers and higher level individual contributors this gap is more pronounced (see pp. 27-28).

Additional Information

For more data scientist salary information and demographic characteristics, you can download our full report for free.We’ve also posted information about the three data scientist salary trends we’re keeping an eye on in 2018, as well as our predictions for where data science is headed.

Want highlights from our 2019 Data Science & Analytics report, including salaries, demographic comparisons, and hiring market analysis? Watch our 15-minute RECAP video below!