What you need to know
Data scientists use analytical tools and techniques to find meaningful insights from data. They often use data visualization software to share their findings with others.
Data scientists’ analysis will help organizations to make informed decisions and improve their business processes, to design and develop new products, and to better market their products.
Some of the things a data scientist might do:
- Determine which data are available and useful for the project
- Collect, categorize, and analyze data
- Create, validate, test, and update algorithms and models
- Use data visualization software to present findings
- Make business recommendations based on data analysis
- Analytical skills: Data scientists must be adept at researching and at examining and interpreting findings.
- Computer skills: Data scientists must be able to write code, analyze data, develop or improve algorithms, and use data visualization tools.
- Communication skills: Data scientists must be able to convey the results of their analysis to technical and nontechnical audiences to make business recommendations.
- Logical-thinking skills: Data scientists must understand and be able to design and develop statistical models and to analyze data.
- Math skills: Data scientists use statistical methods to collect and organize data.
- Problem-solving skills: Data scientists must devise solutions to the problems they encounter in data collection and cleaning and in developing statistical models and algorithms.
The average pay for data scientists in the United States was $103,500 in May 2022 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
About 17,700 openings for data scientists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.
Overall employment of data scientists is projected to grow 35 percent from 2022 to 2032 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations.
Employment growth for data scientists is expected to stem from an increased demand for data-driven decisions. The volume of data available and the potential uses for that data will continue to increase in the future.
Data scientists typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, statistics, computer science, data science, or a related field to enter the occupation. However, some employers require or prefer that candidates have a master’s or doctoral degree.
Because data science involves the use of algorithms and statistical techniques, students need extensive study in mathematics and statistics. High school students interested in becoming data scientists should take classes in subjects such as linear algebra, calculus, and probability and statistics.