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A person who is considering a degree in data science may wonder, “Does data science pay well?” The answer is important to know because a lot of students end up saddled with large loans that eat up a lot of their pay, making it difficult for them to save for retirement, buy a home or meet other personal goals they have for themselves. Being aware of the salary range for a data scientist could help a person decide if the typical pay would be in line with their financial situation upon graduation and well into their career.

Related resource: 30 BEST MASTER’S IN DATA SCIENCE ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAMS

Median Annual Wage for Data Scientists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for a data scientist was $118,370 in May 2018. This means that half of the people in the occupation earned less than that amount, and half earned more than that amount. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned around $69,230 and the highest-paid 10 percent earned an average of $183,820 per year.

Annual Salary for Data Scientists By Industry of Employment

Another way to decide whether or not data science pays well is by examining salaries for each industry that employs these professionals. The industry with the highest average annual pay for a data scientist is software publishing, with an average annual salary of $144,220. Data scientists who work in research and development earn the next-highest average annual salary, exceeding $122,000 per year. Excluding the postal service, the data scientists employed by the federal government earned an average of just over $109,000 per year. Local, state and private professional schools, colleges and universities paid data scientists an average of more than $82,000 per year.

Cities and States With the Highest Pay for Data Scientists

The cost of living varies a lot by metropolitan area and state. Within the same state, cities tend to have a higher cost of living than suburban and rural areas. When considering a salary offer, a data scientist should compare it against the cost of living for that area. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cities or metropolitan areas with the highest-paid data scientists in May 2018 were San Jose, Seattle, Huntsville, Palm Bay, Albuquerque, San Francisco, Boulder, Portland, New York, and Provo. The five highest-paying states were Washington, Alabama, Idaho, New Mexico, and California.

Other Factors That Affect the Salary of Data Scientists

There are some other factors that go into the annual salary of a data scientist. Those who hold a master’s or doctorate degree may command a higher annual salary. With more years of experience, a data scientist will typically earn more. Those who publish articles in scientific journals may also earn more as a result of bringing in research funding. Data scientists who move into a supervisory or management role may also have higher than average annual salaries.

The median annual salary of a data scientist is something to keep in mind, especially if a person is considering earning an advanced degree and would need to take out additional loans in order to complete their education. The salary would also be important when examining an area’s cost of living or choosing a different type of housing arrangement. Knowing the answer to, “Does data science pay well?” could help a person work with a financial advisor and create a comfortable budget and reasonable financial goals.


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Datasciencedegreeprograms.net is an advertising-supported site. Clicking in this box will show you programs related to your search from schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.