Is it still worth becoming a data scientist?


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With salaries flattening and competitors rising, there are indicators the prospects for knowledge scientists could also be much less stellar than as soon as thought.

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For a number of years knowledge scientist has been ranked as one of many prime jobs within the US, by way of pay, job demand, and satisfaction.

However there are indicators the coveted position could also be dropping a few of its sheen, as salaries for knowledge scientists start to plateau.

Figures produced by Glassdoor Financial Analysis present a year-on-year fall in US knowledge scientist wages in February and March of this 12 months.

“On Glassdoor, we have seen pay for knowledge scientists really shrink 1.2 p.c in March 2019,” mentioned Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao.

“It is a continuation of an extended working development—knowledge scientist wage progress has been nicely under the nationwide common for the final 12 months.”

Glassdoor shouldn’t be alone in noticing the development, with an identical tailing off of salaries evident in knowledge collected by Stack Overflow over the previous 12 months.

“Knowledge scientist salaries are shifting nearer to the mainstream of software program developer salaries basically,” mentioned Stack Overflow knowledge scientist Julia Silge, including there was “a lot much less of a distinction” between the pay of the 2 teams when controlling for schooling degree.

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As for the explanation for the wage squeeze, for Glassdoor’s Zhao, it is clear that there are actually extra candidates for knowledge scientist roles than there are jobs accessible.

“As knowledge science has risen in prominence, enrolments in knowledge science packages and bootcamps have exploded. This enormous improve in staff for restricted entry-level jobs is holding down wages,” he mentioned.

Whereas analyst experiences typically talk about the sharp uptick in demand for knowledge science abilities, anecdotal proof from these within the business means that demand could also be being outstripped by the big numbers of latest entrants to the sector, because of the explosion within the variety of knowledge science programs provided by on-line studying hubs like and Coursera.

Vicky Boykis, senior supervisor for knowledge science and engineering at CapTech Ventures, wrote that she and others she is aware of within the business have seen greater than a fivefold improve within the numbers making use of for junior knowledge science roles.

“It may be very arduous for somebody with a brand new diploma in knowledge science to discover a knowledge science place, given what number of new folks they’re competing with out there,” she wrote.

However how can options of there being an oversupply of information scientists be reconciled with frequent experiences of a knowledge science abilities scarcity? Zhao says it is vital to grasp that whereas companies could also be struggling to search out the abilities they want, that does not imply there’s not sufficient entry-level expertise.

“There is likely to be a abilities scarcity, however not an applicant scarcity. It is common for entry-level or internship openings in knowledge science to obtain lots of of candidates. When employers speak about shortages, they’re typically speaking a couple of lack of skilled professionals,” he mentioned, including this largely stemmed from the novelty of information science as a mainstream discipline.

One confounding issue to remember, nevertheless, is that evaluating wage figures for knowledge scientists over time is made troublesome by how poorly outlined the information scientist position is.

“Corporations are more and more utilizing the information scientist title for different comparable roles comparable to knowledge analyst or statistician,” mentioned Zhao.

“This muddling of job titles is altering the composition of the information scientist workforce and holding down wages consequently.”

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With slowing wage progress amongst knowledge scientists and indicators there could also be a glut of junior expertise, ought to aspiring knowledge scientists pause for thought?

Boykis’ recommendation is to think about stepping into the sector by the “again door”, by beginning out in a tangentially associated discipline like a junior developer or knowledge analyst and dealing your approach in direction of changing into a knowledge scientist, reasonably than aiming straight for knowledge scientist as a profession.

Stack Overflow’s Silge has a barely totally different interpretation of why salaries are levelling out and believes folks should not essentially be deterred from getting into the business.

“I feel that what we’re seeing is a bit little bit of the standardization and the professionalization of information science,” she mentioned.

“The previous ten years have been a little bit of the Wild West relating to knowledge science. ‘How do you turn out to be a knowledge scientist?’, it has been a extremely open query.

“I see the business shifting in direction of some consensus round ‘What does it imply to be a knowledge engineer? and ‘What does it imply to be a knowledge scientist?’.

“If you get to that stage it turns into simpler to rent for these roles, and when these roles are simpler to rent for you do not have the loopy wage state of affairs we had earlier than.”

Glassdoor’s Zhao can also be fast to level on the market are nonetheless many features of being a knowledge scientist that make it a horny position — not least the truth that US knowledge scientists are nonetheless taking house $95,459 in median annual pay.

“One factor to bear in mind is that this is not essentially unhealthy information for aspiring knowledge scientists,” he mentioned.

“Knowledge scientists nonetheless have one of many highest-paying and highest-job-satisfaction jobs in the US.”

Nonetheless, he cautions new entrants to the sector to enter it with their eyes open.

“However it does imply that competitors amongst candidates is and can proceed to be fierce within the coming years.”

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Picture: dima_sidelnikov, Getty Photographs/iStockphoto

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