Data Scientist Compensation Explained

If you’re thinking of becoming a data scientist or are one already then you might be curious how much a data scientist earns. There’s a bunch of sites with detailed info, segmented by the following: seniority, area, and skills. In this article, the focus is the U.S., providing a summary of various reputable sources.

The beginning point for this summary is LinkedIn. Occasionally, the salary for a position is included, and LinkedIn says how many viewed the listing, and how good of a fit you are per experience and skill matching. LinkedIn also shows which connections of yours work at the company in the listing for you to contact the most relevant people. Listings with less views, over 2 weeks old, are not as competitive (and possibly also less attractive), however if you don’t possess a ton of experience, it might be worth it to apply.

Popular sites with lots of details on jobs include GlassDoor, Indeed, and PayScale. GlassDoor, according to 17,000 reported salaries (here), lists a salary range of $82k to $165k, and an avg of $116k per year for data scientists at lvl 2. It goes up to an avg of $140k per year for lvl 3. You can search by criteria such as company or city. The list of companies includes:

  • Facebook: $153K according to 1,006 salaries. Range: $55K – $226K.
  • IBM: $131K according to 382 salaries. Range: $58K – $244K.
  • Quora: $123K according to 509 salaries. Range: $113K – $164K.
  • Oracle: $148K according to 457 salaries. Range: $88K – $178K.
  • Google: $149K according to 246 salaries. Range: $23K – $260K.
  • Microsoft: $134K according to 204 salaries. Range: $13K – $292K.
  • Amazon: $126K according to 190 salaries. Range: $60K – $235K.
  • Booz Allen Hamilton: $90K according to 186 salaries. Range: $66K – $215K.
  • Walmart: $109K according to 185 salaries. Range: $78K – $186K.
  • Uber: $144K according to 137 salaries. Range: $56K – $200K.
  • Intel: $126K according to 129 salaries. Range: $58K – $180K.
  • Airbnb: $181K according to 122 salaries. Range: $99K – $242K.
  • Cisco: $157K according to 166 salaries. Range: $79K – $186K.

These are only the base salaries and are not including bonuses, stock options, or any other benefits. Companies with lots employees in the Bay Area offer larger salaries per the living expenses. These stats could be biased because very senior employees are more likely to not provide salary info. A chief data scientist usually earns well beyond $200k per year, not including bonuses, and $800k per year, at companies like Deloitte or Microsoft, is not uncommon. On the low end, there are part-time employees and interns. If you look at Glassdoor, you can see a more granular level of detail.

Below are stats per Indeed (here) with a different perspective. They are segmented by area and type of expertise. The five cities with highest salaries are San Francisco ($157K per year), Santa Clara ($156K per year), New York ($140K per year), Austin ($134K per year) and San Diego ($125K per year). Shockingly, salary for Seattle is lower than in the salary for Houston. Note: if are a remote employee for a Bay Area firm, then you might receive a lower salary due to living in an area with lower living costs. Still though, you would have a nicer salary on avg than peers in San Francisco.

The experience receiving the highest salary (20 to 40% above average) is the following: DevOps, Microservices, Performance Marketing, Cloud Architecture, and CI/CD (continuous delivery and/or continuous deployment). Finally, Indeed also shows avg salaries for related occupations as follows:

  • Data Analyst, 27017 listings, $70K
  • Machine Learning Engineer, 27196 listings, $150K
  • Data Engineer, 10527 listings, $128K
  • Statistician, 1733 listings, $97K
  • Statistical Analyst, 15060 listings, $66K
  • Principal Scientist, 1644 listings, $143K

The avg for a Data Scientist is $119K per Indeed. This amount is similar to the one according to Glassdoor. Note that several well-funded startups can provide big salaries. My highest salary was as chief scientist / co-founder for a business of fewer than 20 employees. And my highest earnings were at a firm which I started and funded myself, though I wasn’t included in the payroll for the company and didn’t give a job title to myself.

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