Artificial Intelligence Careers to Consider: Data Scientist

Year after year, headlines all over the world trumpet the growth of the tech industry. And while it may be undergoing a bit of a slump these days, it’s likely just a blip in the radar of this unstoppable force. If you find you’re the kind of person who wants to embrace the role of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) in the workplace, becoming a data scientist could be the perfect role for you. Discover all you need to know about the life of a data scientist—and whether it could be the right career path for you.


What does a data scientist do?

In its most basic form, data scientists take data to help form questions a particular company needs answered—then they take those questions and use them in the creation of algorithms and data models in order to answer the questions by predicting certain outcomes.

Whenever you see or hear about a report that uses any type of predictive model in order to forecast or theorize the outcome of an event, the chances are high that the model was developed by a data scientist.

While a data scientist’s specific day-to-day duties will vary broadly depending on the industry for which they work, most will be assigned tasks such as pinpointing certain patterns in datasets; analyzing data using tools such as Python, SAS, and SQL; employing machine learning techniques to enhance data quality; and other similar duties.

People sometimes confuse “data scientist” with “data analyst” or use the terms interchangeably. And while they’re similar roles in the sense that they both search for trends within data to help companies make better decisions, they’re not identical. A data scientist is also in charge of forming the questions that the data needs to answer, and it’s considered a more senior role, while a data analyst tends to work with a group in order to answer an already established question and is considered a more junior role.

What education and skills do you need?

Employers will want a candidate with at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a field like mathematics, computer science, or statistics. Certain companies also require a master’s or a doctoral degree. Regardless of your major, you’ll want a deep and thorough understanding of statistics and probability.

Hiring managers particularly look for hard skills like programming; data wrangling (being able to clean and organize complex data sets to make them simpler to analyze); and cloud computing using services such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Service (AWS), and Google Cloud. Soft skills are important too, especially the ability to effectively communicate with your team and client, as well as attention to detail (there are a lot of opportunities for small mistakes) and the capacity to be a close listener in order to fully understand what is being asked of you.

What does the role’s future growth look like?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, data scientists can enjoy employment growth of around 35 percent from 2022-2032, which is significantly faster than the average growth of other occupations. The Bureau estimates a whopping 17,700 new openings for data scientists every year over the next ten years.

What can you expect in terms of the average salary?

Earnings obviously all depend on the company’s location, size, and specific industry, but data scientists earned a median salary of $100,910 in 2021, with the highest paid data scientists located in Washington state, California, Delaware, New York, and New Jersey. The highest-earning 25 percent of data scientists made around $130,770 per year, while the lowest-earning 25 percent made $77,620.

Whether you’re just starting out in the workforce or you’re one of the many workers who have made the decision to pivot to a different career entirely, a job as a data scientist may be worth looking into. The future of tech is bright, and it may prove worthwhile to get in now as more and more advancements are being made every single day.

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