Data Scientists


Employment Prospects


Data scientists are employed in nearly every industry, at nonprofits, by government agencies, and by data analytics consulting firms that provide services to these organizations. According to a 2016 survey by Burtch Works (a data science and analytics recruiting firm), 43 percent of data scientists were employed on the West Coast, while 28 percent worked in the Northeast.

Starting Out

Many people break into the career of data scientist after completing an internship or co-op educational experience while in college. Many data scientists landed their first jobs after performing well during internships. The following professional associations offer lists of internships and related opportunities at their Web sites.

  • American Statistical Association: http://www.amstat.org/ASA/Education/Internships-and-Fellowships.aspx
  • American Mathematical Society: http://www.ams.org/programs/students/emp-internships
  • IEEE Computer Society: https://ieeeusa.org/?s=internships
  • Association for Computing Machinery: http://jobs.acm.org

Other job-search strategies include working with recruiters (such as Burtch Works), contacting companies directly about job openings, using the resources of your college’s career services center, attending career fairs and other in-person networking events, and becoming active on LinkedIn (including creating a profile page, following data science companies, and joining groups such as Data Science Central; Data Mining, Statistics, Big Data, Data Visualization, and Data Science; Data Science and Artificial Intelligence; and Women in Machine Learning and Data Science).

Advancement Prospects

Data scientists with considerable experience and strong project management skills can advance to the position of team leader, and then to the position of chief data officer. Some data scientists with an entrepreneurial mindset launch their own data science consulting businesses. Others become college professors.    

Tips for Entry

Visit the following Web sites for job listings:

  • https://jobs.computer.org
  • http://jobs.burtchworks.com
  • http://jobs.acm.org

Check out the Career Resource Center of the Web site (http://www.burtchworks.com/big-data-analyst-salary/data-scientist-career-path) of Burtch Works, a major information technology executive recruiting firm.

Attend the following conferences to network and participate in continuing education opportunities:

  • Strata Data Conference: https://conferences.oreilly.com/strata
  • AWS Reinvent: https://reinvent.awsevents.com
  • IEEE International Congress on Big Data: http://www.ieeebigdata.org

Become a student member of the Association for Computing Machinery and its Special Interest Group on Management of Data (https://sigmod.org/membership/for-students) to access benefits such as a subscription to XRDS: Crossroads, ACM's Student Magazine; a mentorship program; and continuing education opportunities.