Careers in Data Science

Today’s most rewarding technical and managerial jobs often involve working with data and systems, managing the large quantities of data entering an organization, and translating data into words and data visualizations that others can easily understand. The data science training of the Northwestern University’s MS in Data Science program prepares you for opportunities in our increasingly data-intensive world.


Data Science Salaries

The employment market for data scientists is robust, with a growing need for qualified data engineers, data scientists and analysts and data architects. According to Glassdoor’s list of the 50 Best Jobs in America, by number of job openings, salary, and overall job satisfaction, data scientist is ranked in the top three with more than 4,000 current job openings.

Average annual salaries:

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the field will experience a 27.9% rise in employment through 2026. The high-growth job titles listed by the BLS include statistician, computer systems analyst, software developer, database administrator, and computer network analyst, data scientist, data analyst, data engineer, and data manager.

Across a recent five-year period, the number of data engineers has grown to half the number of data scientists. The number of data scientists more than doubled over those five years, and the number of data engineers sextupled.


Types of Data Science Careers

Organizations of all sizes, across industries, are looking for analysts, researchers, programmers, modelers, and data engineers — technical specialists who understand data, systems, and machine learning. To meet growth, innovation, and performance goals, they need database administrators, technical team leaders, and IT professionals who understand business requirements and can convert and visualize data and insights to inform and guide decisions and planning. Increasingly, organizations require not just data reporting, but the deeper business intelligence that can be gained from data.

The top 15 employers of data scientists reflect diverse industries, from tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon, and Apple, to large healthcare providers such as Humana and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Manufacturers such as Applied Materials, banking corporations such as Wells Fargo and Capital One, and nationally known consulting companies such as Deloitte and Booz Allen Hamilton are all posting hundreds — sometimes thousands — of data-science-related positions. They are looking for software developers and marketing specialists (the most common roles, at 34.8% and 14% of postings, respectively), as well as IT managers, network and systems engineers, business intelligence experts and general researchers.


Getting a Job in Data Science

Data science typically requires a bachelor’s degree in IT, computer science, or math. Often this preparation is followed by a master’s degree in data science or a related field and some on-the-job experience. Despite the complex skill set of data science, it’s a field that’s open to people from all walks of life and with diverse educational and professional backgrounds.

Many of the students in Northwestern's online master’s Degree in Data Science do not have a typical IT background or experience. Our faculty is sensitive to the needs of adult students and those entering the field from other professions. We offer a wide range of core classes, electives and specializations covering the latest career trends, and hands-on learning to build experience and portfolios prior to employment.


For more about careers in the data science field, see Data Scientist, Data Engineer, or Technology Manager: Which Job Is Right for You? by MS in Data Science faculty director Thomas Miller.


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