10 min read

It is no secret that this is the age of data. More data has been created in the last 2 years than ever before. Within the dumps of data created every second, businesses are looking for useful, action worthy insights which they can use to enhance their processes and thereby increase their revenue and profitability. As a result, the demand for data professionals, who sift through terabytes of data for accurate analysis and extract valuable business insights from it, is now higher than ever before.

Think of Data Science as a large tree from which all things related to data branch out – from plain old data management and analysis to Big Data, and more.  Even the recently booming trends in Artificial Intelligence such as machine learning and deep learning are applied in many ways within data science. Data science continues to be a lucrative and growing job market in the recent years, as evidenced by the graph below:

Data Science Job Seeker graph

Source: Indeed.com

In this article, we look at some of the high paying, high trending job roles in the data science domain that you should definitely look out for if you’re considering data science as a serious career opportunity.

Let’s get started with the obvious and the most popular role.

Data Scientist

Dubbed as the sexiest job of the 21st century, data scientists utilize their knowledge of statistics and programming to turn raw data into actionable insights. From identifying the right dataset to cleaning and readying the data for analysis, to gleaning insights from said analysis, data scientists communicate the results of their findings to the decision makers. They also act as advisors to executives and managers by explaining how the data affects a particular product or process within the business so that appropriate actions can be taken by them.

Per Salary.com, the median annual salary for the role of a data scientist today is $122,258, with a range between $106,529 to $137,037. The salary is also accompanied by a whole host of benefits and perks which vary from one organization to the other, making this job one of the best and the most in-demand, in the job market today. This is a clear testament to the fact that an increasing number of businesses are now taking the value of data seriously, and want the best talent to help them extract that value. There are over 20,000 jobs listed for the role of data scientist, and the demand is only growing.

Data Scientists Graph

Source: Indeed.com

To become a data scientist, you require a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in mathematics or statistics and work experience of more than 5 years in a related field. You will need to possess a unique combination of technical and analytical skills to understand the problem statement and propose the best solution, good programming skills to develop effective data models, and visualization skills to communicate your findings with the decision makers.

Interesting in becoming a data scientist? Here are some resources to help you get started:

For a more comprehensive learning experience, check out our skill plan for becoming a data scientist on Mapt, our premium skills development platform.

Data Analyst

Probably a term you are quite familiar with, Data Analysts are responsible for crunching large amounts of data and analyze it to come to appropriate logical conclusions. Whether it’s related to pure research or working with domain-specific data, a data analyst’s job is to help the decision-makers’ job easier by giving them useful insights. Effective data management, analyzing data, and reporting results are some of the common tasks associated with this role. How is this role different than a data scientist, you might ask. While data scientists specialize in maths, statistics and predictive analytics for better decision making, data analysts specialize in the tools and components of data architecture for better analysis.

Per Salary.com, the median annual salary for an entry-level data analyst is $55,804, and the range usually falls between $50,063 to $63,364 excluding bonuses and benefits. For more experienced data analysts, this figure rises to around a mean annual salary of $88,532. With over 83,000 jobs listed on Indeed.com, this is one of the most popular job roles in the data science community today. This profile requires a pretty low starting point, and is justified by the low starting salary packages. As you gain more experience, you can move up the ladder and look at becoming a data scientist or a data engineer.

Data Analyst Graph

Source: Indeed.com

You may also come across terms such as business data analyst or simply business analyst which are sometimes interchangeably used with the role of a data analyst. While their primary responsibilities are centered around data crunching, business analysts model company infrastructure, while data analysts model business data structures. You can find more information related to the differences in this interesting article.

If becoming a data analyst is something that interests you, here are some very good starting points:

Data Architect

Data architects are responsible for creating a solid data management blueprint for an organization. They are primarily responsible for designing the data architecture and defining how data is stored, consumed and managed by different applications and departments within the organization.

Because of these critical responsibilities, a data architect’s job is a very well-paid one. Per Salary.com, the median annual salary for an entry-level data architect is $74,809, with a range between $57,964 to $91,685. For senior-level data architects, the median annual salary rises up to $136,856, with a range usually between $121,969 to $159,212. These high figures are justified by the critical nature of the role of a data architect – planning and designing the right data infrastructure after understanding the business considerations to get the most value out of the data.

At present, there are over 23,000 jobs for the role listed on Indeed.com, with a stable trend in job seeker interest, as shown:

Data Architect Graph

Source: Indeed.com

To become a data architect, you need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, mathematics, statistics or a related field, and loads of real-world skills to qualify for even the entry-level positions. Technical skills such as statistical modeling, knowledge of languages such as Python and R, database architectures, Hadoop-based skills, knowledge of NoSQL databases, and some machine learning and data mining are required to become a data architect. You also need strong collaborative skills, problem-solving, creativity and the ability to think on your feet, to solve the trickiest of problems on the go. Suffice to say it’s not an easy job, but it is definitely a lucrative one!

Get ahead of the curve, and start your journey to becoming a data architect now:

Data Engineer

Data engineers or Big Data engineers are a crucial part of the organizational workforce and work in tandem with data architects and data scientists to ensure appropriate data management systems are deployed and the right kind of data is being used for analysis. They deal with messy, unstructured Big Data and strive to provide clean, usable data to the other teams within the organization. They build high-performance analytics pipelines and develop set of processes for efficient data mining.

In many companies, the role of a data engineer is closely associated with that of a data architect. While an architect is responsible for the planning and designing stages of the data infrastructure project, a data engineer looks after the construction, testing and maintenance of the infrastructure. As such data engineers tend to have a more in-depth understanding of different data tools and languages than data architects.

There are over 90,000 jobs listed on Indeed.com, suggesting there is a very high demand in the organizations for this kind of a role. An entry level data engineer has a median annual salary of $90,083 per Payscale.com, with a range of $60,857 to $131,851. For Senior Data Engineers, the average salary shoots up to $123,749 as per Glassdoor estimates.

Data Engineer Graph

Source: Indeed.com

With the unimaginable rise in the sheer volume of data, the onus is on the data engineers to build the right systems that empower the data analysts and data scientists to sift through the messy data and derive actionable insights from it.

If becoming a data engineer is something that interests you, here are some of our products you might want to look at:

You can also check out our detailed skill plan on becoming a Big Data Engineer on Mapt.

Chief Data Officer

There is a countless number of organizations that build their businesses on data, but don’t manage it that well. This is where a senior executive popularly known as the Chief Data Officer (CDO) comes into play – bearing the responsibility for implementing the organization’s data and information governance and assisting with data-driven business strategies. They are primarily responsible for ensuring that their organization gets the most value out of their data and put appropriate plans in place for effective data quality and its life-cycle management.

The role of a CDO is one of the most lucrative and highest paying jobs in the data science frontier. An average median annual pay for a CDO per Payscale.com is around $192,812. Indeed.com lists just over 8000 job postings too – this is not a very large number, but understandable considering the recent emergence of the role and because it’s a high profile, C-suite job.

Chief Data Officer graph

Source: Indeed.com

According to a Gartner research, almost 50% companies in a variety of regulated industries will have a CDO in place, by 2017. Considering the demand for the role and the fact that it is only going to rise in the future, the role of a CDO is one worth vying for.  

To become a CDO, you will obviously need a solid understanding of statistical, mathematical and analytical concepts. Not just that, extensive and high-value experience in managing technical teams and information management solutions is also a prerequisite. Along with a thorough understanding of the various Big Data tools and technologies, you will need strong communication skills and deep understanding of the business.

If you’re planning to know more about how you can become a Chief Data Officer, you can browse through our piece on the role of CDO.

Why demand for data science professionals will rise

It’s hard to imagine an organization which doesn’t have to deal with data, but it’s harder to imagine the state of an organization with petabytes of data and not knowing what to do with it. With the vast amounts of data, organizations deal with these days, the need for experts who know how to handle the data and derive relevant and timely insights from it is higher than ever.

In fact, IBM predicts there’s going to be a severe shortage of data science professionals, and thereby, a tremendous growth in terms of job offers and advertised openings, by 2020. Not everyone is equipped with the technical skills and know-how associated with tasks such as data mining, machine learning and more. This is slowly creating a massive void in terms of talent that organizations are looking to fill quickly, by offering lucrative salaries and added benefits.

Without the professional expertise to turn data into actionable insights, Big Data becomes all but useless.




Data Science Enthusiast. A massive science fiction and Manchester United fan. Loves to read, write and listen to music.


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