So How Many Data Scientists Are There?

Mad Scientist

The job title ‘Data Scientist’ is something that didn’t exist even twenty years ago, however, overt the last decade it has quickly become one of the most sought after professions in the United States. Simply put, the responsibilities of a data scientist are to analyze growing data volumes in order to help turn them into actionable insights for companies. There was a really interesting Wall Street Journal blog entry posted recently regarding the data science profession, and I thought it would be worthwhile to summarize and share.

According to the article, RJMetrics, a software startup that is looking to fill data science positions within took to LinkedIn to try and better gauge the market. In May of this year, the startup sifted through 236 million profiles, which represents about 65 percent of the members on the social media network. The firm sorted profiles based on job title, looking only for members who self-identified as “data scientist.

LinkedIn profiles hardly make up the entire job market, so that has to be kept in mind. In addition, some may not have referred to themselves specifically as data scientists, and the profession may be called something else in other parts of the world.

Here were the results:

  • RJMetrics found there to be 11,400 data scientists around the globe (profiles where users self-identified as full-time data scientists)
  • The total could be as high as 19,400 due to some profiles containing the title data scientist but may have been incomplete
  • The number of data scientists has doubled over the last four years
  • 50 percent of all data scientists earned the title during that same four-year period
  • Demand for data scientists has outpaced demand for all other technology professionals by 50 percent

According to the report, the top skills found in those who identified as data scientists include data analysis, data mining, machine learning, and knowledge of the programming languages Python and R. 79 percent of data scientists hold masters or doctoral degrees, but the most common degree is surprisingly not in computer science, but in physics. The scarcity in manpower and talent on the data scientist front can be attributed largely to high levels of education associated with the profession.

The research completed by RJMetrics found that nearly half of the world’s data scientists reside in the United States. Secondarily, the UK and India have the next highest numbers. However, LinkedIn’s limited penetration outside of the US could make those numbers a little murky. According to the report, Microsoft has the most data scientists currently while Google’s total was quite low in comparison to other organizations.

With entry-level data science jobs paying as much as $200,000, you’d think there would be more of them. I’m sure if we check back in just a few short years, there will be.

Timothy King
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Timothy King

Editor, Data and Analytics at Solutions Review
Timothy leads Solutions Review's business intelligence, data integration, and data management areas of focus. He is recognized as one of the top influencers in big data, and the number-one authority in enterprise middleware. Timothy has also been named a top-75 global business journalist by Richtopia.
Timothy King
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