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Expand chart
Data: Glassdoor; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Companies in every sector are ravenously hiring data scientists, hoping to eke out more sales or improve their efficiency. Pay is good for the average senior data scientist who makes nearly $140,000 a year and can pick from thousands of openings.

But for new entrants, just out of college or a tech bootcamp, the job market is rife with mislabeled job postings and stiff competition.

What's going on: Average wages for data scientists went down 1.4% in February compared to a year earlier, according to a Glassdoor report. There are a few factors behind the slip, according to the report's author, economist Daniel Zhao:

  • New supply of graduates has exploded, but entry-level job openings are few, and their pay is much lower.
  • Companies eager to bring in the best talent are mislabeling jobs as data science when they are really data analyst or statistician roles. Since such work is generally lower paid, it is dragging down data scientists' wages overall.

Data from ZipRecruiter, another job site, confirms the gap between junior and senior data scientist positions.

  • Between 2017 and 2018, senior data scientist positions grew about 3X, according to ZipRecruiter. But the more junior "data analyst" and "associate data scientist" positions only grew 22% and 39%, respectively.
  • Wages for senior job titles grew fast, ZipRecruiter tells Axios, while wages for junior roles grew slower than those for data science jobs overall.
  • But, but, but: ZipRecruiter, unlike Glassdoor, found a big overall jump in data science salaries, which in February 2019 matched the all-time high.

It's lucrative work — if you can get it.

  • Glassdoor pegs data science as the fourth-highest paying job out there, after pharmacists, solutions architects — a technical job that involves setting up new processes inside a company — and attorneys.
  • All of this is attracting top talent from other fields.
"If you’re a physics Ph.D. who has spent years using advanced machine learning techniques, the data science and artificial intelligence fields are more attractive than ever. As these more experienced and more educated workers pour in, students fresh out of bootcamps, undergrad or even master's programs will have a harder time competing."
— Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor economist

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.