Whether you are experienced or thinking about getting into Data science, in this guide you will find out:

  • Which cities top the chart when it comes to the highest data scientist salary available?
  • Do Data Scientists like working with startups?
  • Do they want to stick to a job for more than a couple of years?
  • What tools should you learn to get the highest data scientist salary?

We reveal all.

The Data Scientist is often a storyteller presenting data insights to decision-makers in a way that is understandable and applicable to problem-solving.  


The role of Data Scientists has dramatically evolved over the last five years from mere data miners to complex problem solvers. From entertainment companies like Netflix to retail brands like Walmart – all have business models that now heavily rely on data intelligence.

Data Scientists collect, analyze, and interpret large volumes of data, in many cases, to improve a company’s operations. They develop statistical models that analyze data and detect patterns, trends, and relationships in data sets. This information is vital to predict consumer behavior or to identify business and operational risks. 

Data Scientist Salary – Is data scientist a high paying job?

For the year 2020, Glassdoor named Data Scientist as the third most desired job in the United States with more than 6500 openings and a median base data scientist salary of $107,801with a job satisfaction rate of 4.0.

When Glassdoor had named Data Scientist as the best job in the U.S, we published a scenario of Data Scientists’ jobs and salaries in Europe based on a report by Big Cloud.

Amidst this high demand of Data Scientists across the globe, it is not only difficult to hire Data Scientists, but also challenging to retain them.  Undoubtedly, salary is one of the major components when Data Scientists look at jobs and decide what is going to be their next big gig. A lot of experienced data scientists are increasingly freelancing to increase their salary.

Data scientist salary trends we picked up from a recent report by Big Cloud titled European Salary Report. This report delves into insights from over 1300 responses and 33 questions asked to professionals of all backgrounds, ages, and locations within the European region — the largest share of contributions being from Germany, France, UK, Netherlands, and Switzerland. 

Data Scientists prefer learning new skills on the job. Retain them!

Pay is a strong motivator although employees are willing to stay at their current company for longer – more so than before. This could be due to companies starting to understand the serious talent gap in the market and offering more competitive salaries to retain employees with new skills and increasing the overall average salary in the United States and Europe.

Search For Entry Level And Experience Is High Pay Opportunities
Search for entry level and experience is high pay opportunities

Comparing this to just 2% of employees staying with the same company for 10+ years, this data solidifies the ideology that Data Science is a fast-paced industry where Data Scientists and others in similar roles see value in learning new technologies and skills elsewhere. this comes as no surprise, as more companies recruit data scientist teams, salaries rise, and more specialist skills become sought after.

Python: The most popular modelling coding language for Data Scientists

70% of respondents said they use Python as their primary modelling coding language. This is a 10% increase from last year. A key skill to command at least an average data scientist salary. However, to go above an average salary more coding languages may be needed.

Broadly 9% use R, 4% use SQL, and 4% use Java. There were also 3% of respondents that said they don’t code.

In addition, 66% of respondents said their primary production coding language is also Python. These charts only highlight the top five primary modelling and production coding languages from the respondents. There were also 2% of use cases for C++ in modelling and 2% in Matlab. 

Most popular tools and methods used by Data Scientists

As high as 90% of participants chose Python as a tool they use regularly across Europe, which highlights just how universally accepted this data science tool is. Another 65% chose Jupyter notebooks and 60% chose SQL. When it came to Data Science methods, logistic regression, neural networks, and random forests were the top three most popular choices with roughly 56% of respondents claiming to use them.

Compared to a Data Scientists tool preferences, there is a much greater variety amongst their chosen data science methods. Other options in the survey (that didn’t make it to the top seven shown above) were 34% ensemble, 31% Bayesian techniques and 28% SVMs.

Does Learning Only Python Offer Average Pay?
Does learning only python offer average pay?
Salaries Per Year For Job Experience
Salaries per year for job experience
Methods And Average Pay
Methods and average pay

Expected Salary Increase by European Data Scientists

The Big Cloud survey asked its scientist respondents, ‘if you were moving jobs, what percentage salary increase do you think is realistic?’ A 23% majority expect to see an 11-15% increase in salary per year, with a further 19% expecting anywhere between 16-20%.

Upon comparing our 2019 results to the 2020 results, free food and equity/shares are more popular benefits now than they were than last year, with car/transport allowance and gym and leisure moving down the majority list instead.

If you are wondering where would a data scientist want to relocate for a new job? The top five places to relocate as a data scientist amongst European citizens were the United States, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, and France – the places with the highest data analytics salary on offer.

How much can you make as a data scientist?

Switzerland offers the highest salaries for Data Scientists

Here is a look at salaries in different cities in Europe (including the UK for now)- Switzerland leading the way!

Data Scientist Salary
Data Scientist salary
Data Scientist Salaries
Salary For A Data Scientist
Data Scientist
Data Scientist
Average Salary Per Year

Data Science salary in the United States

If you are on either coast this makes a difference, according to indeed the average data science salary is $123,785 and according to glassdoor its $113,436.

Entry-level can range the widest from $50,000 to $90,000. this probably depends on your prior background and education in your career and of course, location.

Seeing that the data analytics industry is young, its not surprising to see professionals more active in moving employers often as anyone with experience becomes far more valuable to companies and can reach manager status quickly.

Data Scientist Salaries In United States
Data scientist salaries in United States. Source: O’Reilly Data Science
Salary Survey

Data Scientists are more than willing to work with startups

Across all industries in Europe, 68% of people do not currently work in start-ups. Despite this, the data science market remains open-minded, with 83% saying they would consider joining one in the future.

A Guide To Your Future Data Scientist Salary

The respondents that currently work in start-up industries are primarily Technology/IT and Consulting (37%). Respondents from these two industries are also respectively the majority that would consider working for a start-up in the future (38%).

Which industry do Data scientists work in?

Biggest Industries For Data  Jobs
Biggest industries for data jobs. Source: O’Reilly Data Science Salary Survey

Consulting was the number one spot in the O’Reilly salary survey, followed by software and banking. No surprises there as these companies have the resources and huge amounts of data to go through. We fully expect data in insurance to be one of the biggest growth areas in 2021.

Final thoughts on a data scientist salary in 2020

Python is the most used although to increase your salary data science skills should continually be enhanced, especially start-ups looking for more rounded skills with SQL and Spark, for example, will only add to boost a data scientists salary.

O’Reilly’s Data Science Survey found that learning D3, visualization library in javascript can boost a salary by $8,000 a year.

SQL, Excel, R and Python are the most commonly used tools although we would suggest learning another to make your resume really stand out.

Lastly, familiarity and experience with cloud computing will also boost salaries, with respondents who use Amazon Elastic Mapreduce getting a boost of about $6,000 in their salaries.

Big data in 2020 is still growing with lots of companies still to recruit we think scientist salaries will continue to rise, and the remote opportunities will also grow as companies compete for experience, skills and need to widen their job search to all geographies to recruit this in-demand skill set.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is from Data Science Salary Report 2020 Europe by Big Cloud & O’Reilly Data Science Salary Survey

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