October 8, 2015

Data Science Trends & Statistics

Talking Data Science

In May 2015, RJMetrics scraped 236 million LinkedIn profiles, roughly 65% of profiles on the site, looking for members who included “data scientist” in their job title or headline, in any of 9 languages. Here are some interesting trends and statistics.

Data Science by trends by numbers
The report tallied a minimum of 11,400 data scientists worldwide. That is the number of complete profiles in which an employees describe themselves as full-time data scientists on LinkedIn. RJMetrics found many incomplete or partially private profiles that included the term data scientist, so the number could be as high as 19,400.

Data Science growth trends and statistics\
According to the report, the number of data scientists has doubled over the last four years. In fact, 50% of all data scientists earned the title within that period.

Data Science demand trends and statistics
Demand for data scientists has outpaced demand for other types of tech professionals, such as engineers or data analysts, by 50%. The study didn’t examine whether companies have slapped the hot title of data scientist on preexisting positions to attract talent or created new positions bearing that title. But the surge in the use of the title itself reflects a telling shift in the skills required by employers.

Data Science Skills Trends
The report showed that the skills required in this profession are computer-related. The top five skills listed for data scientists were data analysis, data mining, machine learning and knowledge of the programming languages R and Python.

Data Science Education Trends and Statistics
The most common doctoral degree held by data scientists - 70% of whom hold masters or doctoral degrees - isn’t computer science but physics. One reason may be that people physicists use computer programs that are similar to those used by data scientists, making the skills transferable from one field to the other. Doctorates in physics use Python and “R,”. Moreover, many physicists work with large data sets, such all particles in the universe. The high level of education associated with data science speaks to what companies describe as a scarcity of talent and helps explain why entry-level jobs in the field can pay around $200,000. All told, in 2012, the most recent year for which the federal government publishes such statistics, roughly 2,500 doctoral degrees awarded were in statistics, biostatistics, particle physics and computer science - fields from which data scientists are typically recruited, according to the National Science Foundation.

Data Science Country Trends
While more than half of data scientists reside in the U.S., Israel has the highest number of data scientists per capita. After the U.S., the U.K., and India have the highest numbers. These results are limited by LinkedIn’s penetration outside the U.S.

Data Science employers / company trends and statistics
Among companies that employ data scientists, Microsoft has the most, the report found. But Microsoft also has the highest attrition rate for data scientists. Google doesn’t seem to use the title very frequently compared to other companies in RJMetrics study.While tech companies like Apple Inc, Facebook Inc., International Business Machines Inc, LinkedIn and Twitter Inc. employ the most in-house data scientists, companies like General Electric Co.and GlaxoSmithKline PLC also hire large numbers of data scientists, the report found. 

Data Science Trends Study Caveats

  • RJ Metrics limited its survey to the LinkedIn membership, which does not represent the entire job market. 
  • The fact that not all companies use the same job titles is another limiting factor. 
  • LinkedIn doesn’t have the same degree of market penetration internationally that it has in the U.S., so the international data should be treated with some skepticism. For the U.S., though, LinkedIn is a helpful barometer.


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