Top Data Science
Careers: 2021 List

Data science is a vital field in today’s landscape. Various industries make important decisions based on data analysis. You might be surprised to discover how many different careers are available in this field. We’ve compiled a list of the best data science careers of 2021.

In this list, you will find 10 of the highest-paying data science careers. We’ve also included information on specific job requirements, average annual salaries, and potential job growth. Read below to discover your next great tech job.

Why Pursue a Data Science Career?

You should pursue a data science career because data science is in demand and pays high salaries. It combines essential techniques that businesses and organizations use to make decisions. There is demand for data scientists in tons of industries, both within and outside of tech.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), data scientists and mathematical occupations are some of the fastest-growing jobs in the US. The BLS reports that between 2019 and 2029, these jobs are projected to grow by as much as 31 percent. Moreover, as of 2020, BLS reports that the median salary for data science careers is $98,230.

One of the driving forces of the popularity of data science is big data. Organizations and businesses make use of large chunks of data to get better insights and find patterns. This makes it easier for data analysts to understand the preferences of the target market.

Other sectors do not necessarily use big data for business purposes. The government makes use of big data to support decision-making in transportation, education, and other sectors. Statisticians can achieve better results using data science techniques and automation. If you like working with numbers, data science is a great choice.

What Industries Are Hiring Data Science Professionals?

According to the BLS, the industry with the highest number of employed data science professionals is computer systems design. Data science is heavily associated with computer science and information technology.

Other data science professionals work in the management and consulting fields. Data science plays a significant role in business decision-making, especially in line with finance. Providing professional services such as a consult needs data to ensure the quality of the professional advice.

Highest-Paying Data Science Careers at a Glance

Find out some of the highest-paying data science careers, minimum education requirement, projected job growth, and median salary in the table below. Job outlook statistics refer to the growth of job opportunities between 2019 and 2029. All numbers below are sourced from the BLS and PayScale.

Job Title Min. Education Job Outlook Median Pay
Marketing Manager Bachelor’s Degree 6% $141,490
Computer and Information Research Scientist Master’s Degree 15% $126,830
Data Architect Bachelor’s Degree 31%* $121,210
Machine Learning Engineer Master’s Degree 31%* $112,917
Actuary Bachelor’s Degree 18% $111,030
Database Administrator Bachelor’s Degree 10% $98,860
Data Scientist Bachelor’s Degree 31%* $96,609
Statistician Master’s Degree 33% $93,920
Management Analyst Bachelor’s Degree 11% $87,660
Financial Analyst Bachelor’s Degree 5% $83,660

*Job outlook has been sourced from BLS information on data scientists and mathematical science occupations.

The Best Data Science Careers in 2021

The Best Data Science Careers in 2021

To set your expectations, it is better to know what each career requires and what your responsibilities will be. This section expands the previous table to give you an idea of what each career offers and demands.

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers are in charge of creating content that captures the attention of a target consumer. This work is heavy in data science, specifically data analysis, as it tries to make sense of consumer engagement statistics. For every campaign, you are expected to provide analysis and reports to present to your client.

A job as a marketing manager is a creative data science career. To qualify, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree to ensure that you learned mathematics and statistics. You need to make use of data science techniques to find the right pricing for a product and other related quantitative needs.

Marketing Manager Responsibilities

  • Creates a content and marketing plan for a specific product or service campaign
  • Conducts market research studies to understand the wants and needs of a particular target audience
  • Finds and develops the right pricing strategies based on market data
  • Meets with clients to present data findings and marketing plans

Computer and Information Research Scientist

Computer and information research scientists mainly deal with developing new and existing technology to solve industry problems. Technologies are innovated to improve the processes in business, science, and medicine. Data scientists can go into this field as it deals with a lot of data, especially in quantitative research.

With a promising job outlook projection of 15 percent, this career is propelled by more businesses needing data mining services. The minimum education requirement is a master’s degree. Computer research scientists turn ideas into tangible and useful technology.

Computer and Research Scientist Responsibilities

  • Explores and resolves computing problems and issues
  • Conducts and designs systems with the help of data science and machine learning
  • Develops computing languages to improve computer systems
  • Works on research and presents papers

Data Architect

A data architect is responsible for maintaining and safekeeping data in a relational database. One of the requirements of this role is to know how to code with SQL because it is the programming language commonly used in database management. Your primary role is to make sure that data is accurate and accessible to its intended users.

More and more organizations require a data architect who can demonstrate high proficiency in programming languages and has strong analytical skills. It falls under the umbrella of data science jobs that have a 31 percent growth rate.

Data Architect Responsibilities

  • Codes in SQL to maintain and regulate databases
  • Ensures that databases are accessible to the intended users
  • Maintains the accuracy and security of data
  • Develops data models and presents them through data visualization techniques

Machine Learning Engineer

Machine learning engineers develop software using artificial intelligence (AI) to process data better. One of the main goals of this job is to utilize statistics to resolve dataset problems. By enhancing the capabilities of AI, the accuracy of the prediction will improve.

Under the same category as data architects, there is a projected growth of 31 percent for this career. Typically, a machine learning engineer needs to have a master’s degree. The projects are advanced and require deeper knowledge of data analytics and computing.

Machine Learning Engineer Responsibilities

  • Creates programs that automate data processing
  • Improves predictive capabilities of programs for better data analysis
  • Utilizes knowledge in mathematics and statistics to better plan programs
  • Converts data science findings into useful machine learning tools


Actuaries usually work in the insurance sector. Mathematics and statistics are combined with financial theory to come up with solutions to minimize the potential cost of risk. This is a job that uses data science to make sure that businesses could stay afloat in the face of a future event that could impact the business negatively.

The projected growth for actuaries between 2019 and 2029 is 18 percent, according to the BLS. Companies are highly concerned with risk management, so they need skilled actuaries. To succeed in this career, you need to equip yourself with essential data science skills to better prepare the company for the future.

Actuary Responsibilities

  • Analyzes statistical data and other relevant information
  • Predicts and estimates the potential impact of a future event on the business
  • Creates and presents data using data visualization tools
  • Designs policies and strategies based on data findings and results

Database Administrator

A database administrator is responsible for managing data using different software and ensuring that they are available to authorized users. You are likely to handle various types of data, but the most common would be financial information. Your goal is to make sure that this data is organized and secured to prevent unwanted breaches.

There is a projected growth of 10 percent for a database administrator career as more sectors rely on data for decision-making. Companies need a reliable database administrator to protect and manage data and the associated programs.

Database Administrator Responsibilities

  • Organizes and secures data and databases
  • Creates backups and strategies to prevent data loss
  • Tests and fine-tunes databases to ensure that they are working properly
  • Provides solutions for data-related issues

Data Scientist

A data scientist is the primary career path to consider when you delve into data science. With all the technical skills in data management that you mastered, you are expected to efficiently extract insights from various types of data. Your goal is to properly and accurately interpret data with the available techniques and tools that you have.

With the increased interest in big data, the projected job growth for data scientists is 31 percent, according to the BLS. You can be a data scientist in different sectors, and each of them might demand specific skills. In general, your priority is to make sure to yield the best results out of the available data to provide accurate advice and prediction.

Data Scientist Responsibilities

  • Communicates insights based on data findings and results
  • Provides and influences organizational decisions backed by data
  • Combines data analytics, statistics, and computer science to provide solutions
  • Extracts and sifts through data to ensure quality


Statisticians make use of data to create models using different tools and computational techniques. This career is solution-oriented, and one of its main goals is to be involved in solving problems using data. Statisticians look for patterns and relationships among numbers.

The current projected growth for this career is 33 percent, according to the BLS. Businesses make more use of strong statistical analysis to make more informed decisions for future strategies.

Statistician Responsibilities

  • Finds the right data for a specific research or analysis project
  • Applies statistical and mathematical theories to evaluate and interpret data findings
  • Makes informed suggestions backed up by data for business decisions
  • Interprets data results and presents them to all kinds of data users

Management Analyst

A management analyst is the main person to turn to for organizational decisions. A management analyst with a data science background is effective for this role if an organization demands data-driven results and findings.

The projected growth of a management analyst career is currently at 11 percent. Businesses look to management analysts to help augment the cost of operations while maintaining competitiveness. Some of the industries with a high demand for management analysts are healthcare and information technology consulting.

Management Analyst Responsibilities

  • Gathers data and information to come up with a solution for a problem or objective
  • Acts as the primary business intelligence that creates strategies
  • Recommends new processes to improve operations
  • Communicates with other managers to align strategies from different sectors

Financial Analyst

A financial analyst works with financial data and information to oversee the efficiency of operations through finances. Data analysis plays a big role in this career as it is about strategizing the best way to handle money and allocate profits. You are also expected to dabble in stocks and bonds, which are all financial data to analyze.

This role currently holds a five percent projected growth, according to the BLS. Its growth is dependent on economic needs as a business expands to venture into new things. As a financial analyst, you are not only following the movement of data but also the related news and qualitative information that cause these changes.

Financial Analyst Responsibilities

  • Handles investment portfolio analysis and recommendations
  • Studies current and historical financial data to make reliable predictions
  • Follows economic and business trends
  • Suggests financial strategies based on data findings and results
What Role Does Location Play in Data Science Salaries?

What Role Does Location Play in Data Science Salaries?

Your data science salary can vary based on your location, which means location plays an important role. According to the BLS, data science salaries in California are the highest of anywhere in the country, with an average annual pay of $129,060.

The other high-paying states of data science salaries are New York, Washington, Illinois, and New Jersey. Of these, California, New York, and Washington are identified as the states with high employment rates of data scientist occupations. A high concentration of talents in a single state leads to higher salaries.

Common Entry-Level Jobs in Data Science

The previous careers discussed are mostly for experienced professionals in the data science field. Their salaries are understandably higher as they require more credentials. For recent graduates, below are some of the entry-level jobs that you might be interested in pursuing.

Job Title Min. Education Entry-Level Pay
Associate Data Scientist Bachelor’s Degree $78,469
Entry-Level Statistician Bachelor’s Degree $66,403
Entry-Level Actuary Bachelor’s Degree $62,407
Entry-Level Database Administrator Bachelor’s Degree $56,022
Entry-Level Financial Analyst Bachelor’s Degree $55,933

What Education Is Required for a Career in Data Science?

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for a career in data science. Data science is a discipline that combines statistics, mathematics, and data analytics to come up with strong findings based on data. Some jobs might even require a master’s degree as the minimum.

Can I Study Data Science Online?

Yes, data science can be studied online. There are many schools that have shifted to remote learning or have always offered online classes. There are data science bootcamps as well if you want to expand your knowledge and skills. Bootcamp programs and courses are readily available online for your convenience.

Common Personality Traits in Data Science Professionals

Data science professionals are detail-oriented and pay close attention to patterns and relationships in data. You’ll need to be proactive, especially when providing strategic solutions for businesses and organizations. Great patience is also of importance because you will be dealing with a lot of data that might get repetitive over time.

Is a Data Science Job Good for Me?

Yes, a data science job is good for you if you enjoy working with numbers. The field of data science is vast and useful in a lot of industries. While data scientist is a career path to pursue, there are many other related jobs on the market. These options may not be directly related to data science, but they include data science skills.

Working with data and information is the common day-to-day experience of a data science professional. If you can see yourself working with numbers and large datasets, then data science might be your dream job.

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