Glassdoor is a leading website featuring content about job salaries, the professional environment and company culture. According to their website, they house over 8 million company reviews from employees around the world. By aggregating data from workers in these professions, Glassdoor creates an annual list of best jobs in the United States based upon “number of job openings, salary and career opportunities rating.” In 2016, data scientist topped that list.
What Do Data Scientists Do?
According to IBM, a data scientist is the natural evolution of the business- or data analyst role, but “What sets the data scientist apart is strong business acumen, coupled with the ability to communicate findings to both business and IT leaders in a way that can influence how an organization approaches a business challenge.” Data scientists also work with big data, although not exclusively.
Big data, as defined by Gartner Research, is “high-volume, high-velocity and/or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation.” So, data scientists often work with multiple streams of data, each comprised of very large sets. As such, data scientists often receive training similar to business analysts. Gartner also contends that data analytics are one of the primary challenges facing big data in the years to come, necessitating the work of data scientists everywhere.
Data scientists receive training similar to business analysts. Many have backgrounds in “computer science and applications, modeling, statistics, analytics and math” (IBM). However, many data scientists take the extra step of acquiring a business analytics MBA. Often, those with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) backgrounds lack the business acumen to move into a data scientist role. A business analyst MBA bridges that gap, applying the core concepts from STEM fields in the service of business interests. The entry level for this position, as reported by the BLS in 2014, is a doctoral or professional degree, which is why many are turning to online MBA programs to earn the requisite degrees. These graduate programs offer working professionals the flexibility to advance their careers with additional education while still gaining on-the-job experience.
Number One for a Reason
Data scientists’ ranking as the best job in the U.S. is a result of job outlook, salaries and opportunities for career advancement. According to Glassdoor’s study, data scientists make an average of $116,840 per year. With over 1,700 positions available on Glassdoor (as of February 2016) at companies such as Facebook, Google and even Glassdoor itself, data scientists’ prospects are looking strong. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that data scientist positions will grow at a rate of around 11 percent over the next 10 years, well above the national average.
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