Posted June 12, 2023

Overview of Data Scientist Salary in USA

In the United States, the compensation for data scientists is compelling and reflects the high demand for this skill set in the marketplace. As of 2023, the median total compensation for a data scientist stands around $166,000 per year, with the pay scale ranging widely depending on factors such as geographical location, industry, level of education, and years of experience.

Entry-level data scientists can expect to earn somewhere in the ballpark of $110,000 per year, while seasoned professionals, particularly those with specialized skills or in managerial roles, can command salaries upwards of $200,000 annually.

It's important to note that these figures can be substantially higher in tech-centric cities such as San Francisco and New York, where the demand for data science skills is exceptionally high. Furthermore, in addition to the base salary, many companies offer performance bonuses, equity options, and comprehensive benefits packages, contributing to the overall compensation package.

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Salary Distribution in the United States

The distribution of data scientist salaries in the USA is fairly wide, demonstrating the heterogeneity of the profession. As previously mentioned, entry-level data scientists typically earn around $110,000 annually. However, this swiftly escalates with experience, advanced degrees, and specialized skills. Mid-career data scientists often find their compensation range between $150,000 and $180,000. At the higher end of the spectrum, senior data scientists and those in leadership roles can earn from $180,000 up to well over $250,000 per year.

It's critical to understand that geography plays a significant role in this distribution. Major tech hubs like San Francisco, New York, and Seattle tend to offer salaries considerably above the national average due to higher cost of living and intense competition for talent.

Conversely, in smaller cities and more rural areas, salaries may be somewhat lower, though often still above the average for all occupations in those regions. The industry also matters; for instance, data scientists in finance and technology sectors frequently receive higher-than-average salaries.

Lastly, the distribution of benefits, bonuses, and equity options can significantly add to the overall compensation and varies greatly from one company to another.

Median Data Scientist Salary by Region

Regional variation significantly influences the median salaries of data scientists across the United States. Here's a brief overview of some key regions:

  1. West Coast (including San Francisco and Seattle): This region, often considered the heart of the tech industry, offers the highest salaries for data scientists. The median compensation in the San Francisco Bay Area is around $200,000, while in Seattle it's about $197,000.
  2. East Coast (including New York and Boston): Similarly to the West Coast, the East Coast hosts several tech and finance hubs. The median salary in New York City stands at about $140,000, while in Boston it's around $135,000.
  3. Southwest and Mountain States (including Austin and Denver): These regions have seen significant growth in their tech industries in recent years. In cities like Austin and Denver, the median salary ranges from $120,000 to $130,000.
  4. Midwest (including Chicago and Minneapolis): The burgeoning tech scenes in cities like Chicago and Minneapolis offer median salaries around $140,000 to $160,000.
  5. South (including Atlanta and Raleigh): In these growing tech hubs, the median salaries for data scientists are approximately $120,000 to $130,000.
  6. Other Regions: In smaller cities and more rural areas, median salaries typically fall in the range of $70,000 to $110,000.

Check out the chart above to view potential bonuses, equity. These figures do not reflect benefits, which can substantially augment a data scientist's total compensation. Furthermore, it's essential to factor in the cost of living, which varies greatly across these regions. For example, while salaries are higher in places like San Francisco and New York, these cities also have some of the highest living costs in the country.

Median Salary, Adjusted by Cost of Living

The median salaries for data scientists, when adjusted for the cost of living, present a slightly different picture than unadjusted figures. The cost of living can substantially affect the real value of salaries, as a higher salary in an expensive city may not go as far as a lower salary in a more affordable region.

San Francisco, despite having high nominal salaries, often see some decrease in real terms due to their high cost of living. When adjusting for the cost of living, the effective median salary in these cities is closer to $140,000.

New York has one of the highest costs of living in the country. Adjusting for housing and other expenses, the effective median salary in these cities is closer to $70,000!

In Seattle, with a somewhat lower cost of living than San Francisco and New York, the adjusted median salary is approximately $155,000.

In Austin and Denver, where the cost of living is lower than in coastal tech hubs, the adjusted median salary comes around $85,000.

Midwestern cities like Chicago and Minneapolis show better value when adjusting for cost of living, with median salaries effectively around $115,000.

Finally, in Southern cities like Atlanta and Raleigh, lower costs of living boost the real value of their median salaries, bringing them effectively to the range of $83,000.

This analysis illustrates that while the unadjusted median salary is certainly important, it doesn't provide the full picture. Considering cost of living in conjunction with salary figures can give a more accurate representation of the economic reality facing data scientists in different regions of the United States.

Top Paying Companies in USA

RankCompanyLocationHigh Percentile
#1Hudson River TradingNew York$700K
#2NetflixSan Francisco, Los Angeles, Los Gatos$550K
#3RobloxSan Francisco, San Mateo$450K
#4AirbnbSan Francisco$400K
#5BrexSan Francisco, New York$375K
#6LyftSan Francisco, New York, Washington DC$375K

The compensation for data science roles varies significantly between companies, particularly when you look at top-tier tech companies and trading firms. Here are some of the top-paying companies for data scientists in the USA:

  1. Hudson River Trading: This New York-based trading firm is currently at the forefront when it comes to data scientist salaries. Data scientists at Hudson River Trading can expect to earn a whopping $700,000 annually.
  2. Netflix: With offices in Los Angeles, Los Gatos, and San Francisco, Netflix has become a lucrative place for data scientists. The company's data scientist salaries average around $550,000 per year.
  3. Roblox: The San Francisco-based gaming company, Roblox, is known for its competitive pay, with data scientist salaries averaging $450,000 annually.
  4. Airbnb: This home-sharing platform, headquartered in San Francisco, offers an average salary of $400,000 for its data scientists.
  5. Brex: Brex, a fintech company with offices in San Francisco and New York City, offers an average data scientist salary of $375,000.
  6. Lyft: Known for its competitive pay across tech roles, Lyft, which has offices in San Francisco, New York City, and Washington DC, also offers data scientists an average salary of $375,000.

These figures show the potential of data science roles, especially when working for some of the top-paying companies in the industry. It's worth noting that these figures usually encompass total compensation, including base salary, bonus, and equity components.

While these impressive salary figures certainly grab attention, they come with significant expectations and challenges. Typically, such top-tier salaries are offered for senior roles that demand extensive experience and a proven track record. Additionally, niche expertise relevant to a company's specific business or technology is often a key determinant of higher salaries. Finally, aspirants should be prepared for rigorous and lengthy interview processes involving multiple rounds and diverse assessments, reflecting the company's commitment to hiring the best talent.

This comprehensive evaluation of knowledge, skills, and potential contribution to the company's mission underscores the merit behind these substantial salaries.

Distribution of Data Scientist Jobs Across the US

Map of Data Science Jobs across the United States

The demand for data scientists isn't uniform across the United States, with specific regions, often dubbed 'tech hubs', housing a greater concentration of opportunities. Among these, the San Francisco Bay Area in California is perhaps the most well-known, hosting a plethora of tech companies ranging from established giants like Google and Facebook to a vibrant startup scene.

However, Silicon Valley doesn't have a monopoly on data science jobs. The East Coast, particularly around Boston, Massachusetts and New York City, also has a significant share of job openings. Boston's concentration of prestigious universities and colleges, alongside its robust biotech industry, create a healthy demand for data scientists. In New York, the burgeoning tech scene, combined with the city's traditional strength in finance, marketing, and media industries, has also seen a growing need for data science professionals.

Outside of these traditional tech strongholds, data science jobs are becoming more geographically distributed. Areas like Seattle, Austin, Chicago, and Washington D.C. are witnessing substantial growth in their tech industries, leading to an increase in the demand for data scientists.

Furthermore, the adoption of remote work, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has dramatically increased the geographical distribution of data science jobs. Companies are now more open than ever to hiring remote data scientists, breaking the shackles of geographical boundaries, and allowing for opportunities nationwide.

Therefore, while certain areas may have a higher concentration of jobs, there are plenty of opportunities for data scientists across the entire United States. And with the increase in remote work, the physical location of an employer is becoming less of a limitation for job seekers in this field.

How to Research Salary: Insights from Gene F. and Caroline T.

Effective salary research is an essential part of your career strategy. We've consulted two experienced professionals in the data science field, Gene F. and Caroline T., to provide some insider tips.

Portrait of Gene F, data scientist

Gene F. is a senior data scientist with over a decade of experience. He believes that an individual's salary research process should be iterative, starting even before the first job application and continuing throughout one's career. He suggests leveraging online resources like Glassdoor, PayScale, and to get a broad understanding of the current market rates for various roles and levels of experience.

However, Gene cautions that while these sources can provide helpful benchmarks, they should be used as a starting point and not as the definitive guide.

Portrait of Caroline T, data scientist

On the other hand, Caroline T., who has transitioned from academia to a data scientist role in a leading tech company, emphasizes the importance of networking. She recommends speaking to peers, mentors, and colleagues in the industry to understand not only the numbers but also the context behind them.

Furthermore, Caroline suggests joining professional associations and attending industry conferences to gain further insights. She also advises individuals to be aware of the different components of compensation packages, as they can greatly impact the overall compensation.

Both Gene and Caroline agree that having a holistic understanding of the salary landscape can lead to more effective negotiation and decision-making processes. Remember, this is not a one-and-done process. Consistently updating your knowledge as your career progresses and the market evolves will allow you to advocate for fair compensation effectively.

What Goes Into Compensation?

The compensation package for a data scientist or any tech employee typically comprises several distinct components, each playing a vital role:

  1. Base Salary: This is the fixed amount of money that an employee earns annually. It's the most concrete part of the compensation and serves as the cornerstone of any job offer. The base salary varies greatly depending on factors such as the compan's size and reputation, the industry, location, and the employee's role, experience, and education.
  2. Equity or Stock Options: This is a form of compensation that offers employees ownership interest in the company. For tech employees, especially in startups, this can be a significant part of the compensation package. Equity compensation is a powerful tool for companies to align their employees' interests with the company's long-term success. However, the value of equity can be highly variable and depends on the company's performance.
  3. Yearly Bonus: This is a form of performance-based pay that's given to employees on top of their base salary. Yearly bonuses are typically tied to individual performance and the company's performance. They are not guaranteed and can fluctuate year by year.
  4. Benefits: These include various forms of non-salary compensation, such as health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, tuition reimbursement, and more. While these might not directly increase your paycheck, they add substantial value to the overall compensation package and can significantly impact an employee's quality of life.
  5. Signing Bonus: This is a one-time payment given when an employee accepts a new job offer. While not as common as the other components, signing bonuses are sometimes offered as a means to make a job offer more attractive, especially in highly competitive roles or when trying to lure a candidate away from their current position.

Each of these components should be carefully considered when evaluating a job offer. While the base salary is undoubtedly important, the other components can significantly augment the total compensation and may be just as, if not more, important for some individuals.

Navigating Salary Negotiation and Career Progression: An Interview with Michael P.

Portrait of Michael P., data scientist

Salary negotiation is an art, and it's one that becomes especially critical in a competitive and evolving field like data science. Understanding salary expectations and how your compensation might change over the course of your career is paramount. To gain some insight into this topic, we've spoken with experienced U.S.-based data scientist, Michael P.

Interviewer: Michael, let's start with negotiation. Do you have any advice for data scientists entering salary negotiations?

Michael P.: Absolutely. First, do your homework. Understand the industry standard for your role and experience level. Tools like and PayScale can provide useful benchmarks. But also, don't be afraid to ask for more. Most companies expect some negotiation, and as long as you're reasonable and can justify your ask, they won't rescind the offer.

Interviewer: What about salary expectations? What should a new data scientist expect?

Michael P.: Entry-level data scientists can expect a competitive salary due to high demand for this role. However, salaries vary based on location, industry, and company size. On average, an entry-level data scientist might see a salary in the range of $85,000 to $105,000. But it's important to consider the whole package - equity, bonuses, and benefits can significantly boost your total compensation.

Interviewer: How does the salary change as one gains experience in data science?

Michael P.: As with any career, more experience generally leads to higher pay. A mid-level data scientist can expect a salary in the range of $110,000 to $130,000. Senior data scientists and managers can command salaries upwards of $150,000 or even higher. And again, this doesn't include bonuses and equity, which can be substantial, particularly at tech companies.

Interviewer: Any final thoughts or advice?

Michael P.: Remember that salary is just one piece of the puzzle. Consider the role, the team, and the company culture too. A slightly lower salary might be worth it for a role that offers great growth potential, or for a company that supports your learning and development. Balance is key.

This conversation emphasizes the need for research and negotiation in setting salary expectations. As your career progresses, so too will your salary. Consider not just the financial aspects, but also the non-monetary components of your role and how they contribute to your overall satisfaction and growth in your data science career.

Conclusion and Next Steps

As we've seen throughout this comprehensive guide, the salary landscape for data scientists in the United States is a complex interplay of various factors, including job title, experience, geographic location, industry, and specific company practices. It's our hope that this guide will serve as a helpful tool for you as you navigate your data science career.

Remember, while salary is an important consideration, it should not be the only one. Consider the complete package that a job offers, including non-monetary benefits like work-life balance, company culture, opportunities for advancement, and potential for learning and growth.

As the field of data science continues to evolve and grow, it's important to stay informed about the latest trends and insights. One great way to do this is by joining our mailing list. By signing up, you'll receive updates and articles like this one straight to your inbox, keeping you in the loop on the rapidly changing landscape of data science.

Finally, if you have any further inquiries or need personalized advice, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're here to help guide you on your data science journey. Remember, every question is a step forward, so don't be shy about asking!

Let's continue this journey together. Stay curious, stay informed, and keep pushing the boundaries of what's possible with data! 📈

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