Without data, humans make decisions based on intuition. However, we don’t make very good decisions with our gut. That’s because as humans we have our emotions, unconscious biases, and gaps in information to contend with.
Everyone makes better decisions with data. For a business, poor leadership decisions can be incredibly costly. But companies don’t just need to collect data—they need professionals who can analyze and interpret it. That’s where data analysts and data scientists come in.
Glassdoor and U.S. News & World Report have both named data scientist among their best jobs based on salary, job satisfaction, and career opportunities. Data analysts earn a median base salary of $66,370 in the U.S., while data scientists earn $103,525 on average. If you’re ready to jump into your first data analyst entry-level job, read on for how to break in and the top industries hiring data analysts and data scientists.
Is There a High Demand for Data Scientists and Analysts?
As a relatively new profession, there aren’t enough skilled professionals to fill the data-related jobs posted by companies. According to Glassdoor, there are more than 16,000 job openings for data analysts and more than 6,000 openings for data scientists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects data science future growth of 36% more jobs by 2031.
The high demand for data analysts and data scientists reflects in its competitive salaries—take a look at what you can earn.
Data Analyst and Data Scientist Salaries Around the World
|Data analyst median salary
|Data scientist median salary
Which Industries Are Hiring Data Analysts and Data Scientists?
Companies, from startups to Fortune 500 giants, have a need for data professionals. Today, we’re examining the five top industries hiring data scientists and analysts: healthcare, financial services, retail, government, and higher education. Plus, we’ve rounded up the top companies hiring data scientists and analysts in 2023.
According to HIMSS, healthcare CIOs named data science and analytics a top priority—but finding qualified candidates is a challenge. A whopping 44% of hospitals report they have had to scale back or put on hold an IT project due to workforce challenges.
The healthcare industry has been slow to turn to big data thanks to its legacy systems and strict privacy regulations. However, the doors are opening up as hospital systems, medical research centers, and insurance companies build data management divisions. Healthcare data analysts manage both business intelligence for better profitability and analyze clinical research for better patient outcomes.
Healthcare data analysts earn an average of $58,463 in the U.S. while data scientists command $102,019. Companies hiring data scientists include Change Healthcare, a healthcare tech company that needs data professionals to analyze their claims operations. Many clinical research jobs are hosted at flagship research universities, so make sure to check out some of the top education employers below.
Top Healthcare Companies Hiring Data Scientists and Data Analysts
- Change Healthcare
- Centene Corporation
- National Health Service (NHS)
- Cardinal Health
- UnitedHealth Group
- CVS Health
- Kaiser Permanente
- Mount Sinai Health System
- NYU Langone Health
According to Zippia, the financial services industry one of the top employers of data scientists, representing 9% of jobs. Financial services companies like banks, insurance companies, and investment companies use data analysis for functions including:
- Financial risk modelling and analytics
- Fraud detection
- Designing and pricing financial products
- Customer analytics
So, what does a data scientist or data analyst do in finance? A data analyst collects, cleans, and analyzes company data and prepares reports or data visualization. Financial analysts earn $69,456 on average in the U.S., higher than other industries.
Data scientists perform more complex functions like risk analysis and trend forecasting. They may also use natural language processing to analyze unstructured data or train machine learning models with existing data. Data scientists in financial services earn a median salary of $97,228 in the U.S.
Top Financial Services Employers Hiring Data Analysts and Data Scientists
- Bloomberg L.P.
- Capital One
- Wells Fargo
- Circle Internet Financial
- BNY Mellon
- Fidelity Investments
- BDO USA
- Advisor Group
Have you noticed consumer brands vying for your information? Sign up for our loyalty program… please. One big reason brands are desperate for customers’ information is because of the data they gain. Look at a company like Walmart, which claims to have the “world’s largest private database”.
The retail industry uses data analysis to better understand consumer behavior and improve its marketing and sales strategies. If you have a big data set like a customer’s entire purchasing history, data analysts can extract key insights to push revenue higher as companies adjust to what’s selling.
Data analyst and data scientist positions in retail touch areas from merchandising to market research to supply chain logistics. Data analysts in retail earn $66,370 on average in the U.S. Data scientists earn more, averaging $103,525 in retail and wholesale.
Let’s look at a few trends influencing the need for data professionals in retail:
Online sales grew by a whopping 9.7% in 2021 thanks to pandemic-related shifts in buying behavior. While that growth has stabilized, online sales are projected to keep growing. Areas like online groceries saw some of the biggest shifts, and data analysis can help retailers make smarter decisions about marketing and pricing.
Data-driven Pricing Strategies
Many companies already leverage data in merchandising decisions such as setting prices. However, this is evolving from making decisions based on historical data to making immediate price changes based on real-time data. Think of surge pricing used by companies like Uber and how they create those models.
Top Retail Companies Hiring Data Analysts and Data Scientists
- The Home Depot
Government, Aerospace, and Defense
When you think about data in government, the first thing that may come to mind is census data. Every 10 years or so, governments collect and analyze a huge goldmine of data about their citizens.
The truth is that there are many ways governments are using data analysis today. Government bodies conduct research and publish data sets related to agriculture, climate change, labor, and commerce. Traditional government agencies, like the IRS or HM Revenue and Customs in the U.K., need data analysts to run business intelligence insights and analyze economic and demographic data sets for policy-setting.
In addition to traditional government agencies, defense contractors are a great place to look for data jobs. Aerospace and defense companies hire analysts to monitor defense systems, analyze intelligence, and support cutting-edge research and development. Data scientists in government, aerospace, and defense earn $103,525 on average in the U.S., while government analysts earn $66,370.
Top Government and Defense Companies Hiring Data Analysts and Data Scientists
- Booz Allen Hamilton
- HM Revenue and Customs
- Lockheed Martin
- Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
- Prescient Edge
- State of Florida
- Texas Health & Human Services Commission
Universities need data analysis to support decision-making in obvious areas like enrollment management. But beyond their core degree programs, large universities host labs, hospitals, and other research centers—all needing data analysis.
For instance, the University of California has more than 1,000 positions open in data analytics and data science that support its health systems and labs. Titles include Data Systems Analyst, Research Data Analyst, and even Atmospheric Data Scientist. The Johns Hopkins University, known for its epidemiology research and government-contracted labs, is hiring for Sr. Research Data Managers and Sr. Business Intelligence Analysts.
Salaries in higher education hover a little lower than other industries, averaging $54,651 for data analysts and $92,469 for data scientists in the U.S. However, the industry’s known for its stability and benefits like waived tuition for continuing education.
Top Education Employers Hiring Data Scientists and Data Analysts
University of California
The Johns Hopkins University
California State University
Washington University in St. Louis
University of Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University
University of Utah
University of Texas
University of Southern California
How to Land a Job in Data at a Top Company
Most large and enterprise companies offer data analyst entry-level jobs. To qualify for an entry-level data analyst job, you either need a bachelor’s degree or a bootcamp or certificate in data analytics. According to Zippia, 18.4% of data analysts don’t have a bachelor’s degree.
What you do need is to demonstrate that you can fill the top data analytics skills: data management, statistics, communication, and visualization, as well as technical skills like Python and PowerBI.
For high school graduates: Good news: more and more companies are considering candidates without college degrees. If that’s you, you still need an immersive reskilling program to teach you the top principles and programs like SQL, Excel, and Tableau. Then, get creative with how you market yourself.
For college graduates: If you have a general degree like Business or Finance, make sure to take some extra courses in statistics or learn some programming languages on the side. Seek out internships or apprenticeships in data analytics, or volunteer your services with a nonprofit.
For career changers: Once you’ve identified an industry that interests you, find out what skill gaps you might need to fill and any reskilling you may need to be competitive. Update your resume and optimize your profiles. Research companies hiring data analysts and network with people at those companies.
How to Become an Entry-Level Data Scientist
Data science industry jobs are more specialized than data analyst jobs and require a higher skill set. Nearly all data scientists hold at least a bachelor’s or advanced degree, so this isn’t a field you can switch into with just a few courses after high school. To land a data scientist job, you either need to start as a data analyst and work your way up or earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related field.
For college graduates: Use your alumni network to connect with people who work in data science or at the companies you’re targeting. If your degree is in a different discipline or if you need to brush up on technical skills, consider an immersive data science bootcamp. Create a strong resume and optimize your LinkedIn profile for your top skills.
For current data analysts: Take the initiative to take on challenging projects in your current job. Show curiosity and ask data scientists you work with lots of questions. Take your Python and applied statistics knowledge to the next level, either through self-study or a course.
For career changers: Make a list of transferrable skills from your previous work and update your resume accordingly. You can take a data science course while you work full-time—and your employer might even pay for it. Read our guide on how to explain your career change during an interview.
Whether you’re switching from another profession or just starting out, a career in data is one of the hottest jobs out there and will allow you to solve big challenges. The more data we generate, the more we need data analysts and scientists to interpret data—and help humans make better decisions.
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