In 2012, Harvard Business Review predicted ‘Data Science‘ would be the most promising career of the 21st century. Many, taking a cue, started upskilling themselves and successfully transitioned into a data scientist or a data science analyst role in some of the most prestigious global organizations. Beginning 2016, ‘Data Scientist’ consistently ranked number one on the US job market until it recently lost its sheen in 2020. But even today, it is ranked third on the list of the most coveted jobs in the US. It shows how despite the Covid-19 slowdown, the demand for data scientists is still pretty high.
But many would argue that losing the top position to front-end engineers and Java developers reflects that data science is no longer the career it once was. It is exactly what we would explore through this post; is data science still a good career choice in 2022 and beyond?
What is Data Science?
In simple words, data science involves studying and using data to make informed business decisions and create new products and services. And the people responsible for executing the process are data scientists and data science analysts.
What Do Data Scientists and Data Science Analysts Do?
Data Scientists and Data Science Analysts are responsible for analyzing past user data, predicting future user behavior, and then presenting these insights to the management to help them make informed business decisions. The job typically involves creating statistical and economic models and working with advanced machine learning tools to summarize and visualize data.
Data Scientist vs. Data Science Analyst
So what makes a data scientist different from a data science analyst?
A data scientist does all that a data science analyst can do, plus much more. Data scientists have more experience working in the data science field for diverse domains, regardless of whether they have data science degrees. They can use their expertise to identify issues and formulate end-to-end solutions. Not only are they experts at empirical and computational skills, but they also possess the insight necessary to identify problems that require the application of data science to make informed business decisions.
But despite the difference, both a data scientist and a data science analyst play a significant role in modern-day organizations. The following section will discuss factors indicating why data science professionals will not be going out of work soon and why data science is still a good career choice in 2022 and beyond.
Why is Data Science Still a Good Career Choice in 2022 and beyond?
Let’s explore some factors indicating why data science is still a good career choice in 2022 and beyond.
1. High Demand
Today, data is, undoubtedly, the most valuable of all commodities, perishable or non-perishable. Be it Google, Amazon, Facebook (now Meta), all leading organizations use data to enhance customer experience, maximize profits, and achieve strategic goals. The problem is, data exists in various formats and structured or unstructured forms across multiple locations. As such, companies have and will always need data science professionals who can extract data, structure and analyze it, draw meaningful insights, and present it for informed business decision-making.
Data science jobs have grown by a phenomenal 650% since 2012. Glassdoor reported 1,700 jobs in 2016 were posted with data science as the primary role. The same stood at 4,500 in 2018 and 6,500 in 2020. In 2019, data science was ranked by LinkedIn as the most promising job, with an approximately 60% rise in job openings across the US alone. Even the Covid-19 crisis could not slow down the demand for data science professionals, with 42% of data science organizations suffering no impact and approximately 8% growing in size.
2. Short Supply
When people started upskilling themselves for data science jobs from 2012 onwards, it was mainly through books as not much information was available on the internet, and advanced programming languages did not exist. Neither did the traditional educational system offer specialized courses or data science degrees to equip those who wanted to make a career in data science. Till today, the data science field remains relatively new and unexplored. According to some estimates, there is currently a shortage of 1,50,000 – 2,00,000 hardcore data science professionals worldwide. So, if ever there was a right time to take up data science as a career, it is now.
3. Future Growth Potential
The data science field is flush with opportunities, with the demand consistently topping the supply. According to a report published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in the data science field will grow by approximately 28% by 2026, translating into nearly 11.5 million new data science jobs. Even the Future of Work Report 2020, prepared by The World Economic Forum, has predicted that the job with the highest growth and demand by 2025 would be that of a data scientist.
4. Fat Pay Packages
Growth potential and opportunities aside, the amount of money a career choice translates into forms an important consideration for pursuing it. And data science jobs do translate into thriving pay packages. According to Glassdoor, the median salary for the US workforce stands at $49,800, while the median salary for data science professionals is $1,08,000, more than double the national average. According to the 2021 India Talent Trends report submitted by recruitment firm Michael Page, data science professionals with experience ranging between 3-10 years stand to earn anything between 25-65 lakhs per annum. Those who carry more experience command more than a crore.
5. Availability of Exclusive Courses and Data Science Degrees
The role of data science professionals is evolving every day and requires expert domain knowledge. Many professional associations acknowledge this and want to introduce certification and licensure requirements for data science professionals. Fortunately, unlike a few years ago, several technical institutions have today included data science in their undergraduate curriculum to equip future data science professionals with the requisite knowledge, skills, and universally-recognized data science degrees.
Emerging technologies like Quantum and Cloud computing, Blockchain, AI, and Machine Learning have changed the dynamics of the global workforce, including data science professionals. However, the exponential growth in demand, future potential in the data science field, and the surge in the number of institutions offering specialized data science degrees are reasons enough to suggest data science professionals are not going anywhere for a long time. So, if you are still wondering if data science is a good career choice in 2022 and beyond, the answer is a resounding YES.