Is Data Science Dying?

data science Jun 15, 2023

In 2012, Harvard Business Review called data science “the sexiest job of the century.” Now, in 2023, many are wondering if that is still true. Is data science still a hot career or should you get out while you can?

To answer this question, we are going to examine three different topics in this post:

  • The current data science job market
  • Data scientists vs. other tech professionals
  • My personal observations from working with over 100 data scientists

By looking at data science through these three angles, this post will reveal whether data science is a dying career field.

You can also watch the video version of this post on my YouTube channel.

Let’s dive in!

Differing Perspectives

If you simply look online, you will find both negative and positive opinions on the field of data science.

Some feel that data science is quickly becoming irrelevant and a waste of money. They predict that as companies seek to cut costs, data scientists will no longer be valued.

Others argue that the data science industry is thriving and growing. They believe that many companies have not yet figured out how to use data effectively, but as they do, the demand for data science will stay strong and even grow.

Which perspective is correct?

The Numbers

When faced with such contradictory opinions, I believe the best thing we can do is look at the data. So, what do the numbers say about the current data science job market?

Current Demand for Data Scientists

The numbers on the current data science job market are quite revealing.

Taylor, P. (2022, September 8). Total Data Volume Worldwide 2010-2025. Statista.

According to a study on, the amount of data in the world is expected to reach a mind-blowing 181 zettabytes by 2025. If you want to know exactly how much a zettabyte is, here’s a handy chart.


That’s an enormous amount of data, and it’s a large part of why the past decade has seen such a high demand for data scientists.

So, if we are just looking at how much data there is in the world, there seems to be no indication of things slowing down for data scientists. In fact, the volume of data worldwide is only projected to increase which means that demand for data scientists should do the same.

Of course, just looking at the volume of data is not enough. What about job prospects specifically?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for data scientists is projected to increase by 36% from 2021 to 2031. An additional 40,500 roles will be created over the next decade, making data scientist one of the fastest-growing occupations in the U.S.

Looking at the number of job opportunities for data scientists, the news is also good. Since 2016, there has been a staggering 480% growth in job openings for data scientists. In addition…

  • Data scientist job postings on Indeed have seen a 256% rise
  • An average of 13,500 job openings for data scientists will be available each year over the next decade as the current workforce retires and needs to be replaced
  • On Glassdoor, data scientist is ranked as the third best occupation in the U.S.

All of those numbers suggest that data science is doing anything but dying. There is plenty of demand and job opportunities, and the data predicts that those numbers are only going to increase.

Average Compensation for Data Scientists

Job opportunity doesn’t seem to be shrinking, but what about salary? The pay is one of the things that makes data scientist positions so attractive. Is there any reason to be concerned about the data science field in that regard?

Based on the data, no.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that on average data scientists earn around $100,000 a year. For those in senior roles, the average compensation jumps to over $150,000.

Data scientist jobs are out there, and they still pay well. That’s certainly good news, but let’s continue to examine the current status of the field by looking at the numbers from another angle: supply.

The Current Supply of Data Scientists

Another aspect to consider when determining the health of a career field is the number of people working to join the field. How many people are training to be data scientists? Is there growing infrastructure to meet and sustain the demands of the field?

According to Fortune, enrollment in online master’s programs in data science saw a 20% increase in enrollment from the 2020-2021 to the 2021-2022 school year. That increase clearly shows that interest in the field is growing. Many people are eager to become data scientists.

Another sign of the health of the field is the recent announcement from the University of California at Berkeley, which is one of the top universities offering data science programs.

For the first time in over 50 years, Berkeley is creating a new college! The College of Computing, Data Science, and Society will meet the growing demand for training in computing and data science skills.

These examples of investment in data science education show that it continues to be a promising career field.

So, if the demand is high and many people are investing in this growing industry, why are people so worried about data science?

Economic Fears

The numbers seem to show that data science is doing better than ever, so where is all the worry coming from?

Actually, the worry many data scientists are experiencing right now is natural. With frequent news about company layoffs, it’s easy to become concerned.

One common question I get from people struggling with fears about the current economy is whether data scientists are at greater risk of losing their jobs. Are data scientists more likely to get laid off?

Data Scientists vs. Other Roles

The short answer is no. Data scientists are actually at less risk than other tech roles. Let’s look at some data to understand how this could be.

Tech Layoff Tracker and Startup Layoff Lists. (2023, May 11).

Looking at the website, we learn that in 2023 alone, over 700 tech companies have laid off close to 200,000 employees. In most industries, there have been more layoffs in 2023 than in 2022, so it is understandable that many people are feeling nervous.

Layoffs are happening, but how at risk are data scientists?

WARN’s analysis shows that at major tech companies like Meta and Google data scientist layoffs are actually pretty rare.

For example, in the last quarter of 2022, among 2,746 layoffs at Meta in California, only 16 data scientists were impacted. That’s only about 0.5%. Similarly, Google's layoffs in the first quarter of 2023 included only 11 data scientists.

These numbers suggest that data scientists are less likely to be laid off than other roles!

Of course, it’s important to consider the context when looking at numbers. These companies often employ far more engineers than data scientists at a ratio that is often more than 5 to 1.

Why is this important? Because there are relatively fewer data scientists in the tech world overall, when a few data scientists lose their jobs it seems more significant. Amongst a smaller group of professionals, news of layoffs will have a bigger impact.

However, the data indicates that this perception of data scientists being at greater risk is not true. Job security is a valid concern, but there is no quantitative reason for data scientists to feel more concerned than anyone else.

My Experience

The numbers tell us that data science is not a dying field, but I know that sometimes hard data alone is not comforting, especially when you are worried about your personal career.

That’s why before I end this post, I want to look at the question of whether data science is dying from a more personal angle.

I run a business that gives me the amazing opportunity to work with lots of data scientists. Over the past few years, I’ve helped hundreds of data scientists achieve their career goals, and that has given me a lot of insight into the state of the industry.

So, from my experience, is data science dying?

Who Is Currently Hiring Data Scientists?

From what I’ve seen, I firmly believe the demand for data scientists is still strong.

Many of my clients are worried about the current economy. Since the second half of 2022, companies like Meta, LinkedIn, and Google have not been hiring as many data scientists. Landing a job at FAANG companies may be more challenging.

However, while landing offers from some particular companies has become more difficult, data scientists are still able to secure excellent job offers. There are plenty of companies still actively hiring!

In 2023 alone, I’ve worked with data scientists who have landed offers at places such as…

  • CVS
  • Uber
  • TikTok
  • Cisco
  • Warner Bros.
  • Fidelity
  • Walmart
  • Airbnb

And that is far from all the companies that have hired data scientists this year. The economy has many people worried but rest assured. There are job opportunities out there!

If you are interested in knowing more about precisely which companies are hiring, check out this PDF I’ve compiled. I even update the list every month, so it remains up-to-date.

Are Data Scientists Getting Paid Less?

Besides concerns about job opportunities, the data scientists I work with are also concerned about how the current economic situation will impact compensation. Should data scientists expect a decrease in average pay?

Based on the offers received by people I work with, I can say that compensation offers for data scientists remain strong. Many experienced data scientists I work with have received offers exceeding $250,000 or even $300,000.

Again, it’s important to remember context when looking at those numbers. My experience typically involves tech companies, and pay scales for data scientists in other industries could differ.

Factors to consider when evaluating compensation include things like the industry, your location, educational background, skills, and years of experience.

That being said, I can say that in my experience, data scientists are not facing significant pay decreases due to the current economy.

The Verdict on Data Science

The economy has a lot of people worried right now, and it’s totally understandable if some of that fear has gotten to you.

But, I hope you also remember that the economic downturns of a single year do not necessarily predict the future. Don’t let the fluctuations of the market discourage you. As the numbers and my own hands-on experience have shown, data science is not a dying career.

A Word of Warning

However, that being said, I also want to emphasize that data science is not an easy career either.

The competition can be extremely intense, especially for roles at big tech companies. Data scientist openings can receive hundreds of applicants in just a few weeks.

Not only is competition fierce, but the skill set required to be an attractive candidate is often diverse. Companies seek candidates with knowledge of statistics, SQL, R, Python, machine learning, A/B testing, and more. It takes a lot of time to learn and master those things.

Besides those general data science skills, many positions also prioritize candidates with domain-specific knowledge such as experience in marketing. It takes years to gain such expertise.

That’s not all though. Being a successful data scientist isn’t just about technical proficiency. You also need a genuine passion for understanding and using data, curiosity to ask the right questions, and strong communication skills to share your findings.

Advice for a Career in Data Science

The point is that data science isn’t easy, so, if you are thinking about joining this field or advancing your career, I have two pieces of advice.

  1. Stay motivated.
  2. Continuously work on your skills.

Data science is a fast-paced field that is constantly evolving. It takes curiosity and a willingness to keep learning to stay relevant.

Final Thoughts

Data science is not a dying career, and if you are willing to put in the work, it can be a fantastic career path with lots of opportunities to learn new things and solve real problems.

If you want to learn more about a career in data science, check out my playlist on acing data science job interviews. It has lots of practical tips and insights to give you an edge in the competitive job market.

And, if you want to know more about my personal journey and career change to data scientist, you can watch this video on how I landed my first data scientist job.

Stay motivated and keep learning!

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