Master of Data Science Salaries: 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Data science professionals continue to be in demand. Learn more about the type of salary you may be able to earn after graduating with your master's in data science.

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Data has become an integral part of business, meaning that the demand for data scientists remains high. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that data scientist roles will grow 36 percent between 2021 and 2031 [1]. What’s more, these jobs are not limited to the tech industry. Because many companies now rely on data to make decisions, you may see increased demand across sectors.

Thanks to that demand, data science roles tend to draw higher salaries. Earning your master’s in data science may lead to even more lucrative compensation packages thanks to the senior-level or managerial roles you may qualify for. In this article, we’ll review the kinds of salaries you may be able to earn with a master’s degree in data science and the factors that influence your earning potential. 

The impact of a master’s degree in data science on salary

In general, having a master’s degree has been shown to positively affect your salary. Master’s degree holders earn a higher median salary than bachelor’s degree holders, taking home $1,574 to $1,334 per week [2]. 

The National Association of Colleges and Employers found that a graduate degree can be financially beneficial. The related field of computer science saw significant returns for students. Bachelor’s degree graduates were expected to earn a starting salary of $75,900 in 2022, but that number jumped to $82,384 for master’s degree graduates [3]. 

In fact, a study from CareerBliss recently found that database administrators were among the top 10 careers where earning a master’s can lead to larger financial rewards. Those with a master’s degree made over 20 percent more than bachelor’s degree holders, taking home average salaries of $96,028 compared to $75,807 [4]. 

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers are among the fields that typically pay more for advanced education, according to BLS [5]. Thirty-four percent of data scientists hold a master’s while 54 percent have a bachelor’s degree, according to Zippia [6]. 

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3 factors that influence MS in Data Science salaries

Even with a master’s degree in data science, several factors impact your earning potential. 

1. Experience 

Becoming a data scientist often requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field. A master’s degree can be a valuable credential to add to your resume, but beyond your education, experience goes a long way in a data science career. 

An entry-level data scientist can earn an average salary of $75,900, according to Zippia [3]. The more experience—and education—you amass, the higher your paycheck will likely be because you may qualify for senior-level and managerial roles. The Burtch Works Study, which examined the salaries of data scientists, found that mid-level and executive-level data scientists often make much more: $130,000 and $165,000, respectively. Those salaries can be even higher if your role involves managerial responsibilities.  

2. Location

Where you live can often determine how much you will earn. While a company will consider your education and experience when making an offer, your location can also affect your total salary. 

For example, data scientists in California and the Pacific Northwest tend to earn higher salaries than those living in Texas or the South, according to the 2016 Data Science Salary Survey from O’Reilly [7]. But the cost of living is also higher in these areas. 

Tech companies tend to pay higher salaries across the board. For data science professionals who work in tech, the top cities for salaries in the US are [8]: 

CityAverage salary
Silicon Valley$133,204
New York City$115,510
San Diego$114,801
Los Angeles$113,658

3. Industry

Lastly, the industry in which you work can impact your salary with a master’s degree in data science. 

The top industries for data scientists are [7]: 

  1. Cloud services, hosting, and content delivery networks (CDN)

  2. Search and social networking

  3. Banking and finance

Other top-paying industries are telecommunications, social networking, and security. 

Jobs you can pursue with a master’s in data science

Thanks to the advanced nature of a master’s degree, you may find that you qualify for senior- and managerial-level data science jobs

Learn more about the types of salaries you can make as a: 

Other ways to advance your knowledge of data science

When you’ve already earned your bachelor’s degree but are interested in pivoting to a career in data science, a master’s may be beneficial. Many programs provide a foundational overview of the skills needed to succeed: statistics, knowledge of a programming language, and the ability to work with data sets.  

But when you’ve been working in data science for some time, an advanced degree may be more useful if the program offers you an opportunity to concentrate in an area such as machine learning or bioinformatics. The specialized knowledge you gain can lead to careers in in-demand fields, like AI

Learn more about whether a master’s degree in data science is worth it when it comes to your goals. Beyond a graduate degree, there are other ways to strengthen your knowledge of data science—either at a foundational or specialized level. These include: 

  • Certificates: Strengthen your skill set by earning a professional certificate (through a leading company) in data science or an area of data science. Certificates are often designed to take less than one year to complete at a much lower cost than a graduate degree.  

  • Courses: Enroll in a massive open online course (MOOC) to acquire or improve your knowledge of data science. These individual courses can be completed in a few weeks to a few months—depending on the time you have to commit—and are typically designed to emphasize skills development. 

  • Projects: Find projects online, like on YouTube or via Guided Projects on Coursera.

  • Books: Find and read books on the area of data science you’re interested in learning. Not sure where to start? We’ve compiled lists of books on data analysis and books on machine learning to help point you in the right direction. 

Next steps

There are several opportunities to earn your master’s degree from a highly-ranked university on Coursera. Explore the University of Michigan’s Master of Applied Data Science, University of Colorado Boulder’s Master of Data Science, or Illinois’ Master of Computer Science in Data Science

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Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Data Scientists,” Accessed January 19, 2023. 

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.