Data Scientist Salary Guide: What to Expect in 2024

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Wondering what to expect from a data scientist’s salary? Learn how your location, education, and experience affect your earnings on this exciting career path.

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If data is the "new oil for the global economy," data scientists are the talent capable of extracting, refining, and deploying this new essential, valuable resource. The World Economic Forum lists data science roles amongst the labour market’s highest in-demand roles [1]. 

This ongoing demand bodes well for anyone researching data scientist salary information. This article explores what you might expect to earn as a data scientist and how to boost your salary.

What is a data scientist?

Data scientists perform many essential duties. Among those include identifying problems that could be solved by data analytics and determining the correct data sets and variables to analyse. They also analyse data to identify important insights and report to decision-makers using the information to steer the company in the right direction. 

Tip: To learn more about the data science field, consider taking Introduction to Data Science offered by IBM on Coursera.


How much do data scientists make?

According to Glassdoor [2], a data scientist earns an average salary of £53,001 in the United Kingdom as of May 2024. Additionally, demand for data professionals is likely to remain high. In LinkedIn’s round-up of the most in-demand jobs in the UK in 2022, several listed data science skills as a requirement. Data engineering, a closely related career path, was also number 16 on the list of 20 on-the-rise jobs [3].

Factors that can influence your data scientist salary

Data scientists offer great value with their expertise in using software, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to bring order and understanding to the deluge of big data. Still, several factors can affect a data scientist’s salary. Here is a quick breakdown of some of those factors.

Data scientist salary insights by location

Salaries for data scientists can vary significantly from region to region. According to Glassdoor, as of May 2024, data scientist salaries in the UK ranged from £38,000 to £61,000. 

  • London: £59,610

  • Edinburgh: £49,437

  • Cambridge: £47,836

  • Manchester: £43,823

  • Oxford: £49,687

  • Birmingham: £41,242

  • Leeds: £43,487

  • Bristol: £42,229

  • Glasgow: £44,073

How education affects salary

You will likely want to earn an undergraduate degree to become a data scientist. Particularly relevant subjects include math, statistics, computer science, and data science. Physics and engineering could also be helpful if they involve high-level statistics.

You might also pursue an apprenticeship such as a data scientist integrated degree, artificial intelligence (AI) data specialist higher, or a digital and technology solutions specialist apprenticeship.

Many data scientists also obtain postgraduate degrees. The higher your education level, the higher you generally expect your income level. 

How experience affects a data scientist's salary

The more experienced you are as a data scientist, the more money you will likely make. Gaining work experience through internships or years of industry placements can help you achieve a job and earn more when you have one. Look for job opportunities at

Participating in online data science competitions could also help you to develop valuable professional experience, including those that Topcoder and Kaggle host. You might also participate in boot camps to learn coding. Or join industry organisations such as to not only network but expand your awareness of the latest in data science, which can further help your compensation negotiations:

How your career path affects your salary 

Your career path can significantly impact your earning capabilities as a data scientist. Working for high-quality large companies usually pays a higher salary than working for smaller ones. 

The industry in which you do your data science may also play a role. For example, leading data scientist employers include finance, retail, and e-commerce companies. Private companies typically have higher budgets than the NHS or other government departments. You might also find a position in sectors such as telecoms, oil and gas, transport, universities, and research institutes.

You can also expect your salary to increase as you advance. Typically, you’ll work for two to five years in a junior data scientist role before levelling up. When you reach a senior data scientist role, you can also expect to earn more as you will likely take on people management.

How to increase your data scientist salary

Once you leave your work environment, you can continue influencing your earning potential. Here are a few strategies that can help.

Keep building new skills. 

The more skills you have as a data scientist, the more value you will typically offer, allowing you to command higher salaries. 

Focus on mastering as many of these skills as possible:

  • Machine learning

  • Programming

  • Risk analysis

  • Cloud tools

  • Software engineering skills

  • Statistical analysis

  • Data mining and cleaning

  • Big data, platform usage

  • Data warehousing and structures

In addition to technical skills, you’ll also want to build up your professional skills. Some suggestions include working on your:

  • Analytical and problem-solving skills

  • Communication and presentation skills 

  • Effective listening skills 

  • Drive and resilience

  • Self-motivation to work with minimal supervision

  • Planning, time management, and organisational skills

  • Ability to deliver under pressure and to tight deadlines

  • Attention to detail 

Consider a postgraduate degree.

A postgraduate degree in a relevant field can also help you earn more. Employers are typically interested in a Master’s or PhD in areas such as:

  • Big data

  • Business analytics

  • Data analytics

  • Data science

Enhance your data scientist CV.

Learning the skills above is the first step. The next step is to showcase those skills on your CV. One way to ensure your most in-demand skills stand out to employers is to earn a Professional Certificate in a relevant area of expertise. 

Industry leaders and accredited universities such as IBM, Microsoft, Stanford University, and the University of Colorado Boulder provide Professional Certificates on Coursera's platform. Check out this list of online courses that provide you with a data science certificate upon completion:

Take the next step with Coursera.

If the data scientist job and its salary appeal to you, consider starting by mastering the basic skills of a data scientist. You could also think of one of the professional certificates offered on Coursera, like the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate.

Article sources


World Economic Forum. “Data Science in the New Economy.” Accessed May 20, 2024.

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