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Data science is not a new profession; however, it has evolved immensely over the last decade. Nearly every interaction with technology consists of data, including online shopping, social media algorithms, and anything recommended on your feed.

Data science has critical applications across many industries. That’s why pursuing a career in data science is a smart move. However, to break into these high-paying, in-demand roles, advanced education is generally required.

In-demand Data Science Career Paths

Data science is a multidisciplinary field that combines statistics, data analytics, machine learning, big data, and computer science. As such, it opens the door to a variety of job opportunities. Here are some of the most sought-after positions.


The following estimated salary information is based on Payscale.

1. Data Architect

Data architects work with database administrators and analysts to secure easy access to company data. Architects design a plan to integrate, protect and maintain a company’s potential data sources. They use their training in analytics and various coding programs to analyze information and draw conclusions based on their findings. Additionally, by utilizing mathematical and statistical theory methods, they present results to management, which are then used to improve various company initiatives.

What does a data architect do?

Typical duties of a data architect are:

  • Designing and implementing effective database solutions to store and retrieve company data.
  • Analyzing database implementation practices to ensure they conform to internal and external regulations.
  • Proposing solutions to improve new and existing database systems.
  • Training staff members and providing individual support.
  • Supervising the transfer of data from legacy systems to new solutions.
  • Evaluating client operations, applications, and programming to examine and identify structural database requirements.

Data architect salary

The average salary for a data architect is $119,583 per year.

2. Applications Architect

Applications architects create new or upgrade existing applications, run software tests, produce prototypes of products and create technical documents and guidelines relevant to creating applications. They might evaluate application technologies and make recommendations for the company’s best application practices for which they are working. They are detail-oriented team players who consistently provide valuable suggestions and solutions in software development, use, and maintenance.

What does an applications architect do?

Typical duties of an applications architect’s include:

  • Providing leadership to the application development team.
  • Reviewing design and code.
  • Designing significant aspects of the application architecture, including user interface, middleware, and infrastructure.
  • Collaborating with other stakeholders to ensure the architecture is aligned with business requirements.
  • Ensuring that uniform enterprise-wide application design standards are maintained.

Applications architect salary

The average salary for an applications architect is $116,192 per year.

3. Machine Learning Engineer

Machine learning engineers design self-running software to automate predictive models. Each time the software operates, it uses those results to carry out future operations with a greater accuracy rate. Coders and programmers with solid data skills can transition to become machine learning engineers, though they may need experience in a data role beforehand.

What does a machine learning engineer do?

A machine learning engineer’s daily duties include:

  • Performing statistical analysis.
  • Fine-tuning test results.
  • Training and retraining ML systems and models as and when necessary.
  • Working on various frameworks.
  • Undertaking machine learning experiments and tests.
  • Designing machine learning programs.
  • Developing deep learning systems to different use cases based on the business needs.
  • Studying and converting data science prototypes.
  • Implementing suitable AI/ML algorithms.
  • Designing and developing Machine Learning systems.
  • Utilizing test results to perform statistical analysis and fine-tune models.

Machine learning engineer salary

The average salary for a machine learning engineer is $112,691 per year.

4. Data Scientist

Data scientists make value out of data, meaning a professional proactively fetches information from various sources and analyzes it to understand better how the business performs and build AI tools that automate specific processes within the company. A data scientist will use their strong business sense and an ability to communicate findings to both business and IT leaders to influence how an organization approaches a business challenge.

What does a data scientist do?

A data scientist’s duties include:

  • Undertaking data collection, preprocessing, and analysis.
  • Building models to address business problems.
  • Presenting information using data visualization techniques.
  • Identifying valuable data sources and automating collection processes.
  • Examining large amounts of data to discover trends and patterns.
  • Building predictive models and machine-learning algorithms.
  • Combining models through ensemble modeling.
  • Presenting information using data visualization techniques.
  • Proposing solutions and strategies to business challenges.
  • Collaborating with engineering and product development teams.

Data scientist salary

The average salary for a data scientist is $96,301 per year.

5. Data Engineer

Data engineers often focus on larger datasets and are tasked with optimizing the infrastructure surrounding different data analytics processes. Engineers build and test scalable Big Data ecosystems for businesses so that the data scientists can run their algorithms on data systems that are stable and highly optimized. A data engineer also works closely with a team of frontend and backend engineers, product managers, and analysts and defines a company data asset.

What does a data engineer do?

Some of the most common responsibilities for a data engineer include:

  • Developing, constructing, testing, and maintaining architectures.
  • Aligning architecture with business requirements.
  • Developing data set processes.
  • Using programming language and tools.
  • Identifying ways to improve data reliability, efficiency, and quality.
  • Researching industry and business questions.
  • Using large data sets to address business issues.
  • Deploying sophisticated analytics programs, machine learning, and statistical methods.
  • Preparing data for predictive and prescriptive modeling.
  • Finding hidden patterns using data.
  • Using data to discover tasks that they can automate.
  • Delivering updates to stakeholders based on analytics.

Data engineer salary

The average salary for a data engineer is $92,305 per year.

6. Database Administrator

These professionals utilize cutting-edge software to store and organize their company’s critical data. DBAs play an essential role in coordinating the systems that data analysts use for translating numbers into strategic business plans. They manage and maintain software databases, such as client records, statistical surveys, census information, user accounts, and library catalogs. Database administrators work in many different industries, including computer systems design and related services firms, insurance companies, banks, and hospitals.

What does a database administrator do?

A database administrators’ key responsibilities include:

  • Controlling the development of a company’s databases to keep vital data available only to users with authorized access.
  • Overseeing technical aspects of database administration, including debugging code and upgrading software.
  • Ensuring that the database is running effectively and without error.
  • Making and testing adjustments as appropriate to the configuration of the database.
  • Performing capacity planning.
  • Restoring and backing up to prevent data loss.

Database administrator salary

The average salary for a database administrator is $73,696 per year.


7. Statistician

In the data science world, statisticians gather numerical data and then display it to help companies make sense of data and spot trends, and make predictions. Statisticians often work to interpret data to inform their employer on either industry trends or consumer behavior. They work in various fields such as business, health and medicine, government, physical sciences, and environmental sciences.


What does a statistician do?

A statistician performs some of the following tasks:

  • Designing data acquisition trials.
  • Communicating complex information to people who are not specialists.
  • Relating statistics to make forecasts and to give projected figures.
  • Acting in a consultancy capacity.
  • Assessing results.
  • Analyzing trends.
  • Applying the statistical methodology to complex data.
  • Communicating findings to stakeholders.

Statistician salary

The average salary for a statistician is $74,446 per year.


Businesses and government departments rely on data to better serve their customers and succeed in their venture. Data science occupations are in high demand, and they won’t be any less relevant for years to come. One such way you can build skills and experience for this field is to pursue a degree program in your interest area.

Suppose you have a passion for computers, math, and discovering answers through data accessing, analysis, and interpretation. In that case, earning a degree in data science or data analytics might be your next step.



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