back to article Data scientist wanted: Must have Python, spontaneity not required

The average salary offered to data scientists in the past year was £47,000, with Python being the most desirable programming language, according to an analysis of job ads. The assessment, carried out by listings site Joblift, looked at 8,672 data scientist vacancies posted in the UK over the last 12 months. It found that data …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems low. O'Reilly, using actual job data[1] rather than job postings on a job site, pegged it much closer to 55k. Coupling the typical python skills with big data, software engineering or domain expertise lifts this substantially. If the average salary in this case is that low I'd suggest the term has become so corrupted to just encompass any person that does any thing with data, or that the quality of the job postings is just really, really low.

    [1] http://www.oreilly.com/data/free/files/2017-european-data-science-salary-survey.pdf

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      the quality of the job postings is

      Or, perhaps, that the results are skewed low because most ads are aimed at the entry level (people who might transfer into data science) rather than the established workers?

    2. Naselus

      " the quality of the job postings is just really, really low."

      Guessing this tbh. Probably a number of tiny companies who do not need data scientists and do not hold enough data to analyse trying to get on the bandwagon after the CTO saw a presentation about how marvellous it is, but unable to afford the actual £60k+ that a real Data Scientist would expect.

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        I'd go with the AC in that these are likely just low-end positions. Experienced people are more likely to be head-hunted in this area rather than go looking on whatever online job noticeboard is flavour of the month.

  2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Statistician

    What's the difference between a data scientist and a statistician?

    Someone whose primary language is R rather than SSRS, Mathemathica or whatever it is statisticians use these days?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Statistician

      Good question. From my observations "data scientists" tend to wield the tools that statisticians devise.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: Statistician

        Oh Really? How many statisticians are writing Spark libraries for R, Python or Scala? Pretty much none I would guess. Although a very very small number probably involved in QA.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Statistician

      What's the difference between a data scientist and a statistician?

      A data scientist is a statistician with a Porsche

    3. boltar Silver badge

      Re: Statistician

      "What's the difference between a data scientist and a statistician?"

      At a guess I'd say a statistician simply carries out mathematical analysis of data to provide statistical breakdowns or linear predictions, whereas a data scientist probably has a broader role in providing insight into what the data actually means plus categorising it and figuring out ways to use it to aid whatever organisation they're working for.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Statistician

        Data Scientist would generally require decent coding skills and need to wrangle their own data, poosibly less so with your average Statistician. You can see the kind of cross-over between strict Statistician and Quantitative Developer in the global language split between R and Python, with plenty using both depending on their needs. Data Scientist would encompass both types of people and which end of the spectrum you sit would vary by what you're getting tasked with. Banks, for instance, would likely want more Data Scientist types as their coding skills can be put to other uses especially if it is in Python.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are data scientists the new whale biologists?

  4. Blockchain commentard Silver badge
    Holmes

    In other words, we (your employers) want soleless nerds to do a thankless task without having a personality or life outside work. Just give us the results and don't worth about the ethics.

    We'll relocate you to London to reinforce that point!!

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      They want you to be passionate about it, but they don't want you to be assertive of those passions.

  5. colinb

    is there really a skills shortage?

    Newly qualified Tube driver, starting wage £49,673.

    No degree required, 43 days holiday, retire at 50 if you like and the main requirement is to stay alert and not be numpty.

    Data Scientist 47K, requires degree which costs min 3 yrs and up to £35,000+, 25 days holiday if lucky and you need to have NumPy

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: is there really a skills shortage?

      Love the Numpy/numpty

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: is there really a skills shortage?

        > Love the Numpy/numpty

        Oo-er, missus

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: is there really a skills shortage?

      "Newly qualified Tube driver, starting wage £49,673.

      No degree required, 43 days holiday, retire at 50 if you like and the main requirement is to stay alert and not be numpty."

      Don't forget strike at a moment's notice because you have your employers over a barrel.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: is there really a skills shortage?

        ...And that is the medium term benefit of a strong union. I doubt that tube driver is a good long term career choice for a school leaver hoping to retire in 2048 now though.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Re: is there really a skills shortage?

          I doubt that tube driver is a good long term career choice for a school leaver hoping to retire in 2048 now though.

          Arguably it shouldn't be a role now given I was using the DLR in 2006 and it isn't like the need to steer the bloody things. There's that strong union for you....'cos...safety innit. I somehow doubt they'll be going anywhere soon - much like the trains on strike day. There's also the big ££££ to implement across an existing network to consider even though some elements could surely be fitted during any upgrade works - kind of a creeping automation.

          Are there any train buffs on the forums that could enlighten us hypothesisers?

  6. DNTP

    "Analytical Biologist" wanted for bioinformatics role

    Must have MS or PhD Biology, 10+ years experience, what we won't tell you is that 100% of this job is coding and we are too cheap to hire a programmer

    Starting salary 25-30,000 USD per annum. That's not an abbreviation, our starting offer will be twenty-five dollars a year.

  7. Alistair Silver badge

    I've recently

    Had a discussion with a slave traderrecruiter discussing a project:

    required:

    5 to 10 years enterprise Systems Operations in Windows/Unix/Linux heterogeneous environment, Masters in Computer Science, "extensive" experience in network configuration and diagnostics, and 3 to 5 years experience in applying high security configurations to windows, linux, unix, and networking equipment. Objective was to rebuild a 700 seat call centre support environment and provide 'rapid datacentre migration tools' to the client.

    The offer was $28-$35/hrCA. No overtime, 6 Day weeks, and a 14 week schedule to completion.

    I suggested that the Ontario Labour Relations board might like to have a peek at that contract.

    1. onefang Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: I've recently

      "5 to 10 years enterprise Systems Operations in Windows/Unix/Linux heterogeneous environment, Masters in Computer Science, "extensive" experience in network configuration and diagnostics, and 3 to 5 years experience in applying high security configurations to windows, linux, unix, and networking equipment."

      Ten years experience with this, ten years experience with that, five years experience with something else, plus a Masters degree required, that's starting to add up to a serious amount of years. But IT companies people wont hire anyone over 50...

      And don't get me started on "must have five years experience in a three year old technology".

  8. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Data Scientists. Working day and night to give you more of what you already like and game a system you already can't win.

    Thrrrrrp! Into the vat of BBC Gunge with them all!

  9. sisk Silver badge

    Python? I'm surprised that the language I usually recommend to people as a first language is the one most sought after by people looking to hire data scientists.

    Then again I guess programming isn't really the main skill for that particular job. It'd just be another tool for someone whose stock and trade is data analysis.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Quite the opposite. It's a tool that is more than good enough for both "proper" software engineering and quick and dirty analysis*. It's the the resulting quality and usability of its major analytical libraries (e.g. NumPy, SciPy, PySpark, Tensorflow etc.) that has allowed Python to reach the level of popularity it's enjoying today.

      *Which is also about as strong a definition of data scientist as you're going to get in today's world.

      1. Chemist

        "Quite the opposite. It's a tool that is more than good enough for both "proper" software engineering and quick and dirty analysis*. "

        Agreed. I worked (~2003) for a while, on secondment, with our Computational Chemists and was suprised at the extensive use they made of Python. Mind we had an extensive set of in-house and commercial libraries, tools etc.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re Quite the opposite

        And given the GPU acceleration that seems to be available for easy to use from python libraries is another enormous boon.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      @Sisk - Guido designed Python to be a very straightforward thus relatively easy language to learn and master. Many none IT professionals need to do a bit of programming and find Python a good choice for many tasks. Plus the language scales nicely for larger projects if one takes the time to plan the project properly (not a language issue in realty). Most data analysts are not likely to IT people as their is considerable domain knowledge needed to be an effective data analyst. Knowledge an IT person is not likely to know.

      I have an uncle who back in the day said he would hire accountants and teach them programming for the accounting code he had to keep up than hire an IT grad and teach them accounting. The issue is the domain knowledge needed and who knows what.

  10. TonyJ Silver badge

    Wow...

    All that effort and cost to get your masters or doctorate to earn such a small amount.

    You have to wonder if ROI is worth it these days.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Wow...

      Better still is working for an MBA who is paid three times as much as you and has to ask you how to open a zip file.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Wow...

        Ha! How about the freshly minted MCSE with a core-four not yet a month old who cannot set up local admin rights on an NT4 workstation?

        Yes I carry grudges a long time. No, it wasn't my workstation, but I was the one who got the guy his admin rights while the MCSE was at lunch.

  11. DavCrav Silver badge

    "The average salary offered to data scientists in the past year was £47,000 [...] More than half bagged £50,000 or more"

    Eh?

    1. David Neil

      Oh dear

      Mean (average) <> Median

    2. IanRS

      Two data scientists earn 50K, while a third earns £41K.

      You're not a data scientist, are you?

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        "You're not a data scientist, are you?"

        I am not a data scientist, but I do know about averages. First, mean salaries are normally higher than median salaries because of the floor. The article goes on to say there are very few low-paid ones, so I'd be surprised if the mean were lower than the median. Second, median is now the accepted use of the word average for salaries, as median is more useful than mean as it excludes extreme values.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          How does median exclude extreme values? Order values, find middle. That would not seem to exclude low-end outliers to me. High-end yes, but not low. Median is the more useful number though which I believe is the main point. Calling it an average when that covers mean, median, and mode is just lazy writing by the article's author. Average is generally taken to be arithmetic mean (expected value) however.

    3. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

      @DavCrav

      Offered != Accepted

  12. My-Handle

    Salary isn't just a number

    Something to consider that might skew the results a bit...

    Three years ago I was working for a large company based in Reading, effectively as a junior software developer. My salary was around the £21k mark. A year ago I got a different job in rural Northern Ireland. A .Net / ASP web developer, earning a similar amount.

    On the face of it, my standard of living should not have changed. However, in Reading, I could barely afford the rent on the 1 bed flat I shared with my other half. Here in NI, I own a 3 bed house with outbuildings, 2 cars and can afford to kit out my own workshop. But still on the same salary.

    Salary, taken as a number, really isn't representative of your standard of living. It changes it's value far too much across the UK.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Salary isn't just a number

      Very good observation. I live in a major Southeastern metropolitan area so the cost of living is not dirt cheap. But decent apartments and affordable housing is available throughout the metro area. My salary would not allow me to rent a dumpster in SF or Silly Valley let alone a nice 2 bed, 2 bath apartment or buy a house.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Salary isn't just a number

      Well done you for learnings a life lesson, are you 12 years old or something.

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: Salary isn't just a number

        "...Well done you for learnings a life lesson, are you 12 years old or something...."

        That all you have to say on it? Some pointlessly inane dig made (of course) anonymously.

        You do realise that the majority of people tend to work close to where they grew up? Likewise they tend to make lives for themselves there so if that happens to be somewhere were the cost of living is high they tend to just get on with it and accept it as being one of the facts of life.

        I was once offered the chance to move to the Southeast of England - my employer offered a decent uptick in salary along with offering to pay for certain essentials to help the move.

        But when I did the maths - even with the salary lift I'd have had to downsize my home and I live on the edge of a national forest with access to both the A1 and M1 within less than 30 minutes of each. With trains I can be in London in less than two hours should the need arise.

        So having thought about it all I chose not to make the move.

        That make me 12 as well??

        1. Mog_X

          Re: Salary isn't just a number

          TonyJ, I sort of did the opposite - lived in the South East (well, about 30 miles north of London) and hated the commute and crowding. When my company did a relocation further north many of my colleagues jumped ship, but I took the relocation package.

          Now I'm living in the same (I suspect) National Forest that you are next to, with a 30 minute commute and a bigger house.

        2. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Salary isn't just a number

          "...I live on the edge of a national forest "

          That alone would require a 100% boost in salary to even consider moving away from.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Salary isn't just a number

      Exactly.

      With the downside of where I live not being London the upsides are:

      - access to motorway within 3 minutes

      - access to city centre within 20 off peak and

      - bus stop 1 min walk away if peak

      - Doctor (with online booking) Dentist and Pharmacist 2 minute walk away

      - corner shop and chippy 1 minute walk away

      - one of the UKs newest hospital an hours walk (or 10 minute drive away)

      - 1,400 sq. ft bungalow in 5,000 sq. foot plot

      - 10 minute drive from rural edge of city (farms, artisan butchers etc etc)

      - Easy access to 8 venues on the tour circuit. They all have to go through the Midlands.

      All bought by one wage, as my wife is disabled (which makes all the above facilities invaluable). Even if we both worked and got double my last wage, we'd never afford that level of life in London.

      Did I mention the standard 100MBps Virgin Fibre connection we have ?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Salary isn't just a number

        While we're playing this game.........

        Bought a stunning place outright just inland from the Devon coast, in the East Devon AONB. Was going to holiday let it. Then our landlord in SE London decided to sell. So we moved there - why move again in a few years (given my age....) ?? 1 or 2 days WFH, 3 or 4 days in London, travel cost + AirBnB dive only a bit more than half London rental costs. And London salary.

        Then again, I'd live there permanently like a shot for a 15K drop in salary.

    4. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Salary isn't just a number

      I'd argue that £47-55k in London is shit money. I know to people outside the capital that seems obtuse but that kind of coin wouldn't get you a great standard of living and you'd be unlikely to ever own more than a tent to live in. Most places you'd want to live within reasonable commuting distance/time of the capital are already very expensive to the point that I'd suggest that if you can't pull in more than £100k/yr I would consider living elsewhere for a better quality of life.

  13. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Well, apply any stats to recruitment ads and the answer youll come back with is 'total bollocks'.

    The only numbers that thing that matters to me is how long it takes before I get a response to a job ad. Then, how many suitable people I interview.

    Going by the current state of play, most jobs involving programming, in one way or another, dont seem to be getting any suitable candidates through the interview door, never mind in the seat.

    As far as London/SE and cost of living goes. Go to the interview, ask where the job is based, then ask for the price of an average 3 bed semi in a nice area. Divide that figure by 3 and say youll only accept a job paying 50% extra.

    House price inflation is delayed wage inflation.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      "Going by the current state of play, most jobs involving programming, in one way or another, dont seem to be getting any suitable candidates through the interview door, never mind in the seat."

      That'll be all those filters that get applied long before candidates get around to the interview. Are they under fifty? Do they look good in a business suit? Firm handshake? Are they clean shaven? Are they male with short fingernails? These are all way more important than trivialities like - can they actually program?

  14. Simon Ward

    Here's the bit that they don't mention - unless you happen to match the definition of 'big data' dreamed up by the fuckwit in charge of hiring, you don't stand a cat in hell's chance of getting a 'fuck you very much' email, much less a callback with someone possessing a modicum of Clue. Don't want to suffer living in London? Forget about it ...

    Not that I'm bitter, or anything

    (two degrees[1], 16 years of experience developing in Python - everything from HPC to automation frameworks and I'm lucky if I get a 'fuck you very much' email, much less a callback)

    [1] - including a PhD in computational physics, so it's not like I'm innumerate or anything

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