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What’s the ROI of an Online Master’s in Data Science?

July 3, 2024

Data has become the new gold in today’s digital world. Technology advancements have created new opportunities for companies to use the abundant available data to inform decision-making, optimize functions, and remain competitive. According to Statista, global data will reach 181 zettabytes by 2025, up from just two zettabytes in 2010. This extraordinary growth has increased data’s importance to businesses, creating a growing demand for data scientists.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the data science job market will grow by 35 percent from 2022 to 2032, placing data scientists third on the BLS list of fastest-growing occupations. U.S. News & World Report ranked data scientists eighth on its 100 Best Jobs of 2024 list based on factors like salary, opportunities for advancement, work-life balance, and demand. With high demand, positive career attributes, and a talent shortage, it’s a great time for current STEM professionals to upskill and pursue exciting new data science roles and career opportunities at innovative companies advancing the field. 

Seeking an advanced degree in data science—like the Tufts online Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS)—is an investment that can pay dividends. While earnings vary based on multiple factors, including role, industry, location, and experience, graduate degrees generally provide a strong ROI. Continue reading to learn more about salaries in data science.

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Data Science Salaries: A Closer Look at Earning Potential 

Earning a master’s in data science prepares graduates for careers in decision science and analysis, data architecture, data modeling, and data quality and governance. They can perform analysis, design data science pipelines, build data infrastructure, create data models, and manage teams. Master’s in data science degree holders can pursue various data science careers, some of which are summarized below.

Data Analyst

Data analysts examine data to identify trends, glean insights, and predict outcomes. They share their findings with leadership to help shape strategies, discover new opportunities, and improve operations. Data analysts earn an average salary of around $78,000.

Data Architect 

Data architects develop, execute, and manage a company’s data architecture, creating plans for complex data systems. They build warehousing solutions, model data, and ensure everything is integrated, centralized, and secure. Data architects’ median income is $137,000.

Data Engineer

Data engineers develop and maintain data infrastructure. They create data pipelines to convert raw data into usable formats, enabling data scientists and analysts to extract valuable insights. They also design methods to store and access large datasets, ensuring businesses can interpret their data effectively. Data engineers draw an average salary of about $128,500.

Data Manager

Data managers oversee data flow, processes, and team members to meet organizational goals. They focus on areas like storage, modeling, security, and data governance, ensuring data integrity and accessibility. Data managers earn an average salary of about $89,000.

Data Modeler

Data modelers design database blueprints for the data used by data scientists. They organize information to support business processes and decision-making, ensure database accessibility, and manage the flow of information efficiently. The average annual income for data modelers is around $122,000.

Data Scientist

Data scientists use statistical, analytical, and programming skills to examine data sets and uncover valuable insights. They build machine-learning models, help develop new business strategies, and communicate findings to stakeholders, enabling companies to make informed decisions to achieve their goals. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, data scientists in scientific research and development earn an average annual income of over $126,000; those in computer systems design earn about $118,000 per year.

Machine Learning Engineer

Machine learning engineers create AI software that learns from the data collected to build predictive models. They collaborate closely with other data science team members and generally focus on the technical aspects of data collection, analysis, and model production. Machine learning engineers make an average salary of close to $161,000.

Software Engineer

Software engineers create and maintain software systems, focusing on meeting user needs and ensuring functionality. They analyze requirements, design and develop software, and play a crucial role in all stages of software development, including maintenance and updates after release. The average annual income for software engineers is about $130,000.

Continuing Your Data Science Career Path: Leadership and Management Salaries

Graduates of a master’s in data science program qualify for higher-paying advanced data. Senior-level roles in data science include senior data scientist (average salary of $132,186), chief data officer (average salary of $171,864), and vice president of data science (average salary of $240,205). 

Executive-level roles are also available in industries that collect and use large amounts of data. Top industries for data science professionals include banking, financial services, and insurance; media and entertainment; and healthcare. Senior roles for data science professionals in these industries include:

Earning a master’s in data science opens doors to advanced roles in numerous industries, offering new challenges, development opportunities, and higher salary potential.  

Increase Your Income Potential with Skills That Set You Apart

A master’s degree in data science can help you develop the skills and aptitudes needed to compete for higher-responsibility, better-paying positions in management and leadership. Tech managers are willing to offer top talent increased salaries, signing bonuses, flexible work arrangements, and improved perks and benefits. They will also pay more for professionals with skills in data science and database management, cybersecurity, AI and machine learning, software development, and cloud. A data science master’s program can help you build those competencies.

Tufts online Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) offers a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum that develops students into efficient problem-solvers ready to lead at the intersection of data and decision-making. Students benefit from peer collaboration and faculty experts with real-world experience, creating a rich learning environment. Online students engage in an interactive community while enjoying the convenience of virtual learning. Support resources include online faculty office hours, tech support, career counseling, and the Tufts University alumni network consisting of over 100,000 graduates worldwide.

With a focus on building the in-demand skills students need to lead technical innovation, the Tufts MS in Data Science prepares graduates for high-demand careers and increased salaries in data science, data analysis, and data-centric problem-solving across various industries.

Earn Your Data Science MS Online at Tufts

Earning an online master’s in data science from a quality program provides a strong ROI through increased job opportunities and earning potential. Students in the online MSDS at Tufts bolster lifelong learning skills that enable them to keep pace with best practices in an evolving landscape.

Review the admissions page to learn more about the admissions process and required materials, or connect with an enrollment advisor if you have questions. If you’re ready to start, complete your application online.

Interested in data science but don’t have prior experience? Explore our post-baccalaureate certificate program.

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