Frequently called “the new oil,” data continues to rule the business world and create lucrative opportunities for data professionals. New technologies are developing rapidly, and they all rely on big data. The sheer volume of data processed every second is mind-boggling—2.5 quintillion bytes in 2021, according to TechJury.
Those who live and breathe statistics, analytics, mathematics, and programming are cashing in on this lucrative field. The field also has opportunities for tremendous career growth and development. So how much do data scientists make? Let’s take a look.
What Is Data Science?
Data science combines math, statistics, programming, and analysis to uncover actionable insights from large data sets. It can help predict the success of a new product, or provide new information and patterns in customer behavior. After visualizing findings into intuitive graphs and diagrams, data scientists present to stakeholders and help drive business decisions.
Is It Hard to Become a Data Scientist in Florida?
Thanks to the increasing number of affordable alternatives to college education, becoming a data scientist is becoming easier every day. So if you’ve got the aptitude, education, and drive, then opportunities will abound.
What Are Some of the Highest-Paying Data Science Jobs in Florida?
The average data science salary sits at $139,292 annually, according to salary.com, but you can make more than $200,000 a year, depending on the area of concentration and experience. Let’s take a look at some of the most lucrative positions.
BI Developer (Business Intelligence)
It may not be as high-paying as other roles on this list, but a BI developer is crucial to the strategy process of any company using data. These data scientists focus heavily on data visualization. Not only do that process and present data, but they also create the tools and systems organizations use to extract the data.
Data scientists use math, statistics, and programming to analyze and interpret raw data, turning it into actionable insights. These masters of predictive modeling also create algorithms to help forecast trends and find patterns. While they may focus on numbers, data scientists must be comfortable presenting their findings to stakeholders or upper management.
Data engineers design and build data pipelines, maintain data management systems, and focus on the scale, storage, and security of big data. They also need a working knowledge of system infrastructure, cloud computing, automation, and scripting.
Big Data Engineer
Big data engineers focus on software initiatives. They work closely with data analysts, data scientists, and other teams to design and manage data storage and help create strategies from data insights that keep organizations running smoothly. They may also create machine learning algorithms to help collect and process data.
An enterprise architect focuses on IT networks and services, improving the software and hardware infrastructure so that data can be collected and funneled through the system safely and efficiently. As the world continues to shift to a cloud-based system, they help create best practices and balance concerns regarding data and compliance processes. Enterprise architects must stay on top of new technologies and how best to funnel data through the channels.
Big Data Architect
Big data architects design and maintain the data management framework to centralize and integrate data. Knowledge of coding and programming languages is key to this job as they work with software engineers and developers.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engineer
Artificial intelligence (AI) engineers are data scientists that help develop programs that solve problems with cognition that mimics that of the human brain. They develop and deploy AI models, evaluate algorithm performance, and build data ingestion systems. The national average is $156,648, but AI engineers can make more than $260,000 annually.
Entry-Level Data Science Jobs in Florida
Even junior data scientists entering their first year of work are highly skilled and trained professionals, a fact which is reflected in their high salaries.
Junior Data Engineer
A junior data engineer is often tasked with the optimization, improvement, and maintenance of existing data infrastructure. While the senior team members move on to new projects, juniors learn and develop their skills by looking after current architecture.
Junior Data Scientist
Junior data scientists work within a team of more experienced scientists and take care of the lower-level tasks involved in a project. This can include preparing and analyzing data or visualizing data reports. Juniors are also often given personal development tasks to help them raise their skill level.
How to Become a Data Scientist in Florida
There are multiple paths you can take to become a data scientist in Florida. Here are some common career paths:
If you don’t have any experience with data science, then follow these steps:
Acquire the skills: You can choose to study by attending college, studying independently, or enrolling in a career-focused boot camp like the USF CTPE Data Science Bootcamp.
Create and expand your portfolio: Once you have a bit of data science knowledge under your belt, you can participate in an internship, open-source projects, or volunteer work to build out your portfolio. Then, you can show that portfolio to recruiters to help you land your first data science job.
Begin your job search: Browse job sites and reach out to prominent companies in Florida to get interviews and land your first job. Remember to tailor your resume and cover letter for each application to stand out and improve your chances.
Related Career Transition
Here’s what to do if you’re looking to break into data science and have some relevant career experience:
Acquire the skills: Training for a new career while working full-time can sound impossible but it is doable. Online bootcamps offer students flexible part-time schedules that work around their existing commitments. If you’re in a closely related field, you may also be able to study independently.
Create and expand your portfolio: It’s best to have a comprehensive portfolio to show potential employees. Using your existing network, you can find open-source or freelance work to contribute to this.
Begin your job search: Networking is the most effective way to find a job, so use your connections to find out who’s hiring and get yourself a referral.
Unrelated Career Transition
Follow these steps if you already have a career that’s unrelated to data science:
Acquire the skills: If your current work is outside of the tech industry, you may need some additional training. Online bootcamps are still a great option for this, as most core bootcamps will also offer a foundations course to get beginners up to speed.
Create and expand your portfolio: The easiest way to gain experience and portfolio projects during an unrelated career transition is to utilize open-source and volunteer projects. You can also bid for low-level freelance work on sites like Upwork.
Begin your job search: Just because your former role wasn’t related to tech, it doesn’t mean your former company or industry doesn’t need data scientists. Business acumen is a hugely important skill for a data scientist, so industry knowledge (i.e. retail, banking, hospitality) can help you stand out as a candidate. It also means you can leverage your existing network to find job openings.
What Companies in Florida Are Hiring Data Scientists?
Although some kinds of tech jobs are concentrated in states like California and Texas, data scientists are needed everywhere. Wherever there’s business, there are stakeholders yearning for data-driven insights, and Florida is no exception. Here are some of the big names you can expect to find recruiting in Florida.
American Express is one the most popular credit card providers worldwide, and they need data scientists to help them develop fraud-detecting AI.
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Resort is a popular theme park in Florida, and it relies on data science to analyze and predict customer behavior so that the company can further tailor experiences.
The Walt Disney Company
Disney needs no introduction. But they do need data professionals across a range of different products and departments.
How Can You Get a Data Science Job That Pays a Higher Salary?
Here are some tips to develop your skills and increase your value as a data professional:
Earn a certification
Learn an extra programming language
Get familiar with more data frameworks and machine learning libraries
Be proactive about searching for new roles and promotions
Network within your company and make yourself known
FAQs About Being a Data Scientist in Florida
We’ve got the answers to your most frequently asked questions.
Is data science a good career in Florida?
Data science is a good career wherever you are in the country, but Florida’s strength is its low rate of competition. It doesn’t have the highest salaries in the country or the highest number of tech giants, but there’s still a large number of companies in need of data professionals that have offices there.
Can I get into data science without a degree?
Most data professionals have a bachelor’s degree, but this is becoming less necessary. The tech industry is moving towards removing college degrees as a hard requirement, leaving room for affordable alternative forms of education to take their place.
Is it hard to get a data science job without experience?
You can get an entry-level data science job without prior professional experience, but it is still best to gain as many other kinds of experience as you can. This can include internships, open-source projects, freelance work, personal projects, and volunteer work.