The Data Scientist Shortage in 2020

A quick update on where the data science talent market is now


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QuantHub started tracking the data science shortage last year. In 2018-2019, we found the shortage of data science and analytics talent to be pretty evident.

Many job boards like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, as well as analytics professional recruitment firms like Burtch Works and Harnham consistently published reports of high salaries and strong job growth for Data Scientists.

It’s been three years since IBM published its famous report The Quant Crunch: How The Demand For Data Science Skills Is Disrupting The Job Market.

In it the company predicted that that analytics roles would increasingly require skills related to big data, data science and machine learning. It warned that the related skill sets would be challenging to recruit for and would become very costly both in terms of salaries and the opportunity cost to companies who could not fill key data science skill sets.

Current Trends in Data Science

However, since the publication of IBM’s report a lot has happened in the world of data science, data engineering, analytics and IT in general.

  • Companies continue to ramp up big data efforts and attempt to make sense of their newly digitized business models and digital revenue opportunities.
  • Data analytics received a major push across global businesses in 2019 as data scientists increasingly partnered with data engineers to streamline data management and normalize the mainstream use of machine learning algorithms.
  • Small businesses are just starting to turn their attention to the potential of data analytics.
  • The Internet of Things is only just beginning to generate a minutia of the data volumes that it is capable of generating.
  • The Cyber Security industry is booming.

All of these developments will require more data science capability.

In light of these trends, everywhere around the world experts from universities to the World Economic Forum to Coursera recognize the need for new data-related skill sets.

Solutions to the Data Talent Shortage

Many solutions that attempt to fill the data science skills gap are in development.

Automation of data-related tasks is the most significant of these. Automated data management, data science and analytics tools and platforms such as Alteryx and DataRobot that facilitate “self service” analytics and automated data science have come on to the scene. Yet, some experts have warned that automation of data science in untrained hands can lead to potential hazards.

The data literacy and “citizen data scientist” movements are also gaining momentum as a way to bridge the skills gap internally.

Companies are studying ways to democratize data science by upskilling and reskilling their employees in the hopes of becoming less reliant on small siloed teams of expensive experts to see a return on investment in data science.

Colleges too have been ramping up their data science and data analytics degree programs, especially at the undergraduate level, bringing a new pool of aspiring and more diverse junior level talent into the market.

Finally, corporations are actively pursuing minorities and women to broaden and diversify their data science recruitment pools.

The Data Scientist Shortage in 2020 Infographic

Is all of this enough to stem the tide that is data science skills demand in 2020? Will we still experience a Data Scientist shortage this year?

When IBM predicted that demand for data scientists would soar by 28% in 2020 were they right?

To answer questions like these, we researched the latest round of statistics and survey results from a variety of sources to put together a picture of where the market for Data Scientists is in 2020. Curious?

Check it out below in our Data Science Skills Shortage 2020 infographic.


Data Science Skills Shortage 2020 infographic

A summary of statistics about the data science job market in 2020