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New Year’s Reflection on the 2023 Data Science Job Market

January 19, 2024

Ringing in the New Year: Reflecting on the 2023 Data Science Job Market and Embracing 2024’s Opportunities

Well, Christmas has come and gone and so has another year.  And as we turn the page on 2023 and busy ourselves with all the New Year’s resolutions we’ll ultimately abandon in a couple of weeks, there is no better time than now to take stock of the year that was, particularly as it relates to the data science jobs market.

Those following this blog will know that I have been scraping and collecting North American data science related job postings since August.  I’ve been detailing some of those findings in an attempt to satiate my own curiosity, and perhaps the curiosity of others, who like me, want to know what the data science jobs landscape looks like from month to month and what it might look like in the future.

So, after 5 months, and as we step into the new year, I figured it’s the perfect time for a bit of a recap. Let’s take a casual stroll down the 2023 data science job market memory lane and uncover what has happened to date. It’s been quite the ride, and I’m here to share all the juicy details and trends that have kept this job market buzzing. Let’s dive into what the last year had in store for us in the world of data science jobs.

How Many Jobs Were There for 2023?

I think it’s first important to note just how many data science jobs have been posted since August. 

Looking at the data:

  • There have been 31,029 data science related jobs
  •  The average number of jobs per month after 5 months is 6,206

But as we have seen in previous blogs, monthly job postings have fluctuated.  August started red hot, before cooling off significantly.  The number of postings mostly rebounded in October and November, albeit with some slight fluctuation, while December showed very little holiday cheer as its numbers nose dived.  December basically said Bah Humbug to anyone searching for a data science job.  

In all fairness, this was to be expected.  Not as many companies are prioritizing new postings at the end of the year in the midst of the holiday season.  So, we’ll have to see if things return to normal in January.

Let’s Get A Little More Specific

In this blog, data science jobs are distinguished across four types: Data Analytics, Data Science, Data Engineering, and Machine Learning Engineering. As we look at the postings for these job types individually, we see that a similar trend conforms to the overall general pattern established above.

This is one major thing I would like to point out here.  In my first blog I had made several predictions and one of which was that we would see the number of Machine Learning Engineering posts rise relative to the other three positions.  I figured this would be a natural consequence of the AI explosion and that the demand would begin to be reflected in the number of Machine Learning Engineering posts.  Granted, it would take a little time, but I believe that’s what we are beginning to see.

In the months prior November, MLE jobs always had the fewest number of postings.  November however marked the first time that these postings overtook data engineering postings and now December marks the second straight month this has occurred.

You can see from the chart below that since August:

  • MLE jobs postings have increased 2.26% compared to the other 3 job types
  • Data Engineering jobs have decreased by pretty much the same amount (2.27%)
  • Data Analyst and Data Science positions have basically stayed the same

It will be interesting to see how much more MLE posts continue to increase and for how long because they will continue to increase.

Looking at the Top 10 Cities for 2023

Those who have been reading this blog will know, I like to look at which cities have the greatest number of data science job postings.  Tracking this has been very interesting, and in my previous blogs it appears that Toronto is fast becoming the largest jobs provider.

If we just take the sum total of postings since August, Toronto finds itself in second behind New York, but just barely, followed by Washington, San Francisco and Seattle.  Actually the difference between first and second is only 11 job postings, New York having 914 and Toronto totalling 903.

However, these overall numbers do not take into account the overall push Toronto has made as of late and the slight, yet steady decline of the New York market.  

It’s worth noting that:

  • Toronto has never finished less than fourth in the ranking, but… 
  • By October Toronto had certainly found it’s dominant stride, finishing as the largest monthly jobs poster for three consecutive months
  • In the ensuing months, New York now finds itself in fourth place for the month of December
  • Seattle is also making its way up the ranks on a definite upward trend
  • The extent of which cannot be overlooked having gone from sixth in September to second in December
  • Washington has also been very consistent fluctuating between the second and third position each month

In the graph below you can see just how close the difference was between Toronto and Seattle for the largest number of postings.  Given this very small difference, it will be interesting to see when the January numbers come in.  Might Seattle end Toronto’s three week reign?

You can also see how those postings broke down by job type for this month.  With that in mind, I also wanted to provide you with the ten largest markets for each job type specifically.

Top 10 Data Analyst Job Markets for 2023

If we’re looking at largest markets for Data Analysts a lot of the usual big market cities will be there.  However a couple of additional, surprising cities make the list; namely Arlington and Indianapolis.  In fact, Indianapolis had the second highest data analyst postings for December!

Top 10 Data Science Job Markets for 2023

Looking at the top 10 data science job postings, we have the usual suspects with one obscure sounding inclusion, that of McLean.  Well, my first thoughts were where is McLean and why would it make the top ten.  Looking into it, McLean is a small unincorporated town in Fairfax County, Virginia, not far from Washington DC. McLean is particularly interesting  because it has a high concentration of influential people, such as ambassadors, senators, and CIA agents.  Interesting.  I’ll leave it at that.

Moreover, look once more at Toronto, finishing no less than second in data science job postings for the last three months, while Washington managed to snag the top spot.

Top 10 Data Engineering Job Markets for 2023

When you look at the graph below, it looks as if this position has fluctuated the most, with wild ups and downs between cities and their rankings.  But ultimately, Washington seems like it has been the most consistent city when it comes to DE postings.

You will also note the inclusion of McLean once more here as well as Plano, Texas, which is essentially a suburb of Dallas.  Consequently, when you take that into account and add it with Dallas, that particular part of Texas seems to be hiring quite a bit of data engineers relative to other parts of North America.

Top 10 Machine Learning Engineering Job Markets for 2023

And finally we have the largest MLE markets.  I have to say, this job position has essentially been dominated by Silicon Valley and the surrounding area.  This is best demonstrated by Cupertino’s inclusion in this list and it’s holding the number one spot for the last two months.  Cupertino is where Apple is headquartered and is known as one of the founding cities of Silicon Valley.  We can also see the prominent placement of San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale.  In short, big tech and Simi Valley are hiring machine learning engineers. 

Being from Toronto, I can’t help but give it a shout out for coming in either third or fourth in the last three months.

What About Salary in 2023?

Looking at the numbers more generally, the average salary for a data science position, (including all four job types) is $101892.  Thankfully this amount has remained consistent throughout the five months of data collection.

In fact, with the chart below, we can see how consistent and reliable the salary captures are across quantile ranges.

Top 10 Salary Cities for 2023

When looking at the top salaries, I do so by looking at the top 10 cities with respect to job postings.  My thinking was that because these cities yielded the most number of postings, the salary numbers would be the most reliable.  

To no surprise, we see San Francisco and Seattle as having the two highest average salaries.  It’s unsurprising because these two cities have ranked first and second every month I have looked at them.  It is also no surprise because they are primarily hiring machine learning engineers and data scientists, which, as we will soon see, are, on average, the two highest paying jobs.

Also, it’s quite revealing to see the list that emerges when we set a threshold of at least 200 job postings before examining the average salary for each job type. It is a list essentially dominated by Big Tech, occupying 6/7 top spots, no doubt because they are all busy hiring machine learning engineers.

Despite its significant volume of job postings, Toronto does not even feature in the top 10 list.

Salary By Job Type for 2023

In past blogs, I have always compared the average salary for each job type for Toronto with the North American average for each job type, and I always exercise a significant amount of caution because Toronto salaries are very difficult to obtain.

In fact, for Toronto job posts:

  • there are only 124 jobs specify compensation out of 903 posts
  • only 14 percent of postings have been able to obtain a provided salary
  • Data scientist jobs are especially hard to obtain – 6% capture rate

This is in contrast to the rest of the North American market where:

  • the number of salaries captured is: 12391
  • the total number of jobs is: 30126
  • the percentage of jobs that have a salary is: 41
  • This percentage is pretty even across all job types

Having said that, I’ll show you the year end North American numbers, which are more reflective of what we would expect to see.

They are as follows:

  • Data Analyst: $73749
  • Data Engineer: $110034
  • Data Scientist:  $114527
  • Machine Learning Engineer:  $131804

The Biggest Hiring Companies of 2023

Starting off with North America, Apple has led the way all year, or at least since August when job postings were first being collected.  It’s essentially tripled the field when it comes to postings.  This top 10 is also marked by some other big tech players – Amazon and Google.  You also have some companies tied to US government agencies – Booz Allen Hamilton and Lockheed Martin, as well as some financial institutions – Deloitte and Capital One.

For Toronto, TD Bank has been open for business all year, amassing the most job postings and doing so on a consistent monthly basis.  And looking at the year end company posts, Toronto is a city very much preoccupied by financial/banking services as Scotiabank and the Royal Bank of Canada come in third and fourth place with the number of postings.  I would also lump Ernest and Young, Jerry and Afterpay, which provides assurance, consulting, strategy and transactions, and tax services, into that list.

In addition Jerry and Afterpay have also exhibited staying power, having first appeared on this list when the data began to be collected in August.

Some relatively new additions however are Experfy and Arthur Grand Technologies are new to the list, providing technology consulting Services 

And with that….

Five, four, three, two, one….

Countdown to Insights: Wrapping Up 2023 with a Toast to the Future of Data Science

As we turn the final pages of 2023’s data science job market story, a moment of reflection naturally accompanies the closing of one year and the dawn of another. This year’s exploration has woven a narrative rich with insights, from the vibrant job market in Toronto to the notable rise in Machine Learning Engineering. Like the bright lights of a New Year’s Eve celebration, this year-end review highlights the dynamic shifts and key trends in the tech world, setting the stage for what 2024 might bring in this exciting field.

The trends and shifts we’ve seen in job postings, salaries, and the key players in the market are more than just numbers on a spreadsheet. They’re like signposts on the road, guiding us to what lies ahead in the ever-changing world of data science. Think of this analysis not just as a look back at the year gone by, but as a roadmap, highlighting the paths and possibilities that await us in this field.

So, as we raise our glasses to welcome 2024, let’s carry forward the curiosity and eagerness to delve deeper.  Let’s all try to keep that New Year’s resolution. So, here’s to a year of new discoveries, uncharted territories in data science, and the endless possibilities that data can unveil. May the data be ever in your favor and…..

Happy New Year!!

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