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More than 50 years after the term "data science" was coined, there continues to be a debate about its precise definition and what a career in data science entails.

This debate too often consists of opinions, personal and professional biases, and anecdotal evidence. Surprisingly, very rarely is it backed up by actual data or data with a sample size that is big enough (a data science question in itself).

RJMetrics has just released a first comprehensive report on the state of data science. It is based on millions of LinkedIn profiles and provides definitive answers to many of the questions posed by data science practitioners and aspiring data scientists alike.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • There are roughly 11,400 to 19,400 people who identify themselves as data scientists in the world today.
  • 6,300, or 55%, of identified data scientists are located in the United States, with the United Kingdom, India, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Australia and Israel closing out the top 10.
  • The number of data scientists has doubled over the last 4 years.
  • Over 79% of data scientists that list their education have earned a graduate degree, and 38% have earned a PhD.
  • The majority of data scientists come from STEM graduate-level backgrounds, with Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics and Physics leading the way. However, there are significant differences at the Master’s and PhD levels.
  • The top five skills listed by data scientists are: data analysis, R, Python, data mining, and machine learning.

Read on to see what actual data says about data science.

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Comment by Yevgeniy Slutskiy Meyer on October 13, 2015 at 12:56pm

@ Seth Grimes: the lower and upper bounds presented in this report are based on people with verifiable employment. Specifically, we looked only at those people who are employed by a company known to LinkedIn. We also excluded people who list "data scientist" in their headline, but whose title is "data analyst."

We considered someone listing "data scientist" in their title or headline without being connected to an actual company as being potentially simply aspirational. The same goes for anyone saying they are a "data scientist" when their actual title is "data analyst". Both of these constraints were included to avoid potentially fraudulent data on LinkedIn.

Also, keep in mind that the report is based on data up until June of 2015. That's 4.5 months of additional growth in a field that is growing very quickly.

Comment by Seth Grimes on October 12, 2015 at 5:24am

Actual data? I get 21,636 "data scientist" hits searching just my own Linked network.

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