Data Science Positions

I have received several emails from students asking about Big data jobs in the U.S. as well as the skill requirements. Today Data Science or Big Data is one of the hottest careers in the technology industry due to the explosion of multiple types of data, both structured and unstructured from the Internet, mobile and all the electronic devices.

Data Science field has grown significantly during the last decade; therefore, the skills started to be more specific. Typically, college graduates with a Bachelor’s degree often start as a Data Engineer or the person who manages data infrastructure and tools, who know how to collect, organize, store and get results from these vast amounts of data. Data analytics position usually requires a Master’s degree where the graduates have strong analysis skills using statistics and machine learning. A Data Scientist is often associated with a Ph.D. level where the main focus is on research and predicting trends.

Image: Internet

I searched several jobs posting from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon and come up with a general description as follows:

A typical Data Engineer position requires graduates to:

  1. Have knowledge of distributed computing systems, know how to manage a Hadoop cluster, with all its services.
  2. Proficiency with Hadoop v2, MapReduce, HDFS and ability to solve issues with operating the cluster
  3. Good knowledge of Big Data querying tools, such as Pig, Hive, and Impala
  4. Experience with NoSQL databases, such as HBase, Cassandra, MongoDB
  5. Experience with Spark and integration of data from multiple data sources
  6. Knowledge of various ETL techniques and frameworks, such as Flume
  7. Experience with various messaging systems, such as Kafka or RabbitMQ
  8. Experience with toolkits, such as Mahout, SparkML, or H2O
  9. Experience with Cloudera/MapR/Hortonworks
  10. Experience with building stream-processing systems, using solutions such as Storm or Spark-Streaming

Currently (Sep 2018), there are 6,500 open positions in Silicon Valley (I only focus here since I can access some job posting). Position range from Data Engineer, Data Analyst, and Data Scientist.  Annual salary for Data Scientist: $125,000 to $210,000. Data Analyst: $110,000 to $145,000 and Data Engineer: $95,000 to $120,000. Those are all entry levels for recent graduates. Silicon Valley probably has more positions than other cities such as Seattle, Boston, New York even the cost of living is also higher.

Due to the high demand and shortage of workers, companies like Apple, Google, IBM, Ernst, and Young will NOT require a college degree, assume that applicants have these skills that they acquired outside of traditional universities (MOOCs or some tutorial online.) A Vice President of Google, Mr. Laszlo Bock has declared: “When you look at people who don’t go to school and make their way in the world, those are exceptional human beings. And we should do everything we can to find those people.”


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University

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