With a large number of federal agencies, think tanks, and educational institutions, Washington, DC is a highly promising area for data scientists. These specialists mine data, develop and deploy algorithms for machine learning, and create visualizations/models that are used in developing public policy.
The District offers both high salaries and a large number of jobs for data scientists. Data scientists working in operations research in the DC area earned the 2nd highest mean salary for this professional classification in the country in 2014 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In addition, jobs for data scientists in this field are among the fastest growing in the greater Washington, DC area according to the DC.gov Department of Employment Services.
DC also had very high concentrations of jobs in other key industries for data scientists (BLS, 2014):
- Highest concentration in the country for data scientists in operations research
- Highest concentration in the country for statistical modeling specialists
- 2nd highest concentration in the country for computer and information research scientists
Data Scientist Starting Salary Ranges for DC
DC’s tech scene has been making waves nationally. For instance, Forbes declared the District of Columbia to be the number 1 new tech hot spot in the country in 2013. The number of tech jobs in DC increased dramatically over the past ten years. According to a 2014 article published by American University Radio, the number of tech jobs in the District grew by 50% during this time frame.
Washington, DC has a highly desirable “Technology Corridor” in the northwestern part of the city starting around 7th Street and New York Avenue and running about three miles to Petworth. Already home to more than 1,000 tech start-ups, local leaders plan to double the capital invested in the city’s tech companies to grow the industry even further.
In addition to talent and an educated populace, DC has a thriving investment community ready to help the city’s companies. According to Price Waterhouse, DC is in the top five areas for venture capitalists.
Starting salaries for data scientists in Washington, DC are substantially higher than the national average as of 2016 according to Robert Half Technology. This tech staffing firm places thousands of jobseekers across the US each year enabling it to provide up-to-date data on starting salaries.
Robert Half’s figures do not include bonuses or relocation compensation. According to the executive recruiting firm Burtch Works, more than 70% of data scientists surveyed reported being eligible for bonuses in 2014, while 91% of their managers reported that they were eligible.
Drawing from research conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Robert Half accounts for geographic variation to provide precise salary ranges for data scientists in the DC area:
- Washington, DC – $145,000 – $205,000
- Arlington, VA – $144,000 – $203,000
- Alexandria, MD – $144,000 – $203,000
- Tysons Corner, VA – $144,000 – $203,000
Salary and Employment Outlook for Data Science Professionals in Washington, DC
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary data for a number of occupational classifications and industries that rely heavily on data science (2014):
- Computer and Information Research Science – $118,390
- Operations Research – $105,990
- Statistical Modeling – $103,960
- Financial Services – $103,420
- Epidemiology/Public health – $103,180
- Survey Research – $85,000
In 2014, the DC metropolitan area had the highest number of jobs in the country for data scientists working in operations research and the 2nd highest number of jobs for computer and information research scientists nationwide:
- Data Scientists in Operations Research – 5,510 employed
- Statistical Modeling Specialists – 3,340 employed
- Computer and Information Research Scientists – 1,730 employed
The DC.gov Department of Employment Services projects that the number of jobs for data scientists in several industries will grow at a much faster rate than the state’s average job growth rate of 7.67% between 2012 and 2022:
- Operations Research – 31.6%
- Financial Services – 20.6%
- Mathematical Science Occupations – 19.79%
- Epidemiology/Public Health – 15.79%
Salaries for Computer and Information Research Scientists in Washington, DC
Shown below is salary information for computer and research scientists in Washington, DC (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014):
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – $171,640
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – $167,780
Salaries for Data Scientists Working in Operations Research in the DC Area
According to salary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2014, data scientists in operations research earned salaries that were 30.8% higher on average than the national average for this profession:
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – $158,260
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – $157,100
Salaries for Statistical Modeling Specialists in the Washington, DC Area
Shown below are salaries for statistical modeling specialists in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria areas of DC and its surrounding states (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014):
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – $131,050
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – $134,580
The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics information shown here reflects salary data for broad occupational classifications that include data scientists. These estimates are expressed as the 90th percentile average to reflect the fact that data scientists are recognized as the top earners within each classification.