Illinois as a whole, and the Chicago area in particular, have been identified as providing unprecedented access to high paying data science jobs. Even the United States Department of Labor took notice of how employers here offer some of the best job opportunities and salaries for data scientists in the nation.
For example, as of 2014
- The Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI Metropolitan Division was among the top ten highest paying metropolitan areas for statistical modeling specialists in the country. Data scientists working in this area within this region earned an average annual salary of $105,200.
- The Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL Metropolitan Division was among the top ten metropolitan areas with the highest employment level for data scientists in computer and information research science nationwide. The region was home to roughly 650 of these data science professionals that year.
Starting Salary Ranges for Data Scientist in Illinois’s Major Cities
Illinois prides itself on being a national leader for science and technology research and development, making it an ideal state for data scientists to gain the confidence and experience needed to land high powered, high paying jobs. In 2016, data scientists working in Illinois’ major cities earned an annual starting salary between $80,000 and $190,000 on average.
According to the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, the thriving tech base is largely attributed to the state’s elite research centers, international institutes, and innovative laboratories including:
- Argonne National Laboratory
- Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
- National Center for Supercomputing Applications
- Gas Technology Institute
- National Center for Food Safety & Technology
- USDA National Center for Agriculture Utilization Research
In 2015, the commercial real estate mega-firm CBRE named Chicago as the 5th largest and 11th most rapidly growing technology market in the United States. And it’s easy to see why. The entire region encompassing Chicago known as the Technology and Research Corridor is home to tech businesses, scientific institutes, government agencies, logistics companies, colleges and universities, and big name international firms like Microsoft, McDonald’s, BP and Toyota.
Illinois’ institutions of higher learning are adding to the state’s tech-centric vibe by offering over a dozen master’s degree programs in data science and other closely related disciplines like business analytics.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s determination to keep talented data science students close to home long after graduation resulted in one of his pet projects, the ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza competition. The annual event provides an opportunity for advanced tech and computer science students to rub shoulders with locally based data analytics startups like Uptake Technologies.
Forbes named Uptake Technologies “2015’s Hottest Startup.” The firm employs a staff of over 300 data scientists, engineers, and designers.
The following starting salary ranges for data scientists in major cities throughout Illinois are provided courtesy of Robert Half Technology, a prominent IT staffing firm. All salary data is derived from the firm’s job placement activities for data scientists in recent years, and does not factor in additional income from bonuses or other incentives.
- Chicago: $134,000-$189,000
- Naperville: $122,000-$172,000
- Joliet: $122,000-$172,000
- Bradley: $82,000-$115,000
- Springfield: $99,000-$140,000
- Decatur: $98,000-$139,000
- Peoria: $108,000-$153,000
- Normal: $105,000-$148,000
- Bloomington: $109,000-$154,000
- Champaign: $92,000-$130,000
- Urbana: $92,000-$130,000
- Danville: $83,000-$117,000
Other Major Cities
- Rockford: $90,000-$128,000
- Aurora: $122,000-$172,000
- Elgin: $122,000-$172,000
Data Science Salaries in Illinois by Industry
In 2014, the United States Department of Labor released the following salary estimates to provide a brief overview of the pay data scientists in various industries in Illinois can expect:
Computer and Information Research Science
Healthcare and Public Health/Epidemiology
Data Science Salaries in the Area of Operations Research in Illinois
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides an analysis of salaries for data scientists working in operations research in the major regions of Illinois as of 2014. Data scientists in operations research in the Lake County-Kenosha County area earned a substantially higher average salary than those in other parts of Illinois:
- Bloomington-Normal – $120,220
- Champaign-Urbana – $92,710
- Chicago-Joliet-Naperville IL Metropolitan Division – $133,470
- Chicago-Joliet-Naperville – $134,350
- Lake County-Kenosha County IL-WI Metropolitan Division – $139,630
Salaries for Statistical Modeling Specialists in Illinois
In 2014, the United States Department of Labor reported that statistical modeling specialists working in Illinois earned:
- Chicago-Joliet-Naperville IL Metropolitan Division – $114,370
- Chicago-Joliet-Naperville – $119,520
- Lake County-Kenosha County IL-WI Metropolitan Division – $143,910
Salaries for Data Scientists Working in the Area of Computer and Information Research Science Throughout Illinois
Data scientists specializing in the area of computer and information research science working across the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville district earned comparable salaries according to findings published in the United States Department of Labor’s 2014 report:
- Chicago-Joliet-Naperville IL Metropolitan Division – $124,200
- Chicago-Joliet-Naperville – $124,050
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 90th percentile averages to reflect the fact that data scientists are recognized as the top earners within each classification.