An article published by WVXU Radio in 2015 heralded Kentucky as a national leader in using data science to improve the criminal justice system through data-driven programs like Public Safety Assessment (PSA)-Court. Data scientists contributing to this program work to mine data, develop and deploy algorithms for machine learning, and create data visualizations with the end goal of establishing protocols for comprehensive, universal risk assessment of criminals in the court system. But this is just one of hundreds of applications and dozens of industries in Kentucky that employ data scientists.
As the state’s public and private sector employers have come to rely more heavily on data science, starting salaries have been increasing as a result of employers competing for top talent amidst a shortage of skilled professionals in the field.
Starting Salary Ranges for Data Scientist in Kentucky’s Major Cities
Kentucky continues introducing new technology-driven initiatives to stimulate more high-salaried data scientist jobs in the state. In the past, Kentucky’s limited broadband capabilities stymied the growth of tech jobs, startup companies, and educational institutes to thrive here. In 2014, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Kentucky was ranked #42 for broadband availability. In response, the commonwealth created KentuckyWired, an initiative that will produce a $324 million open-access optical fiber network giving affordable, high-speed broadband technology to every county in the state. In turn, new businesses that employ tech professionals such data scientists are expected to spring up, and already existing ones are sure to expand.
In addition, state industry leaders like the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation (KSEF) are helping to funnel millions of dollars into Kentucky-based research and development businesses through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The SBIR and STTR programs award federal grand funds to small tech businesses, innovators, and entrepreneurs in the state that may otherwise fail. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the SBIR and STTR allotted 2.7 million to nine companies based in Louisville and Lexington, including:
- Advanced Energy Materials LLC
- Innovative Diagnostics Inc.
- Advanced Genomic Technology LLC
- Mercury Data Systems Inc.
- TwinStar TDS LLS
- Pyrochem Catalyst Co.
- MEMStim LLC
- Gen9 Inc.
- nGimat LLC
Louisville, one of the top-paying cities for data scientists, particularly stands out as an emerging tech hub in Kentucky. In 2015, the Technology Association of Louisville KY (TALK) hosted its first TechFest festival, a semiannual festivals that features workshops, trade shows, guest speakers, and conferences intended to promote a more tech-conscious community focused on discovering new tech talent, professional education, and future innovations. Events like TechFest not only identify Louisville a tech center in Kentucky it also provides the perfect opportunity for data scientists to gain the exposure needed to access high paying positions.
IT staffing agency, Robert Half Technology, pulled salary information from its many job placements to provide starting salary ranges offered to data scientists in Kentucky’s key cities. Salary statistics are only base rates and do not account for bonuses or other incentives.
- Lexington: $100,000-$141,000
- Fayette: $91,000-$128,000
- Middletown: $106,000-$150,000
- Louisville: $100,000-$141,000
- Elizabethtown: $83,000-$117,000
Bowling Green Region
- Bowling Green: $79,000-$112,000
- Owensboro: $84,000-$119,000
Other Notable Cities
- Covington: $106,000-$150,000
- Ashland: $90,000-$127,000
- Richmond: $90,000-$128,000
Salaries for Data Scientists in Kentucky by Occupation and Industry
The United States Department of Labor released the following salary data for data scientists in Kentucky according to area of specialization and industry classification (2014):
- Mean: $77,160
- Median: $76,600
- 75th Percentile: $90,700
- 90th Percentile: $107,400
- Mean: $71,810
- Median: $67,600
- 75th Percentile: $89,400
- 90th Percentile: $107,000
Financial Services Industry
- Mean: $65,810
- Median: $58,700
- 75th Percentile: $78,000
- 90th Percentile: $97,900
Healthcare and Public Health
- Mean: $54,970
- Median: $54,000
- 75th Percentile: $64,400
- 90th Percentile: $72,400
Salaries for Data Scientists in Operations Research in Kentucky’s Major Cities
As of 2014, data scientists in operations research in Elizabethtown earned a substantially higher average salary than those working in Kentucky’s other major cities according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Bowling Green – $107,110
- Elizabethtown – $121,220
- Lexington-Fayette KY – $112,260
- Louisville-Jefferson County – $100,270
Salaries for Statistical Modeling Specialists in the Louisville-Jefferson County Area
The Louisville-Jefferson County region is the largest metropolitan area in Kentucky, even spreading into parts of Indiana. In 2014, this highly populated district employed more statistical modelers than the entire state of Kentucky. According to the United States Department of Labor, the 140 statistical modelers that worked in the Louisville-Jefferson County area earned an average annual salary of $79,520, while the 90th percentile earned the following:
- Louisville-Jefferson County – $104,680
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 salaries to reflect the fact that data scientists are recognized as the top earners within each classification.