Back in 2013, high-tech firms in Missoula realized that a major shortage of skilled data science professionals was slowing efforts to put Montana in the global arena of international technology. As a result, geoanalytics company GCS Research encouraged the University of Montana to create a course on IBM’s InfoSphere Streams program. One year later, the Kauffman Foundation ranked Missoula #5 leader in high-tech startups. As Montana continues to foster ideal conditions for high tech companies to thrive, data science workers will gain greater access to high salaried jobs.
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In 2014, the United States Department of Labor had already identified Montana one of the best places for data science professionals to find jobs and reap great salaries. In fact, the Southwestern Montana nonmetropolitan area was the fourth highest paying non-metro area for data scientists in financial services in the country. The region’s 50 data scientists in the financial services sector earned an average annual salary of $99,070.
Starting Salary Ranges for Data Scientist in Montana’s Major Cities
In 2015, the Kauffman Foundation announced Montana as the country’s #1 state for entrepreneurship. However, tech firms are struggling to recruit the number of data scientists and other skilled IT workers needed to facilitate an expanding tech industry. As a result, employers are not only offering six-figure salaries, but additional perks including bonuses, gym memberships, and complimentary meals to vie for the tech talent candidates in the state.
Tech firms at the forefront of the competitive hiring for tech workers in Montana include SoFi, Workiva, Advanced Technology Group, and Helix Business Solutions, which all recently opened offices in Montana despite having headquarters located in outside states.
In 2015, the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research conducted a survey among members of the Montana High Tech Business Alliance, which indicated that manufacturing and high-tech firms statewide were developing at a rate eight to ten times faster than the state average. Survey results also revealed that these firms paid employees roughly $50,000 on average, twice the median wage in Montana.
Yet, 2016 findings by Robert Half Technology, a well-established tech recruitment and solutions firm, reported that data scientists in Montana were typically offered average starting salaries anywhere between $67,000 and $128,000 on average.
Data scientists interested in snapping up these tremendous salary offers may find high paying jobs in Missoula and Gallatin counties, as these locations house the highest concentration of high-tech firms in the state. Data scientists working throughout cities in these counties, such as Bozeman and Missoula, earn at least $75,000 on average.
Robert Half technology determined the following data scientist salary ranges by looking through past job placements. These 2016 salary figures are strictly base pay amounts and are not adjusted to include bonuses and other incentive-based pay:
- Missoula: $78,000-$111,000
- Great Falls: $76,000-$107,000
- Bozeman: $76,000-$107,000
- Billings: $91,000-$128,000
- Butte: $78,000-$111,000
- Helena: $67,000-$107,000
- Kalispell: $78,000-$111,000
- Havre: $76,000-$107,000
- Miles City: $91,000-$128,000
- Anaconda: $78,000-$111,000
- Gallatin: $76,000-$107,000
Salary Profiles for Data Scientists in Montana by Industry
Here are average salaries for data science jobs by industry and role throughout Montana in 2014 (United States Department of Labor):
Salaries in Montana for Data Scientists in Operations Research
According to the United States Department of Labor, data scientists in operations research working in the Southwestern Montana nonmetropolitan area earned an average annual salary of $64,920
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.