As of 2014, Utah was home to an exceptionally high concentration of data scientists working in the area of computer and information research science according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- Statewide, 5th highest concentration in the country
- Ogden-Clearfield had the 6th highest concentration of any metropolitan area in the country
That year there were 680 data scientists working in the area of computer and research information science statewide. Nearly 40% of these scientists were employed in the Ogden-Clearfield area, and statewide, more than half worked for the federal government.
Data scientists working in the areas of operations research and statistical modeling are also noteworthy in the state, but for a different reason. The number of jobs for data scientists in both of these roles is expected to increase at a rate that is at least 1.3 times faster than the national rate of growth for these professions during the ten-year period leading up to 2022 (The Utah Department of Workforce Services, 2014):
- Operations Research – 41.4%
- Statistical Modeling – 44.4%
Data Scientist Starting Salary Ranges for Utah’s Biggest Cities
Although Forbes listed Salt Lake City as number 7 on its 2013 list of America’s new tech hot spots, Utah boasts a long-term, highly established tech industry. For example, investors valued the company Qualtrics—a maker of customer analytics software—at more than a billion dollars in 2013. Started in Provo in 2002, this company has offices on three continents.
Prominent articles on Utah’s powerhouse tech scene include a 2014 article in Inc. called “Move over Silicon Valley: Utah has arrived” and a 2015 New Yorker article titled “How Utah became the next Silicon Valley.”
In its 2014 article, Inc. analyzed Utah’s venture capital offerings in 2013 on the basis of the average dollars per deal. Provo-Orem came in at number one in the country with an average of $51.3 million per deal, while Salt Lake City-Ogden came in at third—second only to San Francisco.
Starting salary ranges for data scientists in Utah were exceptionally high for Salt Lake City in 2016 according to Robert Half Technology. This tech staffing firm places thousands of jobseekers throughout the country, enabling it to provide detailed salary information for data scientists. These salary figures do not include bonuses or relocation assistance.
Nearly two-thirds of corporate firms offered full relocation assistance to their employees in 2011 according to the 45th Annual Corporate Relocation Survey conducted by Atlas Van Lines. Considering the sizable increase in demand for data scientists in recent years, this figure is likely to be even higher today. New employees benefit from these offerings, too, since more than half of the relocations in 2011 were new hires.
Drawing from research by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Robert Half accounts for geographical variation throughout Utah to provide accurate and up-to-date salary expectations for data scientists in the state:
Salt Lake City Area
- Salt Lake City: $110,000 – $155,000
- Ogden: $82,000 – $116,000
- Clearfield: $82,000 – $116,000
- Provo: $86,000 – $121,000
- Orem: $86,000 – $121,000
- Junction: $67,000 – $95,000
- St. George – $67,000 – $95,000
The NSA’s Massive Data Center in Bluffdale
Wired first broke the story in 2012 that the NSA was building a heavily fortified $2 billion data center in Bluffdale to analyze unprecedented amounts of data in a 1 million square foot data storehouse. The data center’s databases captures the complete contents of cell phone calls, private emails, and Google searches along with data trails such as parking receipts and bookstore purchases.
However, this facility is way more than just a data center: its data scientists have the software to examine encrypted data ranging from foreign military and diplomatic secrets to stock transactions. The Utah Data Center will provide the long sought ability for the NSA to capture the secrets of the deep web.
Data collected from secret monitoring rooms in telecom facilities across the US, eavesdropping satellites from the NSA, and overseas listening posts is now readily available for data mining, codebreaking, and analysis by counterterrorism experts at the agency’s Fort Meade headquarters and throughout the world.
The amount of information analyzed by the Pentagon is staggering. The Department of Defense reported in 2007 that the Pentagon is attempting to expand its Global Information Grid to handle yottabytes of data. A yottabyte equals 1024 bytes of data and takes the concept of big data to a whole new level. The analysis of such huge volumes of data should greatly enhance US intelligence activities.
Computer and Information Research Scientist Salaries in Salt Lake City and Ogden
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, data scientists working in the area of computer and information research science in Salt Lake City earned considerably more than those in the Ogden-Clearfield area as of 2014:
- Ogden-Clearfield – $96,430
- Salt Lake City – $139,660
Salaries for Data Scientists Working in Operations Research in Utah’s Major Cities
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provided a detailed analysis of the salaries for data scientists working in operations research in the major metropolitan areas of Utah as of 2014:
- Ogden-Clearfield – $106,870
- Provo-Orem – $114,450
- Salt Lake City – $119,690
Salaries for Statistical Modeling Specialists in Provo-Orem and Salt Lake City
The median salary among data scientists working as statistical modeling specialists in Provo-Orem was nearly 50% higher than for those in Salt Lake City according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2014 report. A full analysis is shown below:
- Provo-Orem – $137,590
- Salt Lake City – $101,180
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.