A data scientist's salary in Australia — what you need to know

A data scientist at work

Data plays a significant role in almost all businesses across Australia. Whether it’s in the form of cyber security, adaptive AI or general sharing of information, data science is an increasingly important discipline that has the potential to revolutionise the way businesses operate.

At the heart of data science is the ability to look at data and draw insights from it — a process that is not always straightforward. Data science, similar to business analytics, involves processing and interpreting data so that it can be used in complex decision-making. And when it comes to making these complex decisions, data scientists are those we turn to.

At the heart of their role, a data scientist supports a business’s understanding of their customers, the optimisation of their operations and helps to inform data-driven decisions that lead to success.

In this article, we’ll take a look at a data scientist’s salary potential, as well as how an understanding of data science can support stronger business decision-making and career success. We’ll also explore how a postgraduate degree can not only increase your earning potential but open up your career prospects as a data science leader.

What can you earn on a data scientist salary?

According to Seek, the average annual data scientist salary in Australia sits between $115,000 and $135,000. Below is a look at several data scientist roles and the median data science salary for each.

How data science skills can advance your career

Data science is a rapidly growing field, and those who decide to complete postgraduate qualifications in the field of data science can have an advantage when considering future career pathways.

According to the National Skills Commission, data science is considered an emerging occupation in Australia, with strong and appealing job prospects, including salary.

An upside to possessing a strong understanding of data science is that career opportunities will not be limited to specific industries, ensuring greater job mobility, the ability to effortlessly adapt your capabilities and can increase your salary prospects.

Huan Vo-Tran, the program lead for the Master of Data Science Strategy and Leadership and a senior lecturer at RMIT Online, talks about the advantages of understanding data science and business strategy.

“Having an understanding of both disciplines — being able to speak the language of business and technical operations — will make a person vital to any organisation. The person who sits between the world of business and the world of tech is in an advantageous position. And I think most organisations, moving forward, will have multiple people in this position.”

How can data science leadership skills boost your earning potential?

Data science and business go hand in hand. Every business creates and relies on data and all data becomes a vital asset for businesses. Having an understanding of data science, how to interpret data and use it to inform business strategy and decision-making is an invaluable asset, in turn boosting your salary by becoming a data science leader.

Some business leaders may find it daunting to deal with data and this is understandable — it can be tiring to analyse large swathes of numbers and charts, trying to make sense of what’s important.

While it’s the job of data scientists to present results in a way that makes sense and is actionable, leaders also need to be curious and ask the right questions. Vo-Tran tells us how.

“As a business person, having expertise in both data and technology can open up new opportunities for leadership roles in a variety of industries,” he says. “With data being a vital asset for businesses across all sectors, understanding how to work with data can enable professionals to easily transition between industries, like pharmaceuticals, healthcare and automotives. This is the power of data science and the opportunities it presents.”

Beyond simply understanding the data, data science leaders must know how to apply the data in order to make informed business decisions.

Vo-Tran has an in-depth understanding of the challenges that can arise when business leaders lack the skills needed to understand and present data effectively to business stakeholders.

“You need someone who can translate the data in a way that all areas of the business can understand. Business leaders are there to make decisions and these decisions directly impact strategy and business operations,” says Vo-Tran.

“But to make these decisions, you need evidence. You don't make decisions on a whim, you make them with evidence-based practice, and this evidence comes in the form of data, where the data has come from and how it’s been analysed. This gives them assurance that the decisions they’re making are correct and based on a solid foundation.”

With the right acumen, data science leaders can make a real business impact. And it comes from not only understanding and interpreting the data but by implementing new ways of using the data to improve the processes that drive growth and success.

What are the core data science skills you need as a business leader?

Some of the key skills for a data science leader include:

  • statistics
  • database management
  • financial analytics
  • consumer analytics
  • data visualisation and communication
  • data science strategy and problem-solving
  • data governance and ethics.

Why learn data science skills as a business leader?

Looking to boost your career prospects and increase your earning potential? RMIT Online’s Master of Data Science Strategy and Leadership degree is a unique, first-to-market program covering both data science and leadership, allowing students the flexibility to move in either direction.

Rather than specialising in simply data science or business, this degree will allow you to acquire a fluency in the languages of both business and tech. And given that data science is a relatively new field, you’ll receive hands-on industry experience as well as a trusted network of cohorts to work alongside as you advance within your career.

“The structure of our program was created in partnership with STEM college to create a tailored program where students learn technical skills before moving into the business component,” Vo-Tran explains.

“We also have industry involvement, where experts from companies such as Amazon and IBM consult with us and advise on the content of our courses. By combining technical skills with business acumen and strategic leadership, our graduates can become data science leaders, assets in a field that is currently in high demand.”

Study with RMIT Online to develop your core data science skills

When it comes to deciding on a postgraduate qualification, all our programs are tailored for flexible, online learning to ensure that accelerating your career doesn’t come at the cost of sacrificing your lifestyle. Our student support teams are also highly adept at providing all-round support and will be there to assist you every step of the way.

To find out more about your future of study with RMIT Online, get in touch with one of our enrolment advisors, or call us on 1300 701 171.