The data scientist's guide to thriving in a remote work world

September 20, 2023

Data scientist working remote

Source: Frame Stock Footage/Shutterstock

The data science market is increasing demand for talent as investment increases exponentially

It's probably never been a better time to be a data scientist. And we don't need to be shy when trying to predict the growth of this market because we are talking about billions here. 

According to the latest report from Markets and Markets, the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for the data science platform market is forecast to grow by 30% from 2019 (USD 37.9 billion) to 2024 (USD 140.9 billion).

Without a doubt, this tremendous jump will increase the demand for talent. And, of course, in our actual scenario, more hiring also means more remote data science jobs

"Data Science is the sexiest job in the 21st Century."
Harvard Business Review

  1. Want a remote data scientist job? Then research these areas to find opportunities
    1.1. Top sectors
    1.2. Emerging startups
    1.3. Follow the money: IPO's and the chance to get hired
  2. What skills do you need as a remote data scientist?
    2.1. Learn soft skills to succeed in an asynchronous environment
        2.1.1. Communication leads to collaboration
        2.1.2 Combining leadership with technical expertise is key
  3. How much can I earn working remotely?
    3.1. The average data scientist salary in the USA
    3.2. Top skills that lead to higher pay
  4. What do I need to work remotely?
    4.1 Set up your work environment 
    4.2. Remember those soft skills? Well, you will need them
    4.3. Be aware of data science trends
    4.4. Do not overestimate your productivity 
    4.5. Learn more about other cultures
    4.6. It is your home office, not your office home
  5. Let us help you go remote

Want a remote data scientist job? Then research these areas to find opportunities

Top sectors

Using data from Pitchbook, we gathered and analysed the top data science niches of data science ranked by the total capital invested.

Technology, Media, and Telecoms have received the most investment, followed by Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning.

Chart showing investment into Data Science

One of the exciting things about seeing this whole picture is that it allows all data scientists to start thinking about opportunities in less known sectors like Agtechs and Oncology.

The health sector was the home of the largest data science acquisition. Livongo, a platform capable of detecting diabetes, was bought by Teladoc Health for $13.94 billion in 2020.

The investment shows the potential opportunities for data scientists outside traditional big tech firms, like the FAANG companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google).

Emerging startups

The startup environment is attractive for junior and senior data scientists. Keeping on top of trends and emerging companies opportunities in the data science field can help you land a remote job.

Below you can see the top startups most likely to fundraise soon. This scenario can lead to more investment and job openings as these organisations scale and increase employee headcount.

As of Nov 2021, dotData grew the fastest, with 69.49% growth over 7 months. Instabase does not lag far behind on 57.44%. The only one that showed a regression was Progressa, as their headcount reduced by 9.09%.  


Follow the money: IPO's and the chance to get hired 

We can not forget to mention the opportunities to be found as companies move closer to going public. WeWork is a good example, as its IPO can bring more investment and hiring activity

After deciding to delay entering the stock market, the shared office company seems ready to go public. Their technology department is undoubtedly one of the main functions that will look to hire. WeWork's app is an indication that the investment in developers and data scientists will be a sure thing to happen.

What skills do you need as a remote data scientist?

senior data scientist womanSource: Frame Stock Footage/Shutterstock

Learn soft skills to succeed in an asynchronous environment

Naturally, you will need a range of technical expertise. This may include python, data cleansing, analysis, and forecasting. A senior data scientist may also be expected to demonstrate skills in AI and machine learning.

These are a given whether working in the office or remotely. It is soft skills that will enable you to thrive as a remote data specialist.

Communication leads to collaboration

Mastering soft skills, such as solid communication and leadership, is critical for the senior data scientist of today and tomorrow.

They are expected to lead often and communicate complex technical subjects to others clearly and concisely. And this undoubtedly gets more challenging over Microsoft Teams or Zoom 

A senior data scientist is someone capable of behaving like a mentor within the data team. They are the most capable of learning new things faster and with the highest level of responsibility within a project.

Combining leadership with technical expertise is key

With this in mind, it is common sense that the highest-paying data science jobs belong to science leaders who combine technical data science practice with communication skills.

To progress in the role remotely will require developing skills beyond business analysis. Of course, you will need your technical talent, but you will also need to explain what the data means and how it can lead to innovation and commercial gain.

How much can I earn working remotely?

Using data from Payscale, we were able to generate reports from four cities that are big metropoles outside the traditional tech hub of Silicon Valley in California.

  • Toronto, Canada
  • Houston, Texas, USA
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • London, UK

Here are the average salaries that you could earn working remotely in these locations.  


The average data scientist salary in the USA

When reviewing the average salary in the American market for a data scientist, the number increases to $142,796. This is biased towards Silicon Valley, where the talent pool is most in-demand – and the cost of living is equally high. It will be interesting to see how these figures change as data scientists migrate to areas with a lower cost of living.

Usually, the aura surrounding the tech scene in the United States focuses on the Bay Area and Big Tech. However, the increase in remote work has seen more talent move to hotspots like Texas, Miami and New York. There has also been an increase in workers moving to more remote locations and dialling in.

You don't need to limit yourself to the salary level of your regional market. Going remote is an excellent way to look at new professional horizons and no longer impedes career options. Employers are increasingly advertising vacancies as remote.  

Top skills that lead to higher pay

We can also find the top skills that will reflect an increase in your salary. Using data from Houston, we can see higher wages being paid to data scientists with skills in natural language processing (NLP).


What do I need to work remotely?

Set up your work environment 

It is not because your bed is just centimetres away that your place needs to look so different from a professional office. Instead, try to build a space that stimulates your concentration and bring you the necessary comfort.

An ergonomic chair and a suitable table are essential items for the best possible use of your time without compromising your health.

Other items that obviously cannot be missed are good internet speed and standard communication accessories such as a quality microphone and camera. After all, you will be working from home, not hiding in a nutshell. 

Remember those soft skills? Well, you will need them

As we already discuss, soft skills are essential for the maturity of a data scientist's career. Moreover, when you start working from home, developing, and using these skills are necessary for collaboration and communication with the data team to be effective and healthy.

Be aware of data science trends

Every organisation wants someone who knows best practices and stays alert to data science trends. Master the rules, develop a critical perspective, and be aware of trending data science platforms that your peers and the market are using, like Anaconda, Alteryx and Azure.

Trends can change, but today these are the current topics that will help you excel in your remote data science career. 

  • Language pre-trained models for natural language understanding and generation (BERT, GPT-3...);
  • Different neural network architecture;
  • Work with compliance data trends (General Data Protection Regulation).

Do not overestimate your productivity 

It is not good to get carried away by assumptions about your performance. Unfortunately, we can often have a false impression that we are working too much or too little. That's why it's crucial to have a way to monitor our productivity during working hours.

Today there are many project management apps capable of helping us keep things on track. Trello and Asana are two of those that will work perfectly for your remote data scientist routine.

Learn more about other cultures

Want to go global? Then it would help to prepare yourself and experience other cultures and diverse work environments.

We are increasingly connected from different places, so teams working remote tend to be quite diverse. You need to understand how important it is to maintain this plurality for a better work environment. Uniqueness tends to point to greatness.  

It is your home office, not your office home

You've probably already come across some content on the web about "burnout". Well, the truth is that if there is so much content, it is because this stress effect is becoming more frequent, especially when remote work is in evidence.

Take care of your physical and mental health, and don't let work take over your home. Manage your time and do not skip that deserved break; this makes the difference in productivity and well-being.

Let us help you go remote

Airswift has an extensive database of global companies looking to hire data scientists.

Altogether, we are more than 60 offices around the globe with more than 9,000 contractors. And we support a range variety of sectors such as technology, energy and infrastructure.  

We work with organisations worldwide, and here's your chance to be hired as a remote professional. Take the next step towards your career.

Upload your CV

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This post was written by: Raphael Santos, Content Marketing Coordinator