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Data scientist wanted: Must have Python, spontaneity not required

Review of job ads pins average salary at £47k

The average salary offered to data scientists in the past year was £47,000, with Python being the most desirable programming language, according to an analysis of job ads.

The assessment, carried out by listings site Joblift, looked at 8,672 data scientist vacancies posted in the UK over the last 12 months.

It found that data science salaries have increased at 3 per cent a month, which is a percentage point higher than the UK job market as a whole.

They are also promised higher salaries than the national average wage of £28,600. More than half bagged £50,000 or more, while just 7 per cent were offering one less than £30,000.

That price tag is perhaps to be expected, given the shocking news that London dominated the job market. Some 53 per cent of roles were offered in London, which was almost 13 times higher than second-placed Cambridge and 16 times more than third-placed Manchester.

Unsurprisingly, candidates were also expected to have spent some time in higher education: 1,342 said applicants should have a Masters degree and 849 called for a PhD.

When it came to skills, the most in-demand was knowledge of programming systems, which came up in 83 per cent of postings (7,198). Python was the most popular, mentioned in 6,334 adverts.

Knowledge of Statistical Analysis Software was listed in 1,456 adverts and the ability to work with unstructured data was requested in 563.

Communication was the top of the soft skills list, with 1,517 mentions – and after that the most-used terms were the suitably nebulous "analytical mindset" (1,451 mentions), passion (984), dedication (714) and confidence (623).

Few companies, however, felt that being caring or empathetic, assertive or spontaneous were necessary attributes for data scientists, with eight, six and five mentions respectively. ®

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