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Big data is the future of business in practically any sector. As machine intelligence becomes increasingly sophisticated, business owners have more valuable and actionable data than ever before, and it’s data scientists that serve as the brains of these operations. Big data allows physicians to better serve the needs of their patients, advertisers to more accurately target their primary demographics, and major corporations to glean incredibly meaningful insights from their practices across all of their departments.

The data science revolution is far from new, and it certainly hasn’t gone without acknowledgement. The Harvard Business Review claimed that data scientist was “the sexiest job of the 21st Century” as far back as 2012. But the demand for data scientists continues to significantly outstrip the demand. A recent study by IBM determined that the number of data scientists will need to increase by 28% by 2020 to meet the needs of the economy, but many experts believe that this is far too conservative an estimate. Since 2016, the number of job listings that include the terms “data science” or “data scientist” are increasing at a staggering rate. While part of this is simply due to the increasing demand for data science positions, it’s a highly likely possibility that the need for data scientists was masked by a flaw in how we define the role. In 2016, many of the positions that fall under the umbrella of data science were defined as “data analysts”.

A statistical analysis of business trends show similar patterns. Despite some notable but largely seasonal peaks and valleys in the global market, openings for data scientists have been increasing at a steady rate since 2016. Analysis took into account 5,000 different companies to see how many openings they had for data scientists. In 2016, this number sat at practically zero, but 2019 saw a need for over 3,000 data scientists for many months, and this steady increase in demand shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.

But the demand is just one vector in the situation. Just as important is the pedigree of businesses looking for data scientists, and the most in demand companies are a who’s who of some of the world’s biggest players. They include tech giants like Apple and Facebook, titans of retail like Walmart, and IT consulting companies like Booz Allen Hamilton. The long and short of it is that data scientists are going to be needed everywhere, and a qualified and knowledgeable candidate with experience in data science will have a lot of leverage for who they choose to work for.