Our world is increasingly data-driven. Consequently, all sectors of our society need professionals who can gather and analyze vast amounts of structured and unstructured data, making sense of it and helping organizations make better decisions. That’s the data scientist’s role.

When it comes to questions about a data scientist’s salary, California inevitably comes up. After all, digital science is an Information Technology (IT) discipline, and when people talk about cutting-edge technology, many think of Silicon Valley.

But the California IT job market is more than just Silicon Valley. This article explores the overall picture of the data scientist salary in California. We’re not talking just about Silicon Valley but the entire state, calling out factors such as metropolitan areas, top companies, years of experience, and related careers.

So, let’s see why California is a great landing place for the aspiring data scientist professional looking to secure a good compensation package.

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Data Scientist Salary Satisfaction

Before we get into hard numbers, we should mention salary satisfaction and how professionals in the field view their compensation. The good news is, according to Indeed, 68 percent of data scientists surveyed are satisfied with their salaries and consider them appropriate income for their area’s cost of living.

The Average Data Scientist Salary in California

Indeed shows that the average data scientist salary in California, not allowing for any variances such as experience level or geography, is currently $166,247. But this doesn't tell us the entire story; instead, it's a reliable baseline to employ as we factor in other details..

Data Scientist Salaries by Years of Experience

Many mitigating factors affect salary. The time a digital scientist has worked in the field strongly influences asking wages. This situation makes sense because no one will pay a fresh-faced newbie with experience that can be measured in months with a high-powered, experienced candidate that has been doing the job for a decade.

This compensation is a textbook "You get what you pay for."

Indeed reports that entry-level (less than a year’s experience) digital scientists can expect an average of $140,594 annually. On the other hand, a digital scientist with at least three years of experience can earn $191,569, almost a 40 percent boost!

Data Science Starting Salary Ranges

Speaking of entry-level positions, let’s look at the starting salary ranges for data scientist starting positions covering the primary metropolitan areas as of mid-2022.

Eureka Area

  • Eureka: $80,849 

Fresno Area

  • Fresno: $85,162

Los Angeles Area

  • Los Angeles: $140,000 – $197,000
  • Ontario: $128,000 – $180,000
  • Santa Ana: $121,000 – $171,000

Sacramento Area

  • Sacramento, Fairfield: $111,000 – $157,000
  • Yuba City: $84,000 – $119,000

San Diego Area

  • Irvine: $140,000 – $197,000
  • Riverside: $89,000 – $125,000
  • San Diego: $134,000 – $189,000 

San Francisco Bay Area

  • Fremont: $132,000 – $186,000
  • Oakland: $138,000 – $195,000
  • San Francisco: $150,000 – $212,000
  • Vallejo: $111,000 – $156,000 

San Jose Area

  • Fremont: $132,000 – $186,000
  • San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale: $147,000 – $208,000

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Data Scientist Salaries in Metropolitan Areas in California

Here is a sample of data scientist salaries in a selection of California’s metropolitan areas, as determined by Indeed. These are annual averages and are subject to fluctuations in demand and the applicant's experience level.

  • Anaheim: $121,806 per year
  • Berkeley: $78,014 per year
  • Eureka: $95,601 per year
  • Fresno: $100,700 per year
  • Irvine: $115,059 per year
  • La Jolla: $99,054 per year
  • Long Beach: $176,506 per year
  • Los Angeles: $167,921 per year
  • Menlo Park: $115,883 per year
  • Mountain View: $155,914 per year
  • Palm Springs: $100,488 per year
  • Palo Alto: $151,513 per year
  • Sacramento: $185,262 per year
  • San Diego: $120,033 per year
  • San Francisco: $127,845 per year
  • San Jose: $106,410 per year
  • Santa Barbara: $120,451 per year
  • Santa Clara: $163,836 per year
  • Sunnyvale: $166,103 per year

Incidentally, the following California metropolitan areas have the greatest concentration of data scientists compared to the rest of the nation:

  • San Jose
  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego

Key Industries for Data Science Careers

Here are the ten industries that offer the most data science jobs in 2022:

  • BFSI (this stands for Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance)
  • Media and Entertainment
  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • Telecommunications
  • Automotive
  • Digital Marketing
  • Professional Services
  • Cybersecurity
  • Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction

Top Companies for Data Scientist Careers

Although it's good to know which industries best support the data science field, getting specific destinations is better. So, in the spirit of a better deal, here are the companies that offer the best data scientist salaries in California in 2022, starting with the highest paying.

  • Intuit: $212,359 per year
  • Stitch Fix: $211,286 per year
  • Proofpoint: $203,510 per year
  • Walmart: $201,612 per year
  • Wish.com: $193,316 per year
  • Meta: $191,757 per year
  • Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E): $189,403 per year
  • eBay: $185,774 per year
  • Comcentric: $182,145 per year
  • Airbnb: $179,173 per year
  • Apple: $178,904 per year
  • Zachary Piper Solutions: $177,198 per year
  • IDC Technologies: $176,174 per year
  • Genentech: $173,708 per year
  • Pinterest: $172,494 per year

A Sample of Salaries for Data Scientists Working in Operations Research

Operations research (alternately called OR) is an analytical method that deals with decision-making and problem-solving in organizational management. The last reported survey of salaries shows the following:

  • Bakersfield/Delano: $149,330
  • Los Angeles/Long Beach/Glendale: $121,450
  • Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana: $120,710
  • Oakland/Fremont/Hayward: $146,680
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks/Ventura: $97,040
  • Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario: $119,680
  • Sacramento/Arden-Arcade/Roseville: $94,040
  • Salinas: $166,050
  • San Diego/Carlsbad/San Marcos: $181,720
  • San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont: $151,810
  • San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City CA Metro Division: $153,860
  • San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara: $165,510
  • Santa Ana/Anaheim/Irvine CA Metro Division: $119,350
  • Santa Barbara/Santa Maria/Goleta: $127,490
  • Santa Cruz/Watsonville: $135,750
  • Santa Rosa/Petaluma: $122,590

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Data Scientists Working in the Field of Computer and Information Research Science

The computer and information research science field find innovative uses for new and existing technology. Data scientists in this field study and solve complex computing problems for business, science, medicine, and others.

  • Los Angeles/Long Beach/Glendale CA Metro Division: $180,230
  • Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana: $182,050
  • Oakland/Fremont/Hayward CA Metro Division: $162,630
  • Oxnard/Thousand Oaks/Ventura: $139,330
  • Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario: $171,350
  • Sacramento/Arden-Arcade/Roseville: $184,780
  • San Diego/Carlsbad/San Marcos: $141,930
  • San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont: $164,920
  • San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City CA Metro Division: – $166,050
  • San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara: $187,199
  • Santa Ana/Anaheim/Irvine CA Metro Division: $187,199
  • Santa Barbara/Santa Maria/Goleta: $147,840

Salaries for Statistical Modeling Specialists

Statistical modeling specialists work closely with clients during the development and implementation phases of empirical, score-based, and statistical models to offer high-quality statistical modeling support. These specialists also collect, organize, and analyze a wide variety of data to support modeling work and answer any client business model questions.

  • Los Angeles/Long Beach/Glendale CA Metro: $127,500
  • Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana: $126,020
  • Oakland/Fremont/Hayward: $150,290
  • Oxnard/Thousand Oaks/Ventura: $122,270
  • Redding: $120,530
  • Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario: $116,310
  • Sacramento/Arden-Arcade/Roseville: $115,270
  • San Diego/Carlsbad/San Marcos: $175,120
  • San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont: $165,590
  • San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City CA Metro Division: $168,920
  • San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara: $187,199
  • Santa Ana/Anaheim/Irvine: $123,630

The Story of Paid Skills and Qualifications for Data Scientists

These are the data science skills and qualifications that pay the best:

  • Cloud Architecture
  • DevOps
  • CI/CD
  • Microservices
  • Performance Marketing
  • Martech
  • 5G
  • Distributed Systems
  • SAP ERP
  • Linguistics

Now, compare the above list to the following, which are areas of knowledge that data science professionals typically have a strong command:

  • Statistics
  • Big data
  • Model development and deployment
  • Software engineering
  • Deep learning
  • Communication
  • Data visualization
  • Programming
  • Data analytics
  • Data analysis and manipulation‌

So, for the best salary results, data scientists should have a solid foundation in the list shown immediately above, then expand into the disciplines outlined in the first list.

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A Sampling of Data Science-Related Jobs

Here are some career opportunities that relate to data science:

  • Data Analyst
  • Business Analyst
  • Junior Data Scientist
  • Data Scientist I
  • Technology Program Analyst
  • Statistician‌

If you're just starting in the field, consider one of these challenging entry-level positions:

  • Data Scientist Intern
  • Junior Data Scientist Apprentice
  •  Analytics Intern
  • Machine Learning Research Intern‌
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How to Become an Expert Data Scientist

If you are intrigued over the prospect of kicking off a new career in data science, or you're currently a data scientist who is contemplating a move, you should consider boosting your data science and data analysis related skills. We mentioned the skills and qualifications that can enhance any salary offer for a data science position, and conveniently, we're presenting two excellent sources of data science-related skills.

Simplilearn’s Data Scientist master’s program is an IBM-sponsored course that offers unique hackathons, masterclasses, webinars, and Ask-Me-Anything sessions. The online training gives you hands-on experience with technologies like R, Python, Machine Learning, Tableau, Hadoop, and Spark. Use this master’s course to improve your knowledge, including live interaction with other practitioners and Machine Learning Engineers.

Additionally, you can explore the Caltech Data Science Bootcamp in conjunction with IBM and Simplilearn. The program covers vital Data Science topics like Python programming, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, R programming, and Data Visualization tools through an interactive learning model with live sessions by global practitioners and practical labs. Designed for working professionals, the program includes masterclasses led by distinguished Caltech instructors and IBM experts, with exclusive hackathons and Ask Me Anything sessions held by IBM.

These are just two excellent courses that Simplilearn provides for aspiring data scientists. There are plenty of other resources available for you to benefit from.

So please don’t put it off; check out Simplilearn today and get your start on a new data science career, or lay the groundwork for exchanging your current position for a more rewarding one!

About the Author

John TerraJohn Terra

John Terra lives in Nashua, New Hampshire and has been writing freelance since 1986. Besides his volume of work in the gaming industry, he has written articles for Inc.Magazine and Computer Shopper, as well as software reviews for ZDNet. More recently, he has done extensive work as a professional blogger. His hobbies include running, gaming, and consuming craft beers. His refrigerator is Wi-Fi compliant.

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  • *According to Simplilearn survey conducted and subject to terms & conditions with Ernst & Young LLP (EY) as Process Advisors