Rexer Analytics Data Science Survey Highlights

Regression, Decision Trees, and Cluster analysis remain the most commonly used algorithms in the field, R continues to ascend, job satisfaction remains high, but customer understanding still needs improvement.

I know how much work it is to conduct KDnuggets Software Polls (which only have a a few questions), so I appreciate that a lot more work goes into Rexer Analytics Data Science surveys, which have many more questions.

Rexer 2015 Data Science Survey The Rexer Analytics team did a great in-depth analysis of the survey and the results of the latest 2015 Survey are available.

Over 1,200 analytic professionals from 72 countries participated.

Here are some highlights.
  • CORE ALGORITHM TRIAD: Regression, Decision Trees, and Cluster analysis remain the most commonly used algorithms in the field.
  • THE ASCENDANCE OF R: 76% of respondents report using R. This is up dramatically from just 23% in 2007. More than a third of respondents (36%) identify R as their primary tool.
  • JOB SATISFACTION: Job satisfaction in the field remains high, but has slipped since the 2013 survey. A number of factors predict Data Scientist job satisfaction levels.
  • DEPLOYMENT: Deployment continues to be a challenge for organizations, with less than two thirds of respondents indicating that their models are deployed most or all of the time. Getting organizational buy-in is the largest barrier to deployment, with real-time scoring and other technology issues also causing significant deployment problems.
  • JOB TITLES: The term "Data Scientist" has surged in popularity with over 30% of us describing ourselves as data scientists now compared to only 17% in 2013.

What I also found striking in the analysis of Analytics Goals of respondents, is how little they changed between 2013 and 2015. If 45% were working on improving understanding of customers in 2013, I was hoping that they managed to improve it in 2 years, but 46% were working on it in 2015. Perhaps it is an artifact of options available in the survey.

Rexer 2015 Analytic Goals
Fig. 1: Top 10 Analytic Goals in Rexer 2015 Data Science Survey.

Here is a very nice chart showing algorithms usage.

Rexer 2015 Algorithms Fig. 2: ALGORITHM USAGE ( Most of the time, Often, Sometimes, Rarely) from Rexer 2015 Data Science Survey.

We note that these results generally match recent KDnuggets Poll on Top 10 algorithms and Methods used by Data Scientists, with Regression, Clustering, and Decision Trees being the top 3 algorithms used in both.

You can download the full Rexer 2015 Data Science survey at