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KDnuggets Home » News » 2021 » Jul » Opinions » Relax! Data Scientists will not go extinct in 10 years, but the role will change ( 21:n26 )

Platinum BlogRelax! Data Scientists will not go extinct in 10 years, but the role will change


About 70% of KDnuggets readers think that the demand for Data Scientists will increase, and 50% think it will increase significantly. At the same time, over 90% think the role of Data Scientist will change. What will the Data Scientist role be in 10 years?



Inspired by a recent blog Data Scientists Will be Extinct in 10 Years, our latest poll asked:
What will the demand for Data Scientists be in 10 years? Will Data Scientists be extinct?

Over 3,800 people took part in the poll - much more than in previous polls, with high participation driven by the obvious interest in the question.

About 50% of respondents said the demand will increase significantly, 20% thought it will increase somewhat, while only 6.6% said it will decrease significantly. See the results in Fig. 1.

Poll 2021 Demand Data Scientist 10yrs
Fig. 1: Demand for Data Scientists in 10 years - KDnuggets Poll

However, besides increased demand, KDnuggets readers also expect change. Over 90% of respondents said that the role of the Data Scientist will change:
  • Change a lot: 54%
  • Change somewhat: 37%
  • Remain about the same: 8.6%
Data Scientist Role in 10 Years?
Fig. 2: What will be the Data Scientist role in 10 years?

Will the Data Scientist of 2031 be more of a unicorn, be mainly a data engineer, focus on data labeling, or be something else entirely?

We don't know, but considering how many changes happened in AI/ML/Data Science field in the last 10 years (Deep Learning, Cloud Computing, Transformers, AlphaZero, GPT-3, GANs, etc) there is a good chance that the next 10 years will bring even more change.

For a brief trip back in the time, check Top KDnuggets Stories in 2011.

Who responded to KDnuggets Poll?
  • Industry / self-employed, 53%
  • Student, 29%
  • Academia, 5.1%
  • Government / non-profit, 5.1%
  • Unemployed, 4.5%
  • Other, 4.0%
We note that this poll had a lot more students than previous polls, where student participation was about 15%.

Was the optimism about demand for Data Scientists driven only by students?

Actually, no. We combined Industry and Government, and charted the responses for 3 largest groups in Fig. 3. While higher percentage of students (54%) expected big increase in demand for Data Scientists than Industry (49%) or academia (45%), the overall distribution is quite similar - see Fig. 3.

Poll 2021 Demand Data Scientist in 10 years by Employment Type
Fig. 3: Expected Demand for Data Scientists in 10 years vs Employment Type

Finally, we examine the geographic distribution of poll participants:
  • Asia, 55%
  • US/Canada, 17%
  • Europe, 14%
  • Africa/Middle East, 5.8%
  • Latin America, 4.6%
  • Australia/NZ, 3.7%
In Fig. 4 we compare the responses for the 3 largest regions: Asia, Northern America, and Europe.

KDnuggets Poll 2021: Demand for Data Scientists in 10 years by Region
Fig. 4: Expected Demand for Data Scientists in 10 years vs Region, for Asia, Europe, and US/Canada

We note that Asian KDnuggets readers have the highest share (55%) of those who expect demand for Data Scientists to increase significantly in 10 years, followed by US/Canada (44%), and Europe (40%). On the other hand, among those who expect only modest increase, The Europeans lead with 27%, followed by US/Canada (21%), and Asia (18%). Among those who expect the demand to decrease, the response rates are much lower and similar across the regions.

So what do you expect the role of Data Scientist to be in 10 years?

Let us know in the comments.

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