Should You Pursue a Career in Data Science in Florida?

By  //  May 2, 2022

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Data science is one of the most interesting careers out there. If you have any interest in computers, math, statistics, data mining, algorithms, data visualization, statistics, or just coding, you should consider a career in data science.

The State of Florida has over 15,000 job openings in various data science fields, according to LinkedIn data. And with tropical beaches, palm trees, and lots of sunshine, Florida is an attractive state for anyone.

But is moving to Florida for a data science job worth it, or are there other better places to land a data science job? That’s what we’ll attempt to answer in this article.

How is a Data Scientist Different From a Data Analyst?

Data analyst and data scientist are often used interchangeably, but they’re technically two distinct positions.

An analyst is a person who collects and analyzes data in order to make predictions. Analysts are responsible for creating reports, charts, or infographics. Their core skills are more on visual communication, but their process includes knowing how to communicate a lot of different data points to clients in a clear, concise manner.

A data scientist, on the other hand, is a person who is responsible for creating data models, algorithms, and machine learning to gather the data in the first place. Without data scientists, there would be no analysis of the data.

That’s a simplification of the comparison between data analyst vs data scientist, but it’s a good idea to understand that a data scientist is responsible for the heavy lifting in the data analysis process. They’re typically not responsible for visuals, but instead develop the tools for data analysts to use.

Data Scientist Salary versus Florida’s Cost of Living

According to various sources, the average national income of a data scientist is around $96,000 – but in Florida, this hovers at around $76,936. The lowest 10% in Florida earn $57,000, whereas the top 10% earn $102,000.

This is compared to Florida’s average cost of living of $43,615 per year, according to MERIC data. The Bureau of Economic Analysis broke it down into the following graph:

 Housing and Utilities: $9,255

Health Care: $6,675

Food and Beverage: $3,693

Gas and Energy Goods: $580

All Other Personal Expenditures: $23,412

Housing prices also vary throughout the state of Florida. The average cost of a home in Miami-Fort Lauderdale is around $375,082, whereas in Melbourne it’s a mere $94,248 – of course, cheaper housing areas may have less employment opportunities, and higher crime rates.

Of course, the data science field is considered one of the most remote-friendly professions. Depending on the company you’re applying for, there’s good odds you won’t be required to regularly come into the office. Meaning you can choose where to live in Florida, whether it’s a coastal house along Cedar Key, or a farmhouse in rural Northeast Florida, and not worry about a daily commute.

It should be noted that according to Zippia, Florida ranks the lowest for data science careers in terms of average salary compared to the rest of the nation. Traditionally speaking, Florida has had a lower cost of living than the rest of the country, and wage increases are slow to catch up.

Nevertheless, you can still make more than $100,000 a year, and only a few states have lower cost of living than Florida. While the salary may be behind the rest of the nation, the lower cost of living and tropical vibes make Florida a great place to live for a data scientist who works remotely during the week, and surfs on the weekend.