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Average AI & Data Tech Salary Hits $146K, per O’Reilly

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(Image credit: Andrzej Wojcicki/Getty Images)

BOSTON—O’Reilly’s newly released "2021 Data/AI Salary Survey" report shows that professionals in the hot AI and data tech areas continue to be richly rewarded, with an average salary of $146,000. 

That stands in stark contrast to an SBE 2021 survey that found the average TV chief engineer salary was $77,122 and the median was $70,000.

But the O’Reilly survey found that the average change in compensation over the last three years for AI and data tech professionals was $9,252—an increase of just 2.25% annually.

It also found that “women’s salaries were significantly lower than men’s salaries, equating to 84% of the average salary for men. This salary differential held regardless of education or job title. For example, at the executive level, the average salary for women was $163,000 versus $205,000 for men (a 20% difference).”

The survey also highlighted high levels of interest by these professionals in improving their skills, with 64% of respondents taking part in training or obtained new certifications in the past year to build upon their professional skills and 91% reporting they were interesting in improving their skills. 

The survey revealed that one-third of professionals have dedicated more than 100 hours to training and development, which ultimately led to an average salary increase of $11,000. However, data and AI professionals who participated in one to 19 hours of training only saw an average salary increase of $7,100.

The 2021 Data/AI Salary Survey, which polled 3,136 respondents, gathered salary findings based on gender, education level, job title, and which tools and platforms they work on daily. 

Looking at salary by programming language, the survey found that professionals who use Rust have the highest average salary (over $180,000), followed by Go ($179,000), and Scala ($178,000), O’Reilly reported. 

While Python was most dominantly put to work among survey respondents, professionals who reported using this language earned around $150,000. When comparing salary by tool and platform, respondents who used the most popular machine learning tools saw the following average salaries: PyTorch ($166,000), TensorFlow ($164,000), and scikit- learn ($157,000). 

The highest salaries were associated with H2O ($183,000), KNIME ($180,000), Spark NLP ($179,000), and Spark MLlib ($175,000).

The average compensation was highest in California ($176,000), followed by New York and Massachusetts.

“Our survey reveals just how dedicated data and AI professionals are to advancing their careers through skill development and training. Getting L&D [learning and development] right is crucial for companies to retain and attract top talent in this hot job market,” said Mike Loukides, report author and vice president of content at O’Reilly.

The full report and survey results are available here.  

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.