Data scientists are fast becoming the rulers in the kingdom of big data and analytics, with opportunities for cleared data scientists across the U.S.

The demand for data scientists rose 15,000 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to, and it’s still a booming career field. As organizations continue to gather data in greater amounts, they need more then technology to handle it.  They need people to help manage the data, make sense of it and explain it in terms of how the organizations can best use it.

The field of data science is unique, as it generally incorporates a broad range of skills rather than one specialty.  Hiring managers look for well-rounded professionals with a mashup of abilities and backgrounds.  First on their most-wanted list are the standard business analysis and strategy skills, and those in mathematics and statistics.  But linear thinking isn’t their only interest.  Hiring managers are also looking for curiosity and creativity; the ability to spot trends and areas in which change could yield improvement.

Having an active security clearance is at the top of the list for data scientists in government and government contractor jobs. As such, it should be one of the first things on your resume. But the detailed bullet points that also get hiring managers’ attention are those that identify the skills and training that best matches the current demand.

Highlight your technology training

Python is still the most coveted skill, required for almost 40 percent of data scientist jobs.  The top five also include NoSQL, Hadoop, MATLAB, and Apache Pig.

Demonstrate your business savvy

List any work experience in research, logistics, marketing, management and business-related training or jobs.  Include those involving tracking inventory, finding discrepancies and managing operations.

Include your education as you would a skill

Those bullets serve as the hiring manager’s first impression.  Include coursework in computer sciences, physics, mathematics, economics, business administration and statistics. If you have earned a college degree in an applicable field, include it in that summary, then again in more detail in the education section.

Good places to start searching for cleared government data scientist jobs include the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CIA, Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Reserve Bank, State Department and NASA.

Government contractors currently looking for cleared data scientists in the DC region include Bluemont Technology and Research, Inc., Altamira, Giant Oak, Tasc, Inc., Coverent, and L-3 Communications. In Texas, check out Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Booz Allen Hamilton.  In Colorado, Lockheed Martin and the National Institute of Standards and Technology are hiring data scientists, as are BAE Systems and General Dynamics in Florida.

Earnings are good and getting better.  Defense contractors pay cleared professionals anywhere from $81,000 to $120,000, with the national salary average currently at around $115,000.

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Tranette Ledford is a writer and owner of Ledford, LLC, which provides writing, editorial and public relations consulting for defense, military and private sector businesses. You can contact her at: