“A data scientist is a person who should be able to leverage existing data sources, and create new ones as needed in order to extract meaningful information and actionable insights. These insights can be used to drive business decisions and changes intended to achieve business goals… ‘The Perfect Data Scientist’ is the individual who is equally strong in business, programming, statistics, and communication.” [1]

“Data Scientists identify complex business problems whilst leveraging data value. They work as part of a multidisciplinary team with data architects, data engineers, analysts and others.” [2]

“Universities can hardly turn out data scientists fast enough. To meet demand from employers, the United States will need to increase the number of graduates with skills handling large amounts of data by as much as 60 percent.” [3]

[1] From: What Is Data Science, and What Does a Data Scientist Do?

[2] From: Data Scientist Career Pathways in Government

[3] From: Data Science: The Numbers of Our Lives, The New York Times

Data Science Careers in the Public & Nonprofit Sector

This page includes some examples of career paths and professional opportunities at the intersection of data science, public policy, and nonprofit sector work. It is not meant to be an active list of the most current opportunities, but rather provide some examples of how to marry your interests in technology, analytics, and public service for a meaningful career.



Nonprofits, governments, foundations, and think-tanks are actively seeking people with data science training to work as policy analysts, evidence-based managers, chief data officers, or evaluation specialists.

The UK Government has put together a nice overview on data science career paths in government.

A new section of USA Jobs highlights data science career paths in the US Federal Government:

Data Science Roles in Federal Government

Federal Government Examples

  • Inside Obama’s Stealth Startup [ link ]
  • Why I Joined the US Digital Services [ link ]
  • Five Examples of How Federal Agencies Use Big Data [ link ]
  • AI Initiatives in the Federal Government [ link ]

Local Government Examples

  • A Day in the Life of a Chief Data Officer [ link ]
  • Data-Driven City Management [ MIT case study ]

Graduate Student Fellowships:

Job Growth for Data Programming

Example Job Boards:

Data Science Communities

R Communities

Conferences [ link ] R Open Science [ link ]
R Open Government [ link ]
R Ladies [ link ]

Professional Networks

Ford Foundation: Public Interest Technology [ link ]
Bloomberg Foundation: What Works Cities [ link ]
GitHub’s Government Team [ link ]
Nonprofit Open Data Collective [ link ]

Data Journalists, Bloggers & Civic Groups

Trend CT [ link ] [ github ] [ style guide
Todd Schneider [ blog ] [ github ]
I Quant NY [ blog ]
ChartsNThings: A Blog by the NYT Graphics Dept [ link ]
Data for Democracy [ link ] Justice Media Co-Lab at Boston University [ overview document ] [ stories ]

Blogs and Listservs

R-Bloggers [ link ]
R Weekly [ link ]
Stack Overflow [ link ]
Flowing Data [ link ]

Data Science Podcasts

Data Points by GovEx [ link ]
Partial Derivative [ link ]
DMV Nation [ link ]
Becoming a Data Scientist [ link ]
Data Stories [ link ]
Talking Machines [ link ]
Not So Standard Deviations [ link ]
Data Skeptic [ link ]
More Or Less [ link ]
Linear Digression [ link ]
R-Podcast [ link ]

Professional Training

Example Data Science Courses in Schools of Public Affairs and Journalism

Degree Programs

Training Opportunities in Government

  • Datapolitan [ link ]
  • San Francisco [ link ]
  • New York [ link ]
  • Department of Commerce [ link ]
  • Health and Human Services [ link ]