alphadogg writes: In the past several months, large enterprises, staffing firms and universities have observed increasing interest in a new class of data professional — the data scientist. A curious blend of business, analytics and computer skills, this hot new title is on the march in diverse verticals such as energy, e-commerce, healthcare and financial services. And if experts are correct, this is just the beginning. "Companies are becoming so data- and application-centric. They need individuals who can come to the table to model and mine in big data environments," says Laura Kelley, Houston vice president at IT consulting and staffing firm Modis. What sets data scientists apart from other data workers, including data analysts, is their ability to create logic behind the data that leads to business decisions. These hefty responsibilities lead to a commanding salary — $110,000 to $140,000 across the country, Kelley has found.