Data Scientist Salaries in Malaysia: High Demand, High Pay

The modern world runs on data. We work, shop, bank, and even find entertainment online, leaving digital footprints that, in turn, largely influence what we are exposed to – from the ads we are served on social media to the next movie recommendation queued up on our streaming service.

This digitalisation has created a growing demand for skilled professionals who can turn data into powerful insights. At the forefront of this are data scientists, who are the architects of data-driven insights.

Demand for Data in Malaysia

According to a study commissioned by Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC), data-fuelled applications in the global economy are projected to generate US$13 trillion in revenue by 2030.

Malaysia, a burgeoning hub for technological advancements, is expected to contribute significantly to this data revolution. As such, the demand for talent with the right digital skills is also increasing: a study supported by Google found that 65% of Malaysian employees consider digital skills the most important for the workforce today. And, MDEC predicts that demand for tech talent will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.59% per year until 2026.

Does the Data Science Industry in Malaysia Pay Well?

So, what is the average data scientist salary in Malaysia? According to a job listing on Michael Page, a lead data scientist in Malaysia can earn between RM180,000 and RM300,000 per year – with the opportunity to progress even further up the career ladder.

With plenty of room for professional growth, combined with increasing demand, data scientists in Malaysia who excel can expect a well-paying career.

Factors That Affect Data Scientist Salaries in Malaysia

1. Experience

Entry-level positions, such as data analyst or junior data scientist, may start on the lower end of the salary spectrum. As you accumulate experience and specialise in areas like machine learning or big data analytics, your value and, consequently, your earning potential per month, significantly increase.

2. Industry

The demand for data science skills varies across industries. In Malaysia, the services sector is expected to contribute 64% of total data-driven spending, with the banking and telecommunications sectors contributing nearly a third of this figure. Meanwhile, high-tech industries and multinational corporations such as oil giant Petronas might offer premium salaries due to the strategic importance of data analytics in decision-making and gaining a competitive advantage.

3. Location

The cost of living and the concentration of tech industries influence salary structures. Bigger cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Johor Bahru generally offer higher salaries to reflect demand and cost of living. Location plays a role, but it's important to remember that remote work opportunities are becoming increasingly common in the data science field, allowing you to explore various options regardless of your physical location.

Data Science Salaries in Malaysia by Experience Level

The ladder of data science roles in Malaysia offers a broad spectrum of salaries, reflecting the diverse expertise needs and opportunities within a given field. Starting from junior positions and moving up to senior roles, the salary ranges rise according to experience level and job title.

Role / Job Title

Salary (Per Annum)

Experience / Seniority

Junior Data Analyst


Entry level

Senior Data Analyst

RM96,000 - RM156,000

Mid-level to Senior

Business Intelligence Consultant

RM108,000 - RM144,000

Mid-level to Senior

Data Engineer

RM144,000 - RM240,000

Mid-level to Senior

Data Scientist

RM144,000 - RM240,000

Mid-level to Senior

Machine Learning Engineer


Mid-level to Senior

Data Architect

RM180,000 - RM300,000

Mid-level to Senior

Lead Data Scientist

RM180,000 - RM300,000


Data Analytics Manager

RM240,000 - RM360,000


Chief Data Officer

RM480,000 - RM780,000


Sources: indeed, Robert Walters, Salary Expert, Michael Page

1. Junior Data Analyst (Entry-level)

Fresh graduates embarking on their data science journey can expect an average salary of around RM41,654 per year as a Junior Data Analyst. This role often requires basic skills in data processing, data analysis, and data visualisation, and serves as a stepping stone to more advanced positions.

2. Mid-Level to Senior Data Analyst 

With extensive experience and a deeper understanding of data analysis, Mid-level to Senior Data Analysts can earn around RM96,000 to RM156,000 per year. These professionals handle more complex analyses and often mentor Junior Data Analysts.

3. Business Intelligence Consultant

With a focus on converting data into actionable business insights, these professionals can expect to earn between RM108,000 and RM144,000 annually. This role requires a blend of data-handling skills and business acumen.

4. Data Engineer

Data Engineers specialise in designing, building, and managing a company's data architecture, and are crucial in preparing data for analytical or operational uses. Their salaries range from RM144,000 to RM240,000 annually, depending on the complexity of the systems they work with and their expertise in data processing technologies.

5. Mid-Level to Senior Data Scientist

These experts have years of experience and a proven track record of delivering impactful data-driven solutions. They are pivotal in strategic decision-making, innovation, and leading data science teams. In Kuala Lumpur, they can earn an average of between RM144,000 and RM240,000 per year.

6. Lead Data Scientist

The Lead Data Scientist is a managerial position that involves overseeing data science projects, mentoring Junior Data Scientists, and strategically contributing to the company's data-driven decision-making process. For this leadership role, the salary of Lead Data Scientist varies depending on the company size and industry. For example, one job posting offered between RM180,000 and RM300,000 per year for the right candidate.

7. Machine Learning Engineer 

As professionals focusing on designing and implementing machine learning models, Machine Learning Engineers command an average annual salary of RM170,956. This role requires deep knowledge of algorithm development and the ability to work with massive data sets.

8. Data Architect

A Data Architect designs and manages a company's data architecture, ensuring that data solutions are scalable, sustainable, and secure. They work closely with Data Engineers, but focus more on the blueprinting of data environments, the integration of data sources, and the governance of data standards. In Malaysia, the salary for a Data Architect can be between RM180,000 and RM300,000 annually.

9. Data Analytics Manager

As the leader for a team of analysts, Data Analytics Managers head the tasks of extracting, managing, and interpreting large data sets to drive decision-making processes within an organisation. A Data Analytics Manager typically earns between RM240,000 and RM360,000 per annum, depending on the size of the team, the complexity of the projects, and the industry or sector they are in.

10. Chief Data Officer 

The Chief Data Officer is a C-suite executive responsible for a company's data governance, data management, and data utilisation strategy. Given the top-tier strategic importance and the broad scope of responsibilities, Chief Data Officers in Malaysia can command highly impressive salaries ranging from RM480,000 to RM780,000 annually, though this can vary greatly with the size and data maturity of the organisation.

These roles highlight the evolving landscape of data science careers, each with its distinct focus but all crucial in harnessing the power of data to drive business success. The salary ranges indicate the value placed on data expertise in Malaysia, reflecting the critical role these professionals play in today's data-driven economy.

The salaries cited in this article are accurate at the time of writing.

Master Data Science, Master Your Career

The field of data science in Malaysia offers promising career prospects, with salaries reflecting the high demand for skilled data professionals. As such, aspiring data scientists and data professionals are well-positioned for a personally and professionally rewarding career.

Before launching into this career pathway, equipping yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge is vital. Sunway University Online offers a fully online Master of Data Science programme with a comprehensive and industry-relevant curriculum that delves into areas such as data visualisation, data mining, statistical analysis, and big data management

By mastering data science and its myriad applications, you will not only gain access to a lucrative career path, but also contribute to shaping the future of various industries. Visit our programme page or connect with our Education Counsellors to learn more about how you can embark on your data science journey.