From Astrophysics to Data Science


Visualising the career paths of 200 astronomers turned data scientists.

The first in a series of blog posts that explore how and when astronomers transition into data science careers.


The Science to Data Science (S2DS) and Insight Data Science fellowships are 5–7 week intensive post-doctoral training fellowships that bridge the gap between academia and data science in industry. This interactive visualisation was created to get a better sense of what stage in their career astronomers move into data science.

  • How many PhD students forego postdoctoral research in favour of moving straight into data science?

  • How many professional astronomers are moving into data science?

  • At what stage of their career do they do this?

  • How may postdocs do they have on their CV before deciding to leave?

  • Are tenured astronomers moving into data science?

  • How many go through a data science fellowship programs?

  • How many do industry internships?

  • How many go back to complete a Masters in Data Science or other similarly formal data science education?

  • How many make the transition without a data science fellowship? Have any moved back and forth between academia and data science? </p>

  • Why do they move in data science?

The data: comes from the LinkedIn profiles of 116 astronomers who moved from astronomy to data science at some point in their career.

The visualisation: was created using the d3.js sunburst template, HTML, and CSS.