Data Scientist: Still the Best Job in America?

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Glassdoor just published its annual list of the best jobs in America, and technology-related roles dominated the top slots.

Data scientist came in first, with a job score of 4.8 (out of 5), a job satisfaction rating of 4.4 (also out of 5), and a median base salary of $110,000. DevOps engineer placed second, with an identical base salary and nearly the same job score and job satisfaction ratings. Rounding out the top three was data engineer, with a median base salary of $106,000, a 4.7 job score, and a job satisfaction rating of 4.3.

(In terms of methodology, Glassdoor determines a job score by weighing three factors: earning potential, overall job satisfaction rating, and number of job openings.)

Other technology jobs that made the list included analytics manager (in fifth), database administrator (in seventh), UX designer (in ninth), and software engineer (in sixteenth). Mobile developers placed twenty-sixth, just ahead of systems administrators in twenty-seventh place.

Last year’s Glassdoor list also placed data scientist in first, and jobs such as mobile developer and analytics manager also did well. It’s not shocking that data-science jobs would continue to rank so highly, as businesses continue to face enormous challenges in storing and analyzing data. Nor is the need for data scientists restricted to huge firms such as Facebook and Netflix; even smaller companies need the competitive advantage that a well-trained data scientist, armed with the right datasets, can provide.

For example, Walmart has a “Data Café” at its Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters that swallows up petabytes of transactional data and spits out insights that allow managers to quickly adjust store practices. The company can use that data to figure out in a matter of hours why a particular product isn’t selling as well as expected. Data science doesn’t live in a world of pure abstraction; it can lead to losses (or savings) of millions of dollars per quarter.

And although the past few years have seen a rise in the number of sophisticated data analytics platforms with easy-to-use dashboards, there’s still a pressing need for data scientists with the advanced skill-sets necessary to glean valuable insights from raw data. Those sorts of highly specialized jobs require workers with a Master’s degree or PhD in data science, machine learning, or statistics, in addition to lots of experience; no wonder that data scientists can demand a premium with regard to salaries and perks.

With tech unemployment hovering at around 2.9 percent, tech pros of all disciplines with the right mix of skills and experience can land similarly high salaries—one key reason why tech jobs are filling lists such as this new one from Glassdoor.

Image Credit: boonchoke/Shutterstock.com

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