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Sept. 29, 2019, 3:13 p.m. EDT

The ‘best job in America’ pays over $108,000 a year — and has a high number of openings

This analysis is based on median salary, overall job satisfaction and the number of job openings

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By Quentin Fottrell, MarketWatch


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Data scientists and software developers receive more than $100,000 a year on average and are each ranked No. 1 by two separate reports.

Most people want to find a job that gives them more money, but they also want to be happy.

It’s the $108,000 question: How can you have both? Is there a job out there that gives you a six-figure income, high job satisfaction and has enough job openings to make it a real possibility? As unemployment hovers a 49-year low, it’s a question worth asking.

There’s probably never been a better time since the Great Recession to start looking. The U.S. economy is slowing down and added 130,000 new jobs in August, the government reported.

Is there a job out there that gives you a six-figure income, high job satisfaction and has enough job openings to make it a real possibility?

Companies are always keen to use intel to improve efficiency and learn more about their customers and, so, data scientists are in high demand.

They’re No. 1 on Glassdoor’s “ 50 Best Jobs in America ” for 2019 — for the fourth straight year. They boast a median base annual salary of $108,000, but Glassdoor also says there are signs their salary growth has been levelling off. They were followed by nursing managers at No. 2 ($83,000) and marketing managers at No. 3 ($82,000), occupational therapists at No. 4 ($74,000) and product managers at No. 5 ($115,000).

The “Glassdoor Job Score” is determined by weighing three factors equally: Earning potential (median annual base salary), overall job satisfaction rating and number of job openings. For a job title to be considered, it must receive at least 100 salary reports and at least 100 job satisfaction ratings shared by U.S.-based employees in one year. Results represent job titles that rate highly among all of those three categories. C-suite and intern level jobs were excluded from this report.

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There were other six-figure jobs among Glassdoor’s top 20 list with a relatively high number of openings, job satisfaction and earning potential, including devops engineers at No. 6 ($106,000 a year) who work with developers and the IT staff to oversee code releases, data engineers at No. 8 ($100,000), software engineers at No. 10 ($104,000), physician assistant at No. 12 ($105,000), strategy manager at No. 16 ($140,000) and security engineers at No. 17 ($102,000).

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But data scientists have competition. A separate report by the U.S. News & World Report on the best jobs of the year lists software developers as No. 1. The position offers flexible hours and remote work opportunities, while investing in individuals’ personal and professional development. Like data scientists, software developers have a median annual salary of over $100,000. They’re employed in computer systems design, manufacturing and finance. Physician assistants were No. 2, followed by dentists at No. 3.

The ‘Glassdoor Job Score’ is determined by weighing three factors equally: Earning potential (median annual base salary), overall job satisfaction rating and number of job openings.

Data scientists and software developers use programming language such as Python, followed by R, SQL, Hadoop and the more well-known Java, according to careers site Glassdoor. A mid-level data scientist is likely to be proficient in Python, R and SQL, and make close to $130,000 a year. Google /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG -0.60% , Aetna , and Microsoft /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT -1.63%  typically hire people for these roles.

The jobs environment is getting rosier, at least judging by the latest jobs figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7% in August and remained near a 50-year low. What’s more, more people entered the labor force in search of work, the government reported. The labor force participation rate was 63.2% in August, up slightly from 63% in July.

This story was updated on Sept. 6, 2019.

/zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 1,245.49
-7.58 -0.60%
Volume: 1.35M
Oct. 18, 2019 4:00p
P/E Ratio
25.14
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$805.68 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.39M
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/zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 137.41
-2.28 -1.63%
Volume: 32.28M
Oct. 18, 2019 4:00p
P/E Ratio
27.10
Dividend Yield
1.48%
Market Cap
$1049.18 billion
Rev. per Employee
$902,473
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Quentin Fottrell is MarketWatch's personal-finance editor and The Moneyist columnist for MarketWatch. You can follow him on Twitter @quantanamo.

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