You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

The No. 1 job in America pays over $100,000 a year

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 1/28/2018 Quentin Fottrell
a man standing in front of a computer: Data scientists and software developers receive $100,000 a year on average and are each ranked No. 1 by two separate reports. © Provided by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Data scientists and software developers receive $100,000 a year on average and are each ranked No. 1 by two separate reports.

As companies try to understand consumer behavior, data scientists are in high demand. Boasting a median base salary of $110,000 and a job-satisfaction score of 4.4 out of 5, data scientist was ranked No. 1 on Glassdoor’s “Best Jobs in America” list in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The report released this week is based on the number of job openings, salary and overall job satisfaction. It was followed by devops engineers ($110,000 a year), which combines development, testing and operations. Nearly 40% of people, including 56% of millennials, are job hunting it added.

But data scientists have competition. A separate report released by the U.S. News & World Report lists software developer as the No. 1 job based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Like data scientist, a software developer has a median annual salary of over $100,000 per year and are employed in computer systems design, app design, manufacturing and finance. The study looked at work-life balance, salary and other areas of career development. (Dentist was No. 2, followed by physician assistant and nurse practitioner.)

Data scientists and software developers use programming language such as Python (sought after in 72% of Glassdoor data scientist job postings), followed by R (64%), SQL (51%), Hadoop (39%) and the more well-known Java (33%). Core data scientists who are likely to be proficient in Python, R and SQL and estimated to make $116,203 a year. Google (GOOG) Aetna (AET) and Microsoft (MSFT)  typically hire these. The top programming languages are Java, Python, JavaScript and C++, according to

How you teach a computer to drive like a human Nvidia's general manager of automotive, Rob Csongor, breaks down how artificial intelligence can teach a supercomputer to drive just like (or even better than) a human.

Don’t miss: 5 blue-collar jobs that pay $100,000 a year

Because data science is such a new field, there’s very little consensus on what work they do, or what skills are required, says Pablo Ruiz Junco, economic research fellow at Glassdoor. And the best part about the No. 1 skill? “Python is free, easy to learn,” he says. “Because of its large user base, many specialized packages for statistics, machine learning and graphing are available for data scientists to use. Plus, writing code in Python makes it more shareable within a company and easier to implement into production because it is so widely used by software engineers.”

There is, however, some bad news for American workers. Pay raises for U.S. employees are not expected to improve in 2018, according to a survey of 1,000 companies released Monday by global professional services company Aon. Base pay is expected to rise 3% in 2018, up slightly from 2.9% in 2017. Spending on variable pay — incentives or bonuses — will be 12.5% of payroll, low levels not seen since 2013. This suggests a “pessimistic view of corporate performance in the coming year,” Ken Abosch, a strategy and development analyst at Aon, said in a statement.

In the meantime, some 7.5 million American workers work multiple jobs, and 44 million people have a side hustle. Personal-finance site Bankrate released a survey last year, which found that younger millennials (ages 18 to 26) are most likely to have a side hustle, with 28% saying they have an extra way to make money aside from their main source of income. While some very fortunate people have turned their hobbies into six-figure careers, as MarketWatch previously reported, most people use them to supplement their income.


More From MarketWatch

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon