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

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 9/5/2019 Quentin Fottrell
a close up of text on a black background: Data scientists and software developers receive more than $100,000 a year on average and are each ranked No. 1 by two separate reports. © Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images for Somerset House 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 164,000 new jobs in July, the government reported last month. Analysts polled by MarketWatch predicted 171,000 new jobs last month

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 “Best Jobs in America” for 2019 — for the fourth straight year. They boast 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.

There were other six-figure jobs among Glassdoor’s top 20 list with relatively high number of job 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).

Related video: The best jobs in America for career advancement (provided by CBS News)

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But data scientists have competition. A separate report by the U.S. News & World Report lists software developers as No. 1. The job 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.

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, Java, Python and JavaScript and make close to $130,000 a year. Google, Aetna and Microsoft typically hire people for these roles. are among the top programming languages.

The jobs environment is getting rosier, at least judging by the latest jobs figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7% in July 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% in July, up slightly from 62.9% in June.

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