Data scientists have the hottest job in America

A report released today by Glassdoor says that data scientists have the best jobs in the U.S., according to that company’s analysis of its outsized database of job information.

With a median base salary of $116,840, more than 1,700 job openings on Glassdoor’s site, and a user-provided career opportunities rating of 4.1, “data scientist” took the prize for most highly rated job title in America, ahead of “tax manager,” “solutions architect,” “engagement manager” and “mobile developer.”

+ ALSO ON NETWORK WORLD: Authentication startup brings on ‘Catch Me If You Can’ ID thief as adviser | Can agile scale and does it matter? 

Glassdoor highlighted that 10 of the top 25 were jobs in the technology industry, more than any other vertical. Data scientists reached the top after finishing ninth in last year’s report, the first that Glassdoor has issued.

What makes data science such a rewarding field? According to the data scientists we contacted for this article, it has a lot to do with the thrill of discovery.

“I like the ability to solve real world problems and make a difference for people with creative applications of math and programming,” said Ben Greco, a marketing director at security startup Soteria and a former data scientist at the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. “Believe it or not, that is the stuff I love.”

It’s much the same for Debbie Berebichez, chief data scientist for Metis, a data science education firm. (She also co-hosts the Discovery Channel’s Outrageous Acts of Science program.)

“I always enjoyed learning about the world around me,” she told Network World. “By asking questions about why things happen the way they do, I'm able to gain insights into nature.”

It’s not a completely cloudless prospect, of course – like people with any other job, data scientists have their share of daily headaches.

Jeff Baumes is assistant director of scientific computing at Kitware, an open-source HPC and research software company. He said that manicuring data into a fit state for analysis is often annoying.

“At times, munging [parsing] through data can get tedious,” Baumes said. “The worst times are when I realize the quality, quantity, or other aspect of the data simply prevents me from gaining the level of insight that I hoped to gain from the data.”

Still, data science is attracting a lot of top talent – munging or no munging – and doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon.

tech jobs pay Flickr/hobvias sudoneighm/REMIXED
Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.