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Data Scientist –Still the Best Job in America

Summary:  It’s official, Data Scientist is the number 1 best job in America.

2808311569It’s official, Data Scientist is the number 1 best job in America.  Glassdoor, the site that rates employers and gives job seekers the inside scoop on what to expect just published its 2016 results and Data Scientist is number one.

We got a job score of 4.7 (out of 5.0) which in their methodology combines three factors, number of job openings, salary, and career opportunities rating.  The median base salary is $116,840, a great number unless you’re trying to live in the Silicon Valley.

Actually we tied with Tax Manager for the top job score which probably says something about the imbalance of values in our society – but good for you Tax Managers.  And our $116,840 median base salary actually lagged behind #3 Solution Architect at $119,500 and #4 Engagement Manager at $125,000.  Still, I don’t think anyone should be disappointed with a substantial six figure salary and great job prospects.

Here’s the full list of the top 25 ‘best jobs in America’.  To see the detail on ratings and salaries see the Glassdoor survey site.

  1. Data Scientist
  2. Tax Manager
  3. Solutions Architect
  4. Engagement Manager
  5. Mobile Developer
  6. HR Manager
  7. Physician Assistant
  8. Product Manager
  9. Software Engineer
  10. Audit Manager
  11. Analytics Manager
  12. Software Development Manager
  13. Product Marketing Manager
  14. Marketing Manager
  15. QA Manager
  16. Finance Manager
  17. Business Development Manager
  18. UX Designer
  19. Strategy Manager
  20. Technical Account Manager
  21. Consultant
  22. Construction Superintendent
  23. Nurse Practitioner
  24. Electrical Engineer
  25. Software Architect

A couple of observations. 

Last year, 2015, Data Scientist ranked only 9th on the survey though like this year the overall job and salary numbers are pretty closely grouped in this top 25 category. 

In 2015 Glassdoor showed about 3,500 Data Scientist job openings and this year, 2016, only about 1,700.  That sounds backwards, and of course is based on openings on their own site and the sites they survey.  In this year however a new title was added “Analytics Manager” at number 11 with about 1,000 openings.  Last year, the secondary title was “Business Analyst” with about 21,000 opening, which didn’t make the top 25 cut this year.  I suspect several things are at work here and chief among them that employers are getting more explicit about the skills they want in Data Scientists (about 3,200 openings with any mention of Data Science in the title).  Also that the role of highly skilled and data science-oriented ‘Analytics Manager’ has only recently been separated out from the more generic ‘Business Analyst’.

11 of the 25 best jobs are in the digital world, either computer or data related.

Where are the Jobs

This data is a little over a year old but I suspect probably still directionally good.  You probably wouldn’t be surprised to find that right at 50% of all data science jobs are accounted for by California, New York, and Washington.  But there are still plenty of data science jobs around the rest of the US, and probably less competition.  To see more on this look at the data scientist count on Silk.co.


So why is being a data scientist such a good job?  Most of us would probably list the internal satisfaction of being able to work with data and tools that we love and solve the puzzles that they represent.  And all that would be true.  But let’s be honest, it’s also a great job because we are so highly sought after which makes prospects for advancement all that much better.

Peter Kuper, partner with In-Q-Tel, a VC firm affiliated with U.S. security agencies says there are over 100 graduate programs worldwide dedicated to increasing the ranks of data scientists.  Our unique scarcity may not last forever but we can’t complain, getting to work in what we love.

About the author:  Bill Vorhies is Editorial Director for Data Science Central. and has practiced as a data scientist and commercial predictive modeler since 2001.  He can be reached at:

[email protected]

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