Hate to break it to you, but if you want one of the best jobs you’ll have to learn how to code. Or do complex math. Or decipher data. Or all of the above.
For those that already have these skills, your bank balance probably shows it. According to CareerCast’s “Best Jobs of 2014” report, employers are paying big bucks to lure employees that understand data, code and math (which really translates to “data analytics”). In fact, jobs that depend on these geeky skills comprise half of the top 10 jobs of 2014.
Get Data Or Get Fired
Data analysis is so important to the modern enterprise, in fact, that one executive recruiter declared, “In 15 years, if you don’t have a solid quant background, you might have a permanent pink slip,” simply because “so much of decision-making in corporations is going so quickly toward having a quant foundation.”
Scary? Yes. But also likely true.
Not everyone can be a “quant jock,” of course. And as much as technology companies need engineers and data scientists, they also need English major-types to help craft a compelling narrative around their products. But more often, those that know data or code command the best jobs, which is measured in terms of environment, income, outlook and stress levels.
Here are the top 10 jobs of 2014, along with the median income for the position:
- Mathematician / $101,360
- Tenured University Professor / $68,970
- Statistician /$75,560
- Actuary / $93,680
- Audiologist / $69,720
- Dental Hygienist / $70,210
- Software Engineer / $93,350
- Computer Systems Analyst / $79,680
- Occupational Therapist /$75,400
- Speech Pathologist / $69,870
Express Your Data In Code
Among the worst jobs of 2014 were the lumberjack (No. 200) and the newspaper reporter (No. 199). While it’s unclear what the lumberjack should do, famed statistician Nate Silver offers clear guidance for journalists: Learn to code.
Silver oversees FiveThirtyEight, his news website, which will likely become 50% developers as “news” becomes far more than simple text. Journalism’s future, he notes, is data visualization and interaction. This is one reason that software developer topped US News’ 100 Best Jobs of 2014 report. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 22.8% employment growth for software developers between 2012 and 2022.
The importance of code, specifically code that helps enterprises process and analyze data, also shows up in Indeed.com’s hottest job trends. Two of the top 10 technologies involve Big Data infrastructure, including Hadoop.
In a very real sense, developers write the future, app by app.
On The Job Training
If you’re an enterprise in search of these high-paid data scientists and developers, you’re in luck.
As Gartner analyst Svetlana Sicular posits, it’s very likely you already have the right people in-house. You just need to train them:
[C]ompanies should look within. Organizations already have people who know their own data better than mystical data scientists…The internal people already gained experience and ability to model, research and analyze. Learning Hadoop is easier than learning the company’s business.
And what do you do if you’re the employee? Well, you can always learn to position yourself as a data scientist. It’s a bit easier on the development side: You just need to download the relevant open source software—most of the essential Big Data technology is open source—and start hacking away.
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