The most sought-after job in America pays $110,000 — but you will need this skill

The best part about learning this skill? It’s free

Everett Collection

Data scientists receive $110,000 a year on average and are ranked No. 1 in Glassdoor’s “Best Jobs in America.”

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 the “Best Jobs in America” list in 2016 and 2017 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 — data engineers ($106,000 a year), tax managers ($110,000 a year) and analytics managers ($112,000 a year).

And the No. 1 skill most in demand for data scientists? The programming language Python (sought after in 72% of Glassdoor 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 Aetna and Microsoft   typically hire these. They’re followed by research data scientists who are likely to know SAS, Matlab, Java, Hadloop, Python and R programming languages.

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 next year, 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.

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