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The Most Lucrative Job in Tech Isn't What You Think

Data from an online tech jobs marketplace suggests that the supply of data scientists might actually be catching up with demand.

Believe it or not, data scientist isn't the most lucrative job going.

This isn't even counting the usual suspects -- e.g., doctors, lawyers, plumbers, and import auto mechanics, among others -- who regularly charge at or (in the case of plumbers and mechanics) close to triple-digit hourly rates. No, even in technology, data scientists aren't top dog.

That would be product managers, according to online job marketplace Hired, which crunched its own data to determine which jobs are most in demand.

"Product managers were offered more money than any other tech role. Initial offers in Q2 were $133K on average, which is two percent lower than offers in Q1, but still the highest in tech," writes Jake Standish, who heads up communications for Hired, on his company blog. Demand for product managers doesn't seem to be slackening, either, according to Standish, who noted that "Interview requests with product managers increased by eight percent in Q2, so salaries may go up again."

Data scientists aren't unappreciated, according to Standish and Hired -- although, believe it or not, they might just be overrepresented.

There probably isn't any danger of a glut of data science candidates, but -- if the trend Hired.com is seeing is any indication -- supply might be catching up to demand. "While interview requests for data science candidates grew by a whopping 20 percent in Q2 -- the most of any tech role -- the number of data science candidates on the [Hired.com] platform increased by even more at 50 percent," he writes.

"This surplus of data science talent may be driving salaries down. In Q2, companies offered data scientists an average of $127K, which is down by two percent since Q1."

Finally, software engineers continue to command excellent compensation -- even if average salary tenders did decrease (albeit by only two percent) in Q2, according to Hired.

Developers in the San Francisco Bay Area earn, on average, nearly $136,000 annually -- although that figure is down by a percentage point from Q1. With one-room apartment rentals going for $3,500, on average, in the city of San Francisco itself, they're likely going to need every penny of that $136,000. Their money would go much further in Chicago, where a one-room apartment costs half as much -- and the average developer salary is only $25K lower.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a technology writer with 20 years of experience. His writing has focused on business intelligence, data warehousing, and analytics for almost 15 years. Swoyer has an abiding interest in tech, but he’s particularly intrigued by the thorny people and process problems technology vendors never, ever want to talk about. You can contact him at evets@alwaysbedisrupting.com.


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