We’re number one!

Glassdoor has one of those lists of the “best jobs in America”. “Data scientist” is #1.

Seeing this got my data scientist spidey sense tingling. It’s kind of ironic, seeing how a data scientist could poke so many holes in this…

Glassdoor describes their methodology as follows:

Methodology: Glassdoor’s 25 Best Jobs in America report identifies specific jobs with the highest overall Glassdoor Job Score. The Glassdoor Job Score is determined by weighting three factors equally: earning potential (median annual base salary), career opportunities rating, and number of job openings. Results represent job titles that rate highly among all three categories. The Glassdoor Job Score is based on a 5-point scale (5.0=best job, 1.0=bad job). For a job title to be considered, it must receive at least 75 salary reports and at least 75 career opportunities ratings shared by U.S.-based employees over the past year (1/8/15-1/7/16). The number of job openings per job title represents active job listings on Glassdoor as of 1/8/16. This report takes into account job title normalization that groups similar job titles.

The “career opportunities rating” appears to be aggregated from ratings left in Glassdoor reviews, and would seem to correspond more to the companies that data scientists work for than data science as a career. Earning potential I can agree with as an important variable (who doesn’t like money?) Looking at “number of job openings” seems a bit off to me – I’m sure there are a lot of job openings for hotel housekeepers – but perhaps they’re doing some normalization and this is actually some measure of number of openings relative to number of qualified candidates. (“Software engineer” has 49,270 openings and nothing else on the list breaks five figures, but it’s not at the top of the list.)

Data scientist has gone up since last year’s list, when it was #9, driven by an increase in salary and in career opportunities rating. Back when I would have called myself a mathematician, that was the #1 job (in a different study, but who cares?) Clearly this is all my fault.

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