This man has 'the best job in America' — here's what his days are like

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What Is the Best Job in America?

Data scientist is the best job in America right now, according to a recent report from Glassdoor.

"It isn't a big surprise," Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor's chief economist, told Business Insider. "It's one of the hottest and fastest growing jobs we're seeing right now.

"Since all companies have an online presence these days, they all need people who know how to manage and store data that helps them make better business decisions, compared to years ago when businesses didn't have data management at their fingertips to review and analyze to help them drive business forward. I expect this to continue to be a hot job for several years to come, too," he explained.

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Glassdoor's Best Jobs in America ranking list was based on earning potential (median annual base salary), career-opportunities rating, and number of job openings for each occupation.

We recently spoke to Daniel Enson, a 38-year-old data scientist and research director at the global market research company Toluna, to find out what it's really like to have the "best job in America." Here's what he told us:

The beginning

"I grew up in Connecticut and went to Vassar College for my undergraduate degree. I worked in New York City, and then I attended business school at the University of Connecticut.

"I realized during my undergraduate years that I wanted to study business, but Vassar was a liberal arts school and there was no business major. I majored in economics and discovered that I had a real passion for the psychology behind marketing. I wanted to know what drove people to make choices as consumers.

"I worked in New York City during 9/11 and I watched it all happen. It was a real turning point for me because I decided I wanted to leave the city and go back to where I grew up, Connecticut.

"I got my MBA in Marketing Intelligence at the University of Connecticut. I chose this track because I was interested in the combination of behavioral data and statistical tools to draw analysis. I wanted to know what drove people to make choices."

Road to this role

"I worked in insurance right out of business school, and it was great exposure to what business marketing was like. It was all about education and reach. How can we get our voice out to more people? How can we educate them on the importance of saving for retirement?

"My first true data crunching job started in 2006 at a small database marketing firm, really a two-man shop. I loved the work I was doing, but there wasn't much room for growth. I knew I needed to move on in order to work with the big names in business. That's how I ended up at Toluna.

"On another level, I think there is something in my personality that drew me to this field. I'm a pretty skeptical guy. I find it difficult to believe something unless I can see the proof, and for me, the proof is in the numbers."

See what else made the 'best Jobs' list for 2016:

26 PHOTOS
The 25 best jobs of 2016
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This man has 'the best job in America' — here's what his days are like

25. Occupational Therapy Assistant​

Median Salary: $56,950  
Unemployment Rate: 1.2 percent

Expected Job Openings: 14,100

Patients may require occupational therapy to manage a lifelong medical condition or the effects of a stroke, accident or other physical trauma. OTAs help these patients live as independently as possible, teaching them to perform daily tasks, such as brushing their teeth and getting dressed. To enter the field, OTAs need to earn an associate degree, which typically takes about two years.

Learn more about occupational therapy assistants.

Photo credit: Getty

24. Accountant

Median Salary$65,940 
Unemployment Rate: 3.2 percent

Expected Job Openings: 142,400

Accountants inspect financial records and may work for government agencies, private corporations, nonprofits or individual clients. While an associate degree is available for accounting, employers may prefer a bachelor's or master's degree.

Learn more about accountants.

23. Occupational Therapist

Median Salary$78,810 
Unemployment Rate: 1.1 percent

Expected Job Openings: 30,400

OTs help patients build or restore their ability to perform daily tasks and work toward certain goals. Licensed OTs typically need to earn a master's degree, pass board examinations and complete a fieldwork requirement.

Learn more about occupational therapists. 

Photo credit: Getty

22. Registered Nurse

Median Salary$66,640 
Unemployment Rate: 2.1 percent

Expected Job Openings: 439,300

Registered nurses monitor a patient's condition, perform medical procedures and administer medicine. Entry-level RN positions are available with an associate degree, but a bachelor's degree is becoming the industry standard.

Learn more about registered nurses. 

Photo credit: Getty

21. Cartographer

Median Salary$60,930 
Unemployment Rate: 3 percent

Expected Job Openings: 3,600

Cartographers specialize in drawing maps, which have seen reinvention in an environment where millions of people look at GPS-enabled maps on cellphones and interactive maps online. Cartographers typically must earn a bachelor's degree in cartography or a related field.

Learn more about cartographers. 

Photo credit: Getty

20. Web Developer

Median Salary$63,490 
Unemployment Rate: 3.4 percent

Expected Job Openings: 39,500

Web developers build websites, working with software applications or writing code to get the job done. Employers typically prefer a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field. Specialized certifications may also demonstrate expertise in a certain area.

Learn more about Web developers.

Photo credit: Getty

19. Physician

Median Salary>$187,199 
Unemployment Rate: 0.4 percent

Expected Job Openings: 5,100

Physicians manage patients for a variety of medical issues, doing everything from diagnosing and treating injuries and illnesses to prescribing medicine. Becoming a physician is no easy path. Aspiring physicians need to attend medical school and complete advanced  training requirements.

Learn more about physicians.

Photo credit: Getty

18. Operations Research Analyst

Median Salary$76,660 
Unemployment Rate: 3.8 percent

Expected Job Openings: 27,600

Workers in this business-related field dive into raw data and mathematical equations to help businesses make educated decisions. A bachelor's degree in math, business or industrial engineering can open the door for entry-level workers. Some employers may favor master's degree recipients.

Learn more about operations research analysts.

Photo credit: Getty

17. Statistician

Median Salary$79,990 
Unemployment Rate: 4 percent

Expected Job Openings: 10,100

The highest-ranked business profession on this year's list requires mathematical prowess and a passion for numbers. Statisticians use data to make decisions. A bachelor's degree should open doors, but a master's degree or Ph.D. may open more.

Learn more about statisticians.

Photo credit: Getty

16. Surgeon

Median Salary>$187,199 
Unemployment Rate: 0.4 percent

Expected Job Openings: 9,100

Scalpel, please. Surgeons operate on patients to help treat diseases, injuries and other issues. To enter the field, medical school and specialized training are a must.

Learn more about surgeons.

Photo credit: Getty

15. Podiatrist

Median Salary$120,700 
Unemployment Rate: 2.1 percent

Expected Job Openings: 1,400

These medical professionals diagnose and treat problems in the feet and ankles. Podiatric medical school and advanced training are required to enter this field.

Learn more about podiatrists.

Photo credit: Getty

14. Physical Therapist

Median Salary$82,390 
Unemployment Rate: 1.2 percent

Expected Job Openings: 71,800

PTs help patients battling physical issues or injuries regain movement and manage pain. To enter the field, hopefuls must typically complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, as well as residency and licensing requirements.

Learn more about physical therapists.

Photo credit: Getty

13. Software Developer

Median Salary$95,510 
Unemployment Rate: 2.5 percent

Expected Job Openings: 135,300

Software developers design computer programs, often flexing their creative muscles and technical know-how. A bachelor's degree in computer science is typical – but not required – as are strong programming skills.

Learn more about software developers.

Photo credit: Getty

12. Optometrist

Median Salary$101,410 
Unemployment Rate: 0.7 percent

Expected Job Openings: 11,000

These medical professionals specialize in eye care and prescribe contact lenses or glasses. Optometrists must complete a Doctor of Optometry program, licensing exams and other requirements.

Learn more about optometrists.

Photo credit: Getty

10 (tie). Obstetrician and Gynecologist

Median Salary>$187,199 
Unemployment Rate: 0.4 percent

Expected Job Openings: 4,300

OB-GYNs specialize in women's reproductive health, managing everything from contraception to childbirth. Like other medical fields, the road to becoming an OB-GYN is paved with medical school, licensing examinations and residency requirements.

Learn more about obstetricians and gynecologists.

Photo credit: Getty

10 (tie). Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Median Salary>$187,199 
Unemployment Rate: 0.2 percent

Expected Job Openings: 1,200

These medical professionals perform surgeries on the face, mouth and jaw. Dental school and specialized training are among the requirements for this field.

Learn more about oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

Photo credit: Getty

9. Anesthesiologist

Median Salary>$187,199 
Unemployment Rate: 0.4 percent

Expected Job Openings: 7,100

These medical specialists administer anesthesia to numb pain during invasive procedures. Among the hurdles: Anesthesiologists must complete medical school and other specialized training.

Learn more about anesthesiologists

Photo credit: Getty

8. Pediatrician

Median Salary$163,350 
Unemployment Rate: 0.4 percent

Expected Job Openings: 3,600

Pediatricians are the doctors who diagnose and treat babies, children and young adults. Like other medical professionals, pediatricians must finish medical school, residency and other training.

Learn more about pediatricians.

Photo credit: Getty

7. Psychiatrist

Median Salary$181,880 
Unemployment Rate: 1.8 percent

Expected Job Openings: 4,200

These health professionals specialize in diagnosing and treating issues related to the mind and mental health. Becoming a psychiatrist requires a medical school degree and additional specialized training.

Learn more about psychiatrists.

Photo credit: Getty

6. Nurse Practitioner

Median Salary$95,350 
Unemployment Rate: 1.3 percent

Expected Job Openings: 44,700

Nurse practitioners treat patients for a variety of issues and ailments and may be able to work independently from a physician. To enter the field, hopefuls must earn specialized credentials on top of their nursing degree.

Learn more about nurse practitioners.

Photo credit: Getty

5. Physician Assistant

Median Salary$95,820 
Unemployment Rate: 0.2 percent

Expected Job Openings: 28,700

PAs coordinate with physicians and other health care workers to treat patients. They typically need to complete a master's degree, clinical training and other requirements.

Learn more about physician assistants.

Photo credit: Getty

4. Nurse Anesthetist

Median Salary$153,780 
Unemployment Rate: 1.3 percent

Expected Job Openings: 7,400

These registered nurses specialize in anesthesiology, administering drugs to minimize the pain of procedures. These health professionals undergo training on top of their nursing degree to specialize in this area.

Learn more about nurse anesthetists.

Photo credit: Getty

3. Computer Systems Analyst

Median Salary$82,710 
Unemployment Rate: 2.6 percent 
Expected Job Openings: 118,600

These experts help companies evaluate and improve their computer systems. A bachelor's degree in information sciences can help hopefuls get started in this field.

Learn more about computer systems analysts. 

Photo credit: Getty

2. Dentist

Median Salary$149,530 
Unemployment Rate: 0.2 percent 
Expected Job Openings: 23,300

Open wide. The No. 2 ranked job for 2016 is dentist. These professionals diagnose and treat issues of the teeth and gums and must graduate from dental school.

Learn more about dentists. 

Photo credit: Getty

1. Orthodontist

Median Salary>$187,199 
Unemployment Rate: 0.2 percent 
Expected Job Openings: 1,500

Anyone with a mouth full of braces can tell you about orthodontists. Professionals in this No. 1 ranked job straighten teeth and align bites. Among other requirements, orthodontists must attend dental school and receive specialized training.

Learn more about orthodontists. 

Photo credit: Getty

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The hiring process

"When I got into this field in the mid 2000s, agencies and firms didn't really know what they were looking for. They knew there was a demand for data analytics, but there wasn't a big demand for computer science majors or math experts.

"When I applied for my current job, I got it because I was a candidate that could demonstrate experience working with data and crunching numbers, but more importantly I could tell a story about that data. And that's what I look for in any potential new member of my team. I want someone who can think quickly on their feet, someone who can talk to a client and frame their findings effectively. I want someone who isn't afraid to make a decision and stick by it.

"This job takes a lot of independence, and if you can't take ownership of your ideas it's not going to work. You have to be able to present information clearly and concisely. The job isn't just about crunching numbers and making graphs. It's about finding meaningful patterns to gain insights for your clients; a big part of the job is presenting your findings effectively."

The pay

"The salary for this job is certainly competitive. People have a lot of educational background and advanced degrees. PhDs and MBAs are fairly common in the industry and this expertise comes at a premium for employers.

"There is also demand to consider. Companies are increasingly turning to data analytics to find profitable avenues for their businesses. As these needs increase so does demand for people with expertise in statistical research. As a seasoned data scientist you are going to be getting calls from recruiters regularly, which tends to drive salaries up."

According to Glassdoor, the median base pay for data scientists in 2016 is $116,840.

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This man has 'the best job in America' — here's what his days are like

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Typical day on the job

"I wake up at 6:30, usually because my 3-year-old son has climbed into bed with me. I'm in the office by 9:00 and my first task to sort through my emails. We are a global company so we get emails 24/7 from clients and colleagues all over the world.

"First, I see if I have any urgent asks from clients. Are there any pressing problems that need to be addressed? This happens pretty regularly, as client relations is a major part of what I do. I am in a management position so I can delegate some tasks, but I also like to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty like everyone else on my team.

"Throughout the day there are several typical tasks: writing research reports, forming questionnaires, and conducting specific statistical analyses like segmentation, regression analysis, MaxDiff analysis, TURF analyses, and choice-based conjoint studies, and price laddering studies, typically using the Van Westendorp price sensitivity model. These more specific statistical requests are fairly new in the past few years. As clients have learned more about how much they can get out of their data, we have adapted to deliver the best results. It's why we try to bring everything we need in-house, like state-of-the-art technology and our robust consumer survey panel.

"There is no typical day. That's why I like the job so much — there are always new challenges. But an example of some of the troubleshooting we might do is when we get stuck in the field doing client research. This basically means the population parameters that the client wants to investigate might be too narrow, and they are preventing us from finding meaningful results.

"Getting stuck in a field is a pretty common problem and our task is to find ways to alter our approach without compromising the data and the findings. A client may want to limit their investigation to left-handed surfers in Australia but we might have to make alternative recommendations in order to get results. Having our own survey panel with a large community of respondents is really essential in these cases, but they can still be challenging to address.

"I leave at around 5:30 and plug back in from 8:00 to 10:00. I usually work 10 to 11 hours a day. I try to avoid work on weekends when I can, but you never know when something urgent might come up."

Misconceptions about the job

"I don't sit in a dark cubicle all day. I am not in love with my calculator. This job is analytical and intuitive.

"I think people misunderstand this job because they think it's all about the math. Really it's about problem-solving. Clients bring us questions and we use state-of-the-art technology, statistics, and data to bring them the insights they need to make informed decisions. We are really on the frontline of marketing, helping top-level executives make consequential decisions about the future of their business and their products."

SEE ALSO: We asked industry experts what the 'Uber of Healthcare' will be — here's how they responded

Best part of the job

"The best part of the job is definitely the variety. I love coming into the office not knowing what's going to come up, what client challenge I can solve. It's not for everyone, I know, but I really like that aspect. And we do it well here, we have a pretty small team working on research, but it helps us stay nimble for our clients.

"I really love that the job asks you to think outside the box every day. Clients are always bringing new and interesting asks to us, and I love finding a creative solution. You might think that when a client knows exactly what they want and how they want it, my job would be easier. The reality is when a client comes in with only a general idea, my eyes light up. We have great technology here, which means we can get really creative with how we answer client questions. I love that."

Worst part of the job

"Even though working with clients is one of the best parts of the job, it can also pose its own challenges. Tight deadlines and unrealistic expectations can make our lives difficult. But it's all about how you face the challenges. If you have the right tools and the right team, like I do, you can tackle it."

Is it REALLY the best job in America?

"I would say I was pleasantly surprised when I found out data scientist was the number one job in America. I didn't realize so many people knew about data science. We operate largely behind the scenes from a consumer perspective, so this kind of recognition is really great.

"I would certainly encourage people to pursue this field. It is stimulating work, and every day presents new and exciting challenges. I started working in this field in 2006 and I don't find myself wanting to do anything else.

"It's a fast-growing field, so there is also the matter of job security. The amount of data that needs to be analyzed is only going to grow, and with that will come demand for more capable people to search for meaningful patterns. I definitely think it's something people interested in research and marketing should look into."


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