The Top 5 Paying Jobs in the Last Five Years

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The past five years has brought new technologies, policies, and behavioral trends that has helped fuel demand for new career paths. While majority of job markets and professional industries enjoyed some growth in the last five years, not everyone did enough to stand out from the rest. If you are looking to switch careers from your dead-end day job or has just graduated from college and is in the market hopeful and excited to start your professional journey, here are the top five top paying jobs that have made headlines over the last half decade. From anesthesiologists who administer pain-blocking drugs and monitor vital signs during operations to software engineers who maintain thousands of lines of code and create new software products and tools, the professions listed below all made the cut, thanks to their generous annual paychecks and work benefits.

1. Surgeon

Surgeons are the medical staff who operate on people who suffer from health ailments and/or physical deformities. Surgeons can choose to work as a general surgeon or specialize as an orthopedic, plastic surgeon, pediatrician, or neurosurgeon. According to US News, the median salary for surgeons peaks at $208,000, with the bottom percentile making a modest $196,000. The top paying states in the country include New Jersey, Nebraska, Minnesota and Rhode Island, with experienced surgeons in these said areas making close to $300,000 per year. As a surgeon, you'll need to be good at operating medical and surgical equipment, such as scalpels, and working within a team. Communication skills can make all the difference between success and failure of the operation.

2. Dentist

With a median annual salary of $154,000, a measly unemployment rate of 0.4 percent, and a projected growth rate of 19 percent, which is significantly faster than average for all professions, dentists undoubtedly deserve a spot on the list of the top paying jobs. With the cost of dental procedures consistently dropping, thanks to modern dental equipment and supplies, more consumers are getting encouraged to have their teeth maintained and fixed. As a dentist, you'll be examining teeth, filling and refilling cavities, and doing cosmetic treatments, such as teeth whitening. To become a dentist, however, is a rigorous and time-exhausting process. Training through a dental school involves a combination of hands-on and classroom-based curriculum, plus a residency program that often lasts up to two years.

3. App Developer

According to Statista, as of 2017, there are over two million mobile applications available for download for different devices and platforms, which is up from the measly 800+ applications that were in the app store 10 years ago. With an increasing demand for newer and better responsive applications and an increasing number of tech startups, professionals who have a solid technical understanding of computer science concepts, such as recursion and functional programming, are being sought after in droves. As an app developer, you are responsible for developing, maintaining, and repairing mobile applications for either Android or iOS platforms. Currently, the median hourly wage for an app developer rounds down to $49. Yet with large, accomplished companies, like Google and Amazon, you can receive more in stock options and year-end bonuses.

4. Data Scientist

Data is growing, and so is competition for businesses. Companies are looking for ways to outsmart their competitors and better engage their audience. As a result, demand for data scientists have boomed throughout the past few years. As a data scientist, you are trained to collect raw data in a systematic and efficient manner. This includes web traffic patterns, credit card purchases, mobile payment options, and user behavior. The collected data is analyzed, processed, and forwarded to higher level management, who will then use the data to adjust sales model, look for more suitable marketing channels, and refine the business plan. Data scientists earn an average salary of $91,000 per year, with the bottom percentile making around $60,000 per year.

5. Systems Architect

Another tech-related job to rise in demand this past five years is a systems architect. Working as a systems architect, you could be sitting at a comfy $117,000 per year salary. Those in the higher percentile make up to $150,000. You can make much more in work perks, such as bonuses, profit sharing, and commissions. These professionals are trained to create and maintain databases for a company. Most hiring companies look for candidates who have a degree in engineering, computer science, or a related study, but more importantly candidates who have experience building actual database systems and platforms.

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