Advances in technology and business practices have created new high-paying job positions that were almost unimaginable 10 years ago. Payscale has assembled a list of these jobs that didn't exist 10 years ago, along with median salaries.
Director of analytics
Analytics directors oversee teams that examine data and look for patterns to help make business and policy decisions.
April Wilson, director of analytics products at RevSpring, has served as a director of analytics for the past 10 years. "Typically, my job is to mine databases, both in-house and public, to find trends and insights that help me solve customer problems or reverse negative business trends," she says.
Data analytics figure heavily in research and public policy as well. Margaret King, Ph.D., is the director at the Center for Cultural Studies and Analysis. "I head a think tank that studies human behavior derived from cultural data," she says. "We provide intelligence to Fortune 50 companies who need to understand how culture drives mainstream thinking and behavior. This combines brain studies (neuroscience), social science, history, and psychology; it's a great cross-disciplinary profession."
User experience director
Incorporating experience in marketing, design, communications and customer service, the user experience director oversees the way a brand interacts with its customers. "As a user experience director at a marketing communications agency, I help untangle my client's requirements and merge them with customer needs into experiences that satisfy (and hopefully delight) both," says John Romano at Capstrat. "This usually means overseeing UXs as they perform primary user research, information architecture, interaction design, prototyping and usability testing.
"In the marketing communications industry, there are so many business requirements and so many voices at the planning table, it's easy to lose sight of the people we're designing for. I like being an advocate for those people and representing their interests."
People in this position look for ways to reduce their organizations' environmental footprints, use resources more responsibly and source their products in an ethical manner. They may work with other department heads to collect and analyze data on energy use and other indicators, organize seminars or workshops, and oversee outreach efforts. At some organizations, it can even be a senior-level executive position. A background in environmental studies, planning, supply chain management or engineering is helpful in these positions.
Mobile applications developer
The rise of the app has meant people who develop them are in demand. Job duties are likely to vary by the hiring company. Mobile app developers may work on projects ranging from simple games to content delivery to high-level data crunching and business intelligence.
Knowledge of programming languages, experience with development tools and environments, and understanding of mobile communications and consumer trends are important for this position. Being able to examine company objectives and come up with mobile solutions is also helpful.
"My job is to analyze data about their website to identify problems and opportunities, and then from there help my clients identify the best way to fix those problems and act on those opportunities," says Matthew Edgar of QW Consulting. "A typical day, for me, is spent setting up various tools to collect data, reviewing that data, and then reviewing my findings and the action plan stemming from those findings with my client. I usually work with two to three different clients per day, so I stay busy moving between different clients and different projects."
Edgar says skills in finding patterns in "large, sometimes unruly and often messy sets of data" is key to the web analyst position. "However, I personally think you also need to have an interest in helping people make better decisions, and the data analysis becomes a tool to help you help somebody else make those decisions."