Top Jobs for 2011

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Top Jobs for 2011

What are the best jobs to pursue for the next five years? Fast Company draws on the work of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and an innovation expert to tap the top jobs.

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What makes a job a great job? Obviously, different people will give different answers. It's impossible to account for everyone's personal taste and personality traits -- including foibles -- and how they might fit into a particular job. What makes a great job opportunity is much easier to gauge. How much do you get paid? What kind of professional development opportunities are available? How much room for innovation does a role offer?
Fast Company based this year's index of the top jobs on four categories: job growth, salary potential, education level, and room for innovation. Relying heavily on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the work of Dr. Kevin Stolarick, a lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University and an expert on the creative class, Fast Company has assembled a list of the 25 Top Jobs for 2005.
What We Considered
Clearly, you want to pick a career that's in high demand. Because job growth is so important, we weighted our index 35% toward the Bureau of Labor Statistic's projected job growth data through 2012.
Money also matters. We based our salary range -- an indication of the opportunity for salary growth -- on the difference between the 10th percentile earnings and the 90th percentile earnings for a given job, also based on BLS data. This gives a picture of where you might end up in relation to where you started. The greater the divide, the better the score. Salary range was also given a 35% share of the total index score.
A great job, in our opinion, also requires a good deal of investment in education. Our education score is based on what percentage of those working in the field hold a college degree according to BLS data. We weighted this 20%.
Finally, a great job needs to give you room to run. How innovative and creative can you be? How open to new ideas are people in your profession? We turned to Dr. Kevin Stolarick to help determine how creative workers can be in a given field. We weighted this 10%.
Doing the Job
In addition to the rankings and some brief job descriptions, we've profiled 10 leaders actually working in some of these exciting positions. Among them, we've got a Harvard stem cell researcher, a Wal-Mart systems analyst, a personal financial advisor to the nouveau riche, and an actuary who doesn't think his job is boring. Though they come from a wide range of fields and backgrounds, there are some common threads running through them -- besides the fact that they love their jobs. Most find themselves working at the intersection of business and technology, which keeps things fresh. They all give the same advice about being successful at work, too: Stay flexible. These jobs aren't for the rigid of mind, and you need to accept that they might take you places you don't expect to go. That's part of the fun -- and what makes these jobs the best part time jobs.


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