The ‘best job in America’ for 2020 pays $105,000 a year — and you’ve probably never even heard of it

Looking for a six-figure job that makes you happy in 2020, but is also increasing in demand?

Front-end engineers had an average overall job satisfaction score of 3.9 on Glassdoor, making theirs the No. 1 profession for 2020 in terms of job satisfaction, salary and job openings, according to a new ranking. They develop the code that enhances a customer’s or user’s experience, and essentially create, install and test the user interface elements of a website.

As unemployment hovers at a 50-year low, there are more available professions that give people meaningful, in-demand work that pays well and offers opportunity for advancement. The job market may be less robust in 2020: The U.S. created 145,000 jobs in December as hiring slows and wage growth softens.

So why did front-end engineers top the list? Amanda Stansell, Glassdoor’s senior economic research analyst, said there’s more competition between tech and non-tech companies for these roles. Google GOOG, -0.58%, Aetna US:AET and Microsoft MSFT, -0.70% typically hire front-end engineers, but they are also increasingly in demand by any company that relies on a website for its business.

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The “Best Jobs in America in 2020” ranking listed java developer at No. 2, followed by data scientist (which previously held the No. 1 spot), product manager, devops engineer (which oversees code releases and the testing of new programs), data engineer, software engineer, speech language pathologist, strategy manager and business development manager.

“Because of the stiff competition to recruit and retain this talent, more companies are investing in their employees’ experiences at work,” Stansell said. “As these companies look to develop and maintain their online experience for customers, they’re willing to offer competitive benefits and perks to keep tech workers, including front-end engineers, happy in their day-to-day jobs.”

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Wages and salary now make up less than three-quarters of employees’ total compensation, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by Bank of America BAC, +0.74% Merrill Lynch. Meanwhile, more companies are offering “wellness programs” to help workers improve their fitness and health.

In its own research, Glassdoor previously looked at perks that lead to an increase in employee satisfaction. The analysis concluded that workplace health insurance was the No. 1 perk, followed by generous paid vacation time and paid time off, pension plans, 401(k) plans, retirement plans, dental insurance and maternity and paternity leave.

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Access to career-momentum opportunities in the workplace is one of the strongest predictors of employee satisfaction, based on millions of reviews left on Glassdoor, in addition to culture and values and quality senior leadership, according to Glassdoor. Tech, finance, health-care and marketing roles all have strong career paths, the site said.

For those seeking a six-figure job with no experience necessary, Jeff Gillis and Mike Simpson, who operate the career and resume advice site TheInterviewGuys.com, said pharmacists came out at No. 1. They analyzed the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Requirements Survey, which gives information on factors including physical demands and cognitive requirements.

Approximately 64% of pharmacist jobs require no previous work experience in that field, and have a median salary of $126,000 per year, more than twice the national average. Some 60% of nurse practitioners, who have a median salary of $114,000 per year, also require no work experience, according to the analysis by Gillis and Simpson and the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics figures. (Some such jobs could still come with educational requirements, they added.)

Here are the top 5 jobs on Glassdoor’s list:

1. Front-end engineer

Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.9

Number of job openings: 13,122

Median base salary: $105,240

2. Java developer

Job satisfaction rating: 3.9

Number of job openings: 16,136

Median base salary: $105,240

3. Data scientist

Job satisfaction rating: 4.0

Number of job openings: 6,542

Median base salary: $105,240

4. Product manager

Job satisfaction rating: 3.8

Number of Job Openings: 12,173

Median base salary: $105,240

5. Devops engineer

Job satisfaction rating: 3.9

Number of job openings: 6,603

Median base salary: $107,310