While twenty years ago the most aspirational jobs were those of doctors or lawyers, these days the most reliably high paying jobs are typically in software engineering. There's a growing trend towards digital literacy, and the most exciting and perk-filled jobs are typically those in big name tech companies rather than big name human rights courts.
Based on the following data and trends in job growth and development, it seems as though the best education to receive today is in the cutting edge world of information technology, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon.
Of course, ultimately, people will always be happier doing something that they enjoy, regardless of money earned. Besides, studies have shown that happiness levels do not appear to increase after a yearly earning of $75,000 or more, so if you can attain that sweet point anything else is largely superfluous (really!). Still, if you're interested in going over and above, the following information - compiled from Glassdoor and 24/7 Wall St. - lists the most lucrative specific jobs of 2014, on average, based on salary and benefits.
15 Software Engineer - Facebook - $122,838
Working for Facebook is on many people's "dream job" list. But if you happen to land a career in software engineering for the media giant, you can look forward to a massive salary each year. In addition to this, Facebook employees receive incredible benefits, such as generous maternity and paternity leave, excellent health coverage, on-site festivities and free catering, and even - recently - egg freezing for women who want to pursue their career before they have a family. Facebook is also one of the most rapidly growing companies in the world, making the company a seriously safe and secure option for a long-term career.
14 Principal Scientist - Pfizer - $128,164
Pfizer is a pharmaceutical company, making it unsurprisingly one of the richest companies in the world. Drug sales continue to stay consistently high in North America, with many critics asserting that Americans are over-medicated. The company benefits from this culture, and as such receives massive profits. The makers of Viagra are one of the leaders in the industry.
Pfizer's Principal Scientist, as the role is known, receives some of these benefits financially. In fact, these scientists get 5% more than the average Principal Scientists for other companies. On top of that, they also receive a range of benefits and stock options.
13 Senior Technical Staff - Salesforce - $135,366
Besides receiving great benefits, members of the senior technical staff at Salesforce get 12% more than at other companies. In addition to this, the company has topped the Corporate Equality Index. Salesforce is a Cloud Computing Company, and to be included in the Senior Technical Staff here involves years of schooling and experience in the field. But it's worth it for the salary these employees will take home for the rest of their lives.
12 Manager - Southern California Edison - $138,090
This company supplies the majority of electricity for Southern California so it's not surprising that working for Southern California Edison pays off. In fact, considering just how rich the company is, their employees may not be getting as much as they could be.
Still, the average salary of the company is impressively high. And if one manages to become a manager, that person can expect to receive their fair share of wages and benefits.
11 Brand Manager - Procter & Gamble - $139,982
P&G give us another reason why getting into management is a lucrative idea. Procter & Gamble manufactures millions of products a year; everything from pet food to personal care products.
Like most companies on this list, they are a large, high earning company, which means they can afford to pay their employees well, especially their managers. Brand Managers here average $139k a year, and are also able to receive excellent benefits, including more time off.
10 Senior Computer Scientist - Adobe - $155,450
Adobe is a company that most have heard of, and seen on their computers. It has been around for years, and as such is a highly lucrative business with thousands of employees. The base salary for a Senior Computer Scientist at Adobe starts at $155k a year, with cash bonuses and healthcare. There is no reason to think jobs like this are going anywhere in the future, especially as Adobe products become more and more deeply entrenched in every aspect of our digital environment.
9 Senior Software Engineer - Google - $159,310
Anyone who has ever used an internet browser has heard of Google. This company has taken over much of the internet. No longer just a search engine, Google has its own mail, flight finder and even academic article searcher available for free. Also, unlike many other massive companies, Google is known for treating its employees fairly and giving them huge cash incentives, as well as time off and excellent benefits. If one has a degree in software engineering, Google may be the first place they send off their resume, and for good reason; Google is fast becoming the single most aspirational company to work for in the world.
8 Autodesk - $128,000 (Median Salary)
Autodesk is a large software company that sells products to thousands of other companies a year. The average worker here makes a whopping $128k per year - and this is the median wage. Engineers at Autodesk make upwards of $138,000 per year. No matter what area one works at, he or she is sure to make a lot of money at Autodesk. Even interns at the company make over $30 per hour. The rest of the jobs are in - yes - management and computer software engineering.
7 Linkedin - $130,000 (Median Salary)
Millions of professionals from around the world have a Linkedin account. For those individuals, job seeking is the top priority. However, some actually work at Linkedin, and make a lot of money doing so. Interns here make almost $40 an hour, making it one of the best places in the world to nab an internship. Full-time workers are even luckier: The senior data scientist, for instance, make almost $155,000 per year.
6 Visa Inc. - $130,000 (Median Salary)
We all have a Visa credit card or at least we're entirely familiar with the company. While Engineers (of course) make over $120,000 per year, it is the business leaders that make the huge amounts of cash. The senior business leaders, for example, make $176,000 every year; and they undoubtedly deserve it for keeping this company the most dominant in the business.
5 Juniper Networks - $134,218 (Median Salary)
Juniper Networks makes networking equipment and one of the highest paying positions at the company is the staff engineer. These employees make $144,000 each year. The senior staff engineer makes even more, at $170k per year. But the other employees are making their fair share as well. The median salary is $134,218, which is incredibly high for any company.
4 A.T Kearney - $135,000 (Median Salary)
A global management consulting firm, A.T Kearney has clients all over the world. This is definitely a great company to work for. The median salary is $135k with managers making over $160k and Principals making over $210k each year. If one is lucky enough to land a job at this company, odds are he or she will be making well over $100k and receiving benefits on top of it.
3 Booz & Company - $140,000 (Median Salary)
Booz & Company is a branch of Global Management Consulting which is part of PricewaterhouseCoopers. It's difficult to land a job at the company, even with adequate training and experience, but if one is lucky enough to do so, he or she will most likely be making over $100k each year. Some of the lower consultants make around $75,000 per year but the median salary earned at the company is still incredibly high as it's inflated by the senior consultants' huge salaries.
2 Boston Consulting Group - $143,750 (Median Salary)
At Boston Consulting Group, even those who are not salaried annually make a lot of money at this company. The hourly consultants make $68 per hour, which is nothing to scoff at. Higher up consultants can make $200,000 per year, and it continues to rise from there. To have a median salary so high, it's no wonder that many wish to work for the company, although it's incredibly difficult to land a position at this prestigious company.
1 Apogee Medical - $220,000 (Median Salary)
Thanks to privatized health care, this medical company is paying its employees wildly high salaries. Patients are willing, or perhaps forced, to spend outrageous amounts on private healthcare in the US.
If a prospective graduate doesn't want to go into computer engineering or management, the healthcare field is an excellent area in which to earn the big bucks. Physicians here make over $100 an hour or $200k every year, making Apogee Medical one of the best places to work for high paying careers.