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Canada’s Best Jobs 2015: Statistician & Actuary

UPDATED! Click here for 2017’s ranking of Canada’s Best Jobs »

(Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star/Getty)

Median Salary: $89,606.40
Change in Salary (2008–2014): +38%
Total Employees: 12,000
Change in Employees (2008–2014): +48%

The explosion of data produced by the digital economy has led to a surging need for specialists able to pull business insights out of terabyte-sized databases. If you have a head for numbers, this quickly developing field likely has a use for your talents. Though traditional fields like finance and insurance are still destinations, data scientists are finding their skills in demand in communications, retail, natural resources, and many more fields besides.

MORE: How the age of Big Data made statistics the hottest job around

How to qualify: Post-secondary education in mathematics, computer science or both is the starting point. Several Canadian universities offer specialized degrees in actuarial studies to enter the financial and insurance business; there are a smaller number of master’s degrees cropping up aimed at applying data sciences to a wider range of fields, along with some certificate programs aimed at professionals already working in business.

Money: Demand has fuelled a dramatic rise in wages in the last five years, to almost $90,000. And the dawning awareness of just how much business value can be unlocked by a skilful analyst has made employers more likely to pay competitively.

Opportunity: Growth has been exceptionally strong in this field, with the number of employees increasing nearly 50% just in the last five years. Employment and Social Development Canada projects slower growth through 2022, but its projections may not encompass the growing occupational diversity of this field and the number of industries to which it’s applicable. Many people in this field are finding themselves pioneering the job for a company that never employed a data scientist before, so be prepared to blaze a trail if necessary.

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