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7. Market Research Analyst

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Market Research Analyst
Median pay: $63,100
Top pay: $97,700
10-year job growth: 41.2%
Total jobs*: 282,700
What they do all day? Coke or Pepsi? Android or iPhone? Chevy or Toyota? You know what you like. It's the job of market research analysts to find out why. From direct surveys to dissecting buckets of data, they track what consumers want -- and what it would take to change their minds.

How to get the job? A head for numbers with a background in statistics, computer science and economics are essential to being more, um, marketable, as it were. The ability to distill those numbers into useful reports is a must.

What makes it great? An analyst is a key member of the team that develops great new products. The position runs across all industries that need research. And it's got the second-highest growth rate of all the jobs on our list.

What's the catch? Analysts who don't need glasses yet, will soon enough. They spend hours poring over facts, figures and numbers. It's a detail-driven field that operates under tight deadlines and has potential for long hours. --T.Z.

Quality of life ratings:
Personal satisfaction Low stress Benefit to society Flexibility
B C C C
Published: October 29, 2012
Notes: All pay data from PayScale.com. Median pay is for an experienced worker (at least five or seven years in the field). Top pay represents the 90th percentile. Job growth is estimated for 2010-20, and based on people working in broader 'job family' from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
*Total jobs is estimated number of people working in broader BLS 'job family.'

Sources: PayScale.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and CNNMoney research
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