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Yahoo! Finance Special Edition
25 Top Jobs for 2005
1. Personal Financial Adviser

What they do: Work and business are about more than money, but money still matters. Just like your career, you need to manage your money. Financial advisers do what the job says: advise people on their personal financial matters. That definition isn't helpful? OK. They review how risk averse clients are and strive to establish an investment strategy, including estate planning, that meets their needs. Some even sell insurance.

Why it's hot: Because retirement is quickly approaching for many baby boomers, more and more people are taking a hard look at their nest egg to see if they can stop working sooner rather than later. The complexity and wide range of financial and investing options makes a little personal attention from a professional very attractive. All of this adds up to very strong job growth -- almost 35% through 2012. A college degree is a must, and salary prospects are among the very best, ranging between $28,330 and $145,600. And that's just as high as the BLS data goes; a personal finance advisor could earn millions.

Job Growth Index: 58.71
Education Index: 82.31
Salary Range Index: 87.95
Innovation Index: 0

Profile: Ron Gong, personal finance adviser, Harris MyCFO

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2. Medical Scientist

What they do: It's a broad category, but think lab coats and microscopes. Many work within an academic setting, while others can find employment in the government, biotech, and pharmaceutical industries.

Why the job is hot: This job rates especially high for innovation because of the creativity and problem solving needed for medical research. Future job prospects are strong because spending on research for diseases such as cancer, AIDS, and Parkinson's Disease is expected to increase. The job normally requires a doctorate. Most research is funded by grants, which means that the pay can be less than spectacular -- even if it can exceed $100,000.

Job Growth Index: 45.68
Education Index: 98.28
Salary Range Index: 60
Innovation Index: 96

Profile: George Q. Daley, stem cell researcher, Harvard University

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3. Computer Software Engineer

What they do: The applications you use on your computer didn't write themselves, you know. That's where these guys -- and gals -- come in. Software engineers not only write programs; they also help companies adopt and integrate new technologies smoothly.

Why the job is hot: It looks like computers are here to stay and that they might have a significant role in the future, so job growth is strong to say the least. In fact, the software industry grew 6% in 2004 alone. Normally, a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or science is sufficient to get a good position, meaning the job ranks high on the education index, but not quite at the top. The profession is well paying, but only a gold mine for those with unique, specialized skills.

Job Growth Index: 61.24
Education Index: 70.80
Salary Range Index: 69.67
Innovation Index: 38

Profile: Colonel Casey Wardynski, project originator and director, "America's Army"

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