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Jobs Parents Just Don’t Understand


Many of the jobs workers are doing today didn’t exist 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. The world has been moving pretty fast, and our elders may struggle at times to keep up with all the innovation, technology, and novelty of today’s work world. LinkedIn’s recent survey found that one out of three parents has trouble understanding what their child does for a living, and half of them think they could be more supportive if they knew more. If your parents don’t get what you do, here’s how to explain it to them.


(Photo Credit: Stuart Miles/

Some professions are more misunderstood than others. Here are the top three.

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1. User Interface Designer $60,479 average annual salary.

With a whopping 74 percent of parents who don’t understand, user interface designer tops the list as the most incomprehensible job title today. If this is your profession, try explaining it to your parents by walking them through some examples that they use every day: the shopping cart on, for example. Explain that you design the parts of websites or software applications that people interact with. Maybe show them a little of the fancy coding you know while you’re at it. After all, we know that seeing that mystified look on their faces kind of delights you.

2. Actuary $79,583 average annual salary.

If you’re an actuary, there’s a 72 percent chance that your parents don’t understand what you do. If you’d like them to know more, try explaining that you analyze data and use your awesome critical thinking and problem solving abilities to estimate the cost to insure clients. Communicating complex information in a way that people can understand is kind of your thing, so you should be great breaking it down for your folks.

3. Data Scientist $96,580 average annual salary.

Sixty-two percent of the parents of data scientists do not understand the job. Like actuaries, you possess both great analytical and communication skills, which you can harness to explain your work. Tell them that you advise organizations about future decisions based on your analysis of complex information. You use the most advanced technology to find patterns and trends, and you usually work as a part of a team. That should help, a little bit at least.

To see more, check out the complete top 10 list.

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