Top 5 Careers in the DMV and the Skills Required

Have you ever thought about which careers are considered the best to have? Whether you’re just starting or finishing school and trying to figure out what you would like to with the rest of your life, thinking about switching jobs and wanting to see what’s out there, or you’re just curious about other professions in general, this list will show you the top five careers in the Washington, D.C./Maryland/Virginia metro area (DMV) and the skills required for each. And who knows—maybe you’re already qualified to jump into one of these premium professions!

Top 5 DMV Careers

It’s important to note that only professions which are in high demand in the DMV will be included on this list—to the exclusion of jobs which would rank higher across the country on average. For example, certain physicians and pharmacy managers have the highest median base salaries out of all jobs in the United States as of 2019, but they don’t have the same level of demand in the DMV as some other careers with slightly lower salaries.


First up on the list of the top five careers in the DMV is dentist. Dentists are physicians who specialize in oral health, and some of their responsibilities include general check-ups, cleanings, filling cavities in teeth, tooth extractions, and other minor surgical procedures.

Some of the skills required:

  • A high level of interpersonal communication skills
  • Concentration and the ability to focus for long periods of time
  • Manual dexterity
  • A sympathetic bedside manner

Median base salary: $142,478

Enterprise architect states that “an enterprise architect (EA) is an enterprise architecture specialist that works closely with stakeholders, including management and subject matter experts (SMEs), to develop a view of an organization’s strategy, information, processes, and IT assets.” In simpler terms, an enterprise architect studies the impact different elements within a business have on one another, and makes adjustments necessary to satisfy an organization’s business requirements.

Some skills required:

  • Leadership skills and the ability to collaborate
  • Effective communicator both verbally and written
  • Extensive expertise in software, hardware and systems engineering
  • Proficiency with financial modelling
  • General customer service and time management skills

Median base salary: $122,585

Software engineering manager

Another tech-oriented profession that both pays well and is in high demand in the DMV is that of a software engineering manager. Software engineering managers are responsible for overseeing the design and development of software applications while directing the day-to-day performance responsibilities of the software engineers.

Some skills required:

  • Technical ability in software engineering
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Effective communication

Median base salary: $114,163

Nurse practitioner

Our second entry in the field of healthcare, nurse practitioners have no shortage of opportunities within the DMV. Nurse practitioners are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses with education and training allowing them to practice in “primary care, acute care, and long-term healthcare settings” according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. In some states, nurse practitioners even have what’s known as “full practice authority” which allows them to operate their own practices and even prescribe medication without being under the supervision of a doctor.

Some skills required:

  • The ability to be compassionate
  • Good communicator
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking skills
  • Ability to adapt

Median base salary: $109,481

Data architect

“A data architect is an individual who is responsible for designing, creating, deploying, and managing an organization’s data architecture,” according to Essentially, a data architect creates, organizes, and manages expansive electronic databases which will be used by large numbers of people to help achieve the goals of the business. This is a highly skilled position where even a single small mistake can cost a company many thousands or even millions of dollars.

Some skills required:

  • Extreme attention to detail
  • Ability to write strong code
  • Vast knowledge of data modelling and database design
  • Experienced with established and emerging data technologies

Median base salary: $104,840

Finally, you might have noticed our list is dominated by jobs within the tech and healthcare industries—this phenomenon is not exclusive to the DMV. Just about wherever you go, these two fields will consistently produce the highest paying jobs with the most demand.

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