NEW YORK (MainStreet) The five most popular flexible jobs are nurse, data entry, marketing, writer and java developer, according to the Flexible Job Index, which tracks the most popular categories for flexible job postings.
The index found that the most abundant telecommuting, freelance, part-time and flexible job opportunities are in medical and health, administrative, education and training, sales and web and software development.
"That's a pretty broad mix, representing everything from doctors and case managers to professors and programmers," said Sara Sutton Fell, founder of FlexJobs.com.
While flexible jobs have their perks, trends like big data and mobile media are translating into six-figure paychecks for some professionals willing to work traditional 9 to 5 jobs.
"Positions in the six-figure range are a much higher risk for the company in question and therefore come with higher expectations," said Doug Brown, academic program manager at the Malcolm Baldrige School of Business at Post University.
According to the 2014 Salary Guide from Robert Half, positions that pay upwards of $100,000 annually include mobile application developers with salaries ranging from $100,000 to $144,000, business intelligence analyst with salaries ranging from $101,250 to $142,250 and information systems security managers with average starting salaries between $115,250 and $160,000.
"To position yourself for these jobs, it is important to learn how to target or niche market yourself into a particular industry, sub-sector and role," Brown told MainStreet.
Employers are offering increased compensation to skilled information technology (IT) and digital professionals who can assist with keeping information and networks secure, turn data into business intelligence and seize new opportunities in the mobile space.
"It's becoming imperative for companies to build their online presence and connect with customers through mobile channels but finding the specialized talent to design and develop for this fast-evolving space can be difficult," said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group.
Experienced mobile applications developers can expect to see a 7.8% increase in starting compensation, the largest of any tech position listed in this year's Salary Guide because companies are expanding their mobile initiatives to connect with consumers anytime, anywhere and they need professionals who can develop for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
"Employers make huge investments in all of their employees but even more so with employees in the six-figure salary range," said Brown. "For this reason, the standards for landing that kind of money are much higher than other positions and come with an increased level of scrutiny as employers will naturally be choosy."
Skilled business intelligence analysts can anticipate a 7.4% boost in starting compensation in 2014, because organizations of all types want to derive more value from the data they generate, collect and store by turning it into actionable intelligence.
"Companies want to use their information more strategically but they struggle to find skilled professionals who can analyze raw data," Reed said.
User experience designers can expect to see an increase of 7.5% in salary this year since designing engaging user experiences is essential to the success of any mobile or web initiative and requires specialized talent.
--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet