The 12 Best Jobs for the Future

By Robert Half July 24, 2018 at 6:00am

When contemplating your career plans, focus not only on the kind of work that fits you well now but also on what offers a path to the best jobs of the future. “Sounds reasonable,” you say, “but what specific positions should I focus on?”

Many are technical in nature. Ever-advancing technology has opened up a wide variety of new and evolving roles, so many of the most promising professions require knowing and staying up to date with the latest digital innovations.

However, not all jobs that are seeing growth or projected to grow in the foreseeable future necessitate being a tech wiz. Some involve knowing only specific software and hardware relevant to your duties — which is a best practice in the digital age no matter what you do for a living.

Here are 12 of the jobs our data show as having some of the greatest long-term potential, including their salaries from our Robert Half Salary Guides.

Read on to learn more about each job:

Mobile applications developer

Mobile development continues to generate traction across industries. And as more businesses rely on mobile technology to reach customers, demand for mobile applications developers will continue to increase. These professionals are in the driver’s seat when it comes to designing and recommending enhancements to smartphone- and tablet-based software. They work on new deployments, app coding, testing and debugging.

The midpoint salary for a mobile app developer is $141,000, and the outlook is bright. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports hiring for software developers is projected to increase 24 percent by 2026 — much faster than the average rate of growth across all professions.

Use our Salary Calculator to adjust starting salaries to your location.

Data architect

While the collection of data can be automated, the translation, analysis and ability to make business recommendations based off the data is in high demand from employers. As the Internet of Things (IoT) grows and more devices and sensors become interconnected, the volume of available data is only going to expand. To help manage and derive value from it, businesses need skilled data architects who can translate information into specific database solutions.

Data architects need analytical and creative skills, plus in-depth knowledge of data systems and database methodology. They need to communicate effectively, plan and coordinate data resources, and translate business requirements into database solutions. Familiarity with Oracle, Microsoft SQL servers and other systems — like Unix, Linux, Solaris and Microsoft Windows — is essential. Data architect jobs are plentiful across the nation, particularly in tech hubs like Austin, Texas; New York; San Francisco; and Seattle. The midpoint salary for a data architect is $130,000.

UX designer

User experience (UX) designers are responsible for how a product or website feels. Their job is to zero in on users’ underlying emotional and functional needs and help create an enjoyable digital experience based on those discoveries. UX designers conduct usability testing and consult with clients to understand their goals and intentions.

The growth of mobile and web development leads to continued demand for this role. Cities like Austin, New York, San Francisco and Seattle have particularly active markets. Today, the midpoint salary for a UX designer is around $93,000 — and it’s likely to rise in the future.

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Digital strategist

Digital strategists identify digital marketing strategies and campaigns for meeting a company’s or client’s goals. To succeed in this role, you must be knowledgeable about web analytics and optimization, search engine optimization and search engine marketing, and customer relationship management software. You also need an in-depth understanding of traditional marketing methods. Digital strategists also inform various stakeholders about progress, benchmarks and overall success of digital marketing initiatives, so good communication skills are a must.

Job prospects for this position are strong. As more companies reach customers through digital channels, hiring for the role continues to expand. The current midpoint salary is $91,250.

Business intelligence analyst

Companies have embraced the use of big data analysis, which has increased their activities in data mining and reporting. As a result, the need for business intelligence analysts has grown exponentially. This job involves turning raw data into actionable insights and developing reporting solutions that work across the organization. People who succeed in this role have solid analytical, troubleshooting and problem-solving skills, along with proficiency with using business intelligence, data mining and Excel pivot table tools to analyze data. An education in finance, business or information systems is typically required. Relaying results and making recommendations to senior management necessitates high-level communication skills.

The current midpoint salary for a senior business intelligence analyst is $91,000, but due to the high demand for the role, employers may be willing to pay more for candidates who have additional qualifications, such as the CPA certification or specific industry expertise.

Learn how to help your career with big data analysis.

Systems analyst

Systems analysts help business and IT teams find technical solutions to business problems. They play a central role in the planning and execution of projects, and they may serve as a liaison between IT and end users. Duties include analyzing hardware and software issues, writing and maintaining systems documentation, and translating user and system requirements into functional technical specifications.

Hiring for systems analysts is projected to increase 9 percent by 2026, according to the BLS, largely because of the rapid adoption of cloud computing and the rising use of IT services in the health field. Currently, systems analysts earn a midpoint salary of $91,000.

Digital marketing manager

There is strong demand for digital marketing managers across North America, especially in Charlotte, North Carolina; Cleveland; Houston; Minneapolis; Philadelphia; and San Francisco.

Professionals in this role develop, implement and oversee digital marketing campaigns that promote a company and its products or services. They enhance brand awareness within the digital space and drive website traffic, sales and leads. Strong digital marketing managers have technical and analytical skills and experience in marketing research and analysis, campaign strategy, and web analytics. The midpoint salary is $80,000.

Compliance analyst

Working under the direction of the compliance manager, a compliance analyst in the legal field assists in the development of risk controls and works with the compliance administration team to implement internal procedures, processes and programs. People seeking this career should have a post-secondary degree and four-plus years of compliance and audit experience in a relevant field. Due to frequently changing regulatory mandates and increasingly strict enforcement, the practice area is expected to continue to grow.

Compliance analysts are in high demand in the legal profession, especially those who are familiar with industry software programs and possess strong organizational and communication skills. Candidates with four to six years of experience can expect average salaries at a midpoint of $72,250.

Business analyst

Business analysts bridge the gap between business and IT. They determine business unit needs and plan, implement and improve business information systems across multiple departments, ensuring business data and reporting needs are met. Companies hire for this role when they want to act on business intelligence and make data-driven decisions. People with experience in financial analysis, data flow analysis and project management are strong candidates.

These jobs are in high demand, especially in San Francisco and Minneapolis, and it can be difficult to fill these positions across industries. Previously considered a subset of general business skills, business analytics is a field with space to build a lucrative career thanks to explosive growth since it came into its own. Business analysts with one to three years of experience can expect to earn a starting salary around $67,000.

Litigation support/eDiscovery analyst

Litigation is expected to yield the greatest number of jobs in the legal field over the next two years, according to the 2018 Robert Half Legal Salary Guide, driving demand for lawyers and paralegals with litigation support and eDiscovery backgrounds.

Employers typically seek litigation support/eDiscovery analysts with a juris doctor or bachelor’s degree and proficiency in the latest industry software. Strong project management abilities, attention to detail and interpersonal skills are needed to support litigation matters and liaise with external firms and service providers. The midpoint salary for a candidate with one to two years of experience is $61,500. Hiring for this position should increase as law firms and companies focus on keeping pace with technological advancements, federal rulings and new regulations.

Member services/enrollment manager

In the healthcare field, member services managers are responsible for the quality assurance of the organization. They supervise other customer service staff, who answer inquiries from providers and members about coverage, claims, benefits and other issues.

Stellar communication skills are a must, as well as the ability to maintain confidentiality and demonstrate leadership. The midpoint salary for member services/enrollment managers is $55,000.

Customer service manager

These professionals direct a team of customer service specialists and help resolve escalated or difficult issues regarding customer complaints and other problems. They evaluate overall team performance and work closely with managers in other departments.

The customer service industry continues to grow — particularly the call center sector — making these jobs especially sought after. Overall, employment in the customer service sector is expected to increase 5 percent by 2026. Plus, companies will need supervisors and managers to direct the new teams. Excellent communication skills are an absolute must. Currently, the midpoint salary for a customer service manager is $44,000.

Are you trying to forecast your future career? Download the 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide to learn more about compensation and hiring trends in your industry.

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