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 for the future. “Sounds reasonable,” you say, “but what specific positions should I focus on?”
Many are technical in nature. Ever-advancing technology opens up a wide variety of new and evolved roles, so many of the most promising professions require knowing and staying up to date with the latest digital innovations.
Not all jobs for the future are tech
However, not all jobs that are currently seeing growth (or projected to grow in the foreseeable future) necessitate being an all-around tech wiz. Some involve keeping up only with software and hardware relevant to your duties — which is a best practice in the digital age no matter what you do for a living.
Employers will depend on their employees to make strategic, informed decisions using data collected by artificial intelligence and analytics, while keeping a pulse on industry trends and their customers’ needs and wants.
But the necessary aptitudes don’t stop with knowing and following technology. For example, interpersonal skills are important now — and will be even more crucial in coming years, putting positions with an emphasis on project or people management and empathy in high demand.
Here are 13 of the jobs our data show as having some of the greatest long-term potential, and if you want to find their starting salaries, along with salary ranges based on location — access the Robert Half Salary Guide.
Read on to learn more about each hot job for the future:
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.
While the collection of data can be automated, the ability to translate, analyze and make business recommendations based off that 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.
DevOps engineers are the bridge between coding and engineering. They are in such strong demand because many companies are looking to accelerate their delivery of applications and services — and increase business agility and productivity. DevOps, as a practice, helps to shorten the software development life cycle and promotes more efficient processes in the IT organization, such as automation. And DevOps engineers embody that practice by working collaboratively across departments to develop new systems and improve existing ones faster and more efficiently.
DevOps engineers typically need several years of experience in automating applications, deploying infrastructure, and developing and administrating services using cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS). They also must be skilled at using a range of coding languages, from C++ to Python, configuration management tools for IT automation like Ansible and Chef, and software engineering and security architectures. Many employers also look for candidates with knowledge of Agile software development methodologies.
Working under the direction of the compliance director, a compliance manager in the legal field supervises the development of risk controls and oversees the efforts of the compliance administration team to implement internal procedures, processes and programs. People seeking this career should have a post-secondary degree and seven-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 managers are in high demand in the legal profession, especially those who possess strong leadership and organizational abilities, as well as analytical and interpersonal skills.
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 on accounting and finance teams 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 and data mining tools, as well as Excel pivot tables, 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.
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.
Marketing analytics manager
Marketing analytics managers are in high demand across the country. These professionals are responsible for providing data-driven insights to various stakeholders and leveraging information from marketing automation and customer relationship management software, and other business intelligence tools.
Strong analytical reasoning and collaboration skills are important, as marketing analytics managers often work with various partners and departments, like IT, operations, sales and marketing, to improve processes and meet business goals.
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 due to the rapid adoption of cloud computing and the rising use of IT services in the healthcare field.
Working with UX designers and development teams, UI designers shape and build a product or website’s wireframe. Their goal is to make sure every touchpoint that users come across in their interaction with a product is intuitive and conforms to the team’s overall vision. With strong visual design skills, coding expertise and an understanding of website layout best practices, UI designers are key players for creating interactive experiences with customers. And as more companies focus on improving the customer experience, job prospects for this position grow stronger.
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, 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.
Litigation support/eDiscovery analyst
Litigation is an active practice area, with many companies seeking guidance from outside law firms in areas related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is 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.
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 quality assurance. They supervise other customer service staff, who answer inquiries from providers and members about coverage, claims, benefits and other issues.
Stellar communication and leadership skills are a must, as well as the ability to maintain confidentiality.
Customer service representative
A customer service representative is responsible for maintaining solid customer relationships by handling questions and concerns with speed, professionalism and empathy. Companies look for job candidates with excellent communication abilities and data entry skills. The role also may require research skills to troubleshoot customer problems.