Choosing the right career means following your passion…but it also means pursuing a profession that’s practical, with a positive growth outlook and opportunities for advancement. To help point you in the right direction, we compiled a list of the most in-demand jobs for the next decade.
Some work with cutting-edge technology, like artificial intelligence, while others provide services that have been around almost as long as humans themselves, like medical care and food preparation. This diversity demonstrates that it’s possible to find a great job with strong prospects no matter what your level of education or experience.
13 most in-demand jobs to future-proof your career
A chronic shortage of registered nurses has been a problem for years now due to high turnover, a lack of educators and low nursing school enrollment. The shortage has eased a bit since the pandemic subsided, but nurses can still expect strong and stable job opportunities for the foreseeable future.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts close to 200,000 nursing openings over the next decade. Some of the most in-demand specialties include psychiatric/mental health, critical care and home health nurses.
Overall job growth for physicians has slowed, but demand is on the rise for one particular segment of doctors: psychiatrists. Psychiatrists diagnose, treat and help prevent mental disorders and illnesses, which is particularly relevant at a time when mental health is becoming a more prominent issue on the national stage.
Like other physicians, psychiatrists enjoy a high earning potential and the prestige that comes with helping improve the well-being of others for a living. This role is also more suited to routine hours (like a 9-to-5 schedule), which can’t be said for all healthcare professions, making it a viable option for those who want a career in medicine without many of the professional downsides.
3. Physician assistant
If you’re interested in a career in healthcare but find the cost and commitment of medical school too daunting, consider a career treating patients as a physician assistant. PAs examine, diagnose and care for patients in hospitals, clinics and other settings under the guidance of a physician.
While still rigorous, the education required to become a PA typically takes three years as opposed to the seven to ten years required to complete medical school and residency. Job growth is also much stronger than for general physicians, with a 28% increase in openings projected for the next ten years making it one of the most in-demand jobs for the future.
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4. Software developer
The work of a software developer is as diverse as the technology they design. They may write code, debug problems, find ways to make existing programs more efficient, or come up with completely new ideas to make our lives easier using technology. Software developers are employed in every industry that uses computers, which today is pretty much all of them.
The median pay for software developers is over $100,000 a year and the BLS predicts more than 370,000 new job openings over the next decade. It’s easy to see why U.S. News gives this position the top spot on its list of the 100 best jobs.
5. Information security analyst
The threat of cyberattack is real and growing for businesses of all sizes. As the threat grows, so does the need for talented information security analysts who can help companies develop and maintain strong cyber defenses.
An information security analyst develops the strategies that keep an organization safe from data breaches and other forms of virtual attack. Their primary skills are in information systems, with secondary skills in engineering and mathematics. The BLS predicts massive job growth of 35% by 2031, with the average analyst earning a sizable salary of $102,000.
6. Machine learning engineer
Experts say we’ve only scratched the surface of what artificial intelligence can do. Machine learning engineers will help us discover and develop the rest of AI’s capabilities. This role is responsible for building the algorithms and data sets that enable machines to learn on their own.
As organizations in all industries and parts of the globe begin to capitalize on this technology, knowledgeable engineers will be required to help them do so in a practical and responsible manner. The average machine learning engineer make six figures, with top earners clearing a quarter-of-a-million dollars a year.
7. Data scientist
If you’re the type of person who’s great at spotting patterns and explaining why things happen, you might be a budding data scientist. Companies tap professionals in this role to help bring order to sets of information and use that information to make decisions. For example, a data scientist might analyze a company’s sales data to understand why purchases have fallen off in one particular region, then predict sales for the next quarter.
Data scientists will experience huge job growth of 36% over the next ten years, with an average salary of just under $101,000.
8. Web developer
It’s hard to fathom the number of websites that exist, but intelligent estimates put the figure at about one billion and growing daily. With this number in mind, it should come as no surprise that web developers are one of the most in demand roles in any field. Developers build and maintain websites, ensuring that they work as intended and facilitate easy user interaction.
Many web developers are self-taught, with experience being paramount to formal education for career advancement. Development jobs are expected to grow in number by 23% by 2031.
9. Marketing manager
While it’s true that many aspects of marketing can now be automated, marketing managers still play a key role in masterminding the strategies that help brands communicate ideas and sell products. Professionals in this role are typically employed by companies and agencies, or are self-employed.
Growth is projected at a healthy 10%, with close to 350,000 new positions expected in the next ten years.
One of the most important aspects of a job being “future proof” is the element of doing something that a machine cannot. While computers are valuable tools for designers, they have yet to replace the human capacity for creativity that sets designers apart.
Designers use a variety of tools to create visual concepts that capture attention, communicate information and inspire the viewer. They’re employed by for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations and even governmental agencies. Some of the most in-demand types of design jobs are UI/UX designers, web designers and motion graphics designers.
11. Solar installer
Solar installers are the experts who set up and maintain the large pieces of equipment that convert solar power into usable energy. This profession is expected to grow 27% over the next decade in alignment with the increased movement toward more renewable energy sources.
If you hate being tied to a desk, this is a great career option for you as solar installers work almost exclusively in the field on job sites.
12. Wind turbine technician
Wind turbine technicians run and repair the massive turbines that convert wind energy into electricity. This renewable energy job is in even higher demand than its counterparts in solar energy, with projected ten-year growth of 44%
Wind turbine technicians typically do not require a formal degree, instead relying on on-the-job training to obtain the necessary expertise.
For all the technology at our fingertips in the modern world, there’s one thing machines still can’t do better than humans on a large scale: cook. From personal chefs to fast-food line cooks, culinary skills will be one of the most in-demand jobs in the future.
One of the great things about this profession is there’s almost no barrier to entry; many jobs require only a high school diploma. Talented cooks can expand into the upper echelons of the profession with culinary school or other specialized training.