At the end of every year, we often take stock of what’s transpired, some wins and losses, and what we want to improve in the coming 365 days. In the jobs industry, it’s no different. Because the job market can be volatile, especially in this technology age, scanning and predicting emerging trends can mean the difference between career success and becoming outmoded.
Determining what makes a career field more appealing can be based on a number of factors. Demand, pay, level of skills required, the future of the industry (will it be obsolete in ten years?) and overall industry culture all play a role. We came up with our own algorithm for hot jobs for 2018. The first qualifier is pay, then demand, then future viability. Without further ado, here’s our list for top jobs in 2018.
Average Base Pay: $180,000
Demand: 15% growth from 2016-2026
Future Obsolescence: Someday, but not for a long time
This age-old profession still holds true in terms of pay, demand, and future viability. Yes, the powers-that-be are working on remote technology, robotic surgeons, and other automated services to replace physicians. But, we think the use of these technologies wholesale are a long way off. We are, after all, dealing with human life. While there is a lot of school and a long wait to reach these salary levels, it does pay off, both in income and in job satisfaction. After all, what’s better than saving lives?
2. App Developer Manager
Average Base Pay: $108,000
Demand: 24% growth from 2016-2026
Future Obsolescence: Not anytime anywhere near soon
All those little apps you have on your smartphone? We use them on tablets and computers too. Apps are downloaded onto your device and represent quick, simplified access to a process or activity. If you want to access your bank account, it’s a lot easier and quicker to do it on your app than to login on a web browser. And now, everyone wants one. All major (and minor) companies see the value in having apps built for them, and it shows. The field is projected to grow a whopping 24% in the next eight years.
3. R&D Manager
Average Base Pay: $112,000
Demand: Medium to High
Future Obsolescence: A critical thinking profession that won’t be replaced by computers easily.
This profession spans the gamut, from biomedical engineering to forestry to food production. If you are interested in developing new products and want to be a part of the research that goes into a new product, this is a great field for you. As of last check, there were over 115,000 positions in Glassdoor nationally for the keyword “research and development manager.”
4. UX Designer
Average Base Pay: $86,000
Future Obsolescence: When computers can problem solve AND make things pretty, this job will be obsolete.
UX Designer is an emerging field in software production. The growing complexity and capability of software has made it essential that someone is managing the usability of all these interfaces and tools. Most, if not all, of us have experienced frustration when using an online program, website, or app. UX Designers, when employed correctly, make using these products easy and headache free. And, bonus, there is lots of room for growth in the industry. UX Design team leads make in excess of $125,000 per year.
5. Plant Manager
Average Base Pay: $97,000
Future Obsolescence: Not likely in the next ten years or so
While plants and factories are becoming increasingly more automated, these plants still need a human to watch over operations and keep things running smoothly. And, we aren’t yet to the point where any factory or plant is even close to human-less. Most large operations still employ hundreds of people. Plant managers deal with those people, along with acquisitions, budgeting, and quality control. Yes, someday all manufacturing facilities will be almost completely devoid of human interference, but we think at least one human will be needed for a long time to come.
6. Scrum Master
Average Base Pay: $95,000
Future Obsolescence: Won’t happen for a long time
Scrum masters have also been called product owners or developers. Scrum is a working style for software teams that’s meant to increase productivity in an organized, efficient way. When developing software, often there are many details that go missed, leaving an otherwise great product lacking in some areas. Also, it’s easy to get tangled up from design to development through multiple iterations. A scrum master follows rigid rules and makes the team an efficient software factory.
7. Nurse Practitioner
Average Base Pay: $104,000
Demand: Predicted 19% growth by 2020
Future Obsolescence: See “Physician” above
Nurse practitioners have many of the same qualities as a full M.D., but they don’t have to go through as much school. N.P.’s can write prescriptions, diagnose and make treatment recommendations, just like a physician. But, they have to operate under the license of a physician. So, an N.P. make less annually, but also takes on less liability. Nurse practitioners also have more flexible schedules, making it possible for them to have more time for family and other non-work activities.
8. Data Architect
Average Base Pay: $102,000
Future Obsolescence: Someday, but not soon.
These are the people who connect all the data we use to the front-facing parts of the software we use. Behind all those pretty interfaces are billions of bits of data, and someone has to built the framework that brings that data to you. It’s not a glamorous job, but it pays well, and it’s unlikely to be outmoded anytime soon.
Average Base Pay: $126,000
Future Obsolescence: When computers and robots can accurately dose and dispense drugs without human intervention, this job will be obsolete.
Pharmacists are paid well and don’t have to complete the same schooling as a physician. While pharmacists must have a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, the whole process can be completed in six years if the student stays on track. Yes, this field is at higher risk for becoming outmoded by automation. But, we think there are many more years of growth for this profession, largely because it’s a life-preserving field.
10. Patent Attorney
Average Base Pay: $140,000
Future Obsolescence: Unlike other law professions, this one may last.
Attorneys are quickly losing clients to the magic of online legal forms and advice. While you can craft a non-disclosure for free online, you can’t negotiate with the patent courts to form a new patent. This type of attorney must problem-solve on a level that’s often unattainable to most people. And getting a patent is serious business, something that inventors and business owners won’t leave to change.