The first job right out of college is one of the major life decisions that freshers have to carefully ponder on before going all in. After all, finding a job that justifies all those all-nighters back in university is not that easy. With an ever-changing work landscape, jobs that exist today may become obsolete in 20 years, so it's nearly impossible to future-proof your career when change seems to be the only thing constant—just think about how talks on disruptive tech innovations and AI have made its way into our daily conversations.
Navigating the future can be quite a daunting task, so let me first help you understand what the current landscape is: Data scientists have emerged as one of the fastest-growing professions, having recorded the highest growth rate over the past five years. Other technical roles such as artificial intelligence specialists, Python developers, and DevOps engineers also ranked high. The predominance of tech roles reflects the world’s speed of digitization. However, to my non-engineering background friends, fret not—positions ranging from business intelligence analyst to graphic designers have also found places on this list, as soft skills like creativity and customer retention abilities have begun to gain traction, underscoring the importance of human intervention at every level of digitization.
So which opportunities have presented themselves in our tech-dominated world? In this article, I've listed down 10 promising jobs in 2020 (and possibly beyond) to give you an overview of the highly sought-after industries along with the median salary of the positions being offered, irrespective of your work experience. So for the entry-level folks out there, fear not, you'll be able to find new paths to help you prepare for an unpredictable future.
The emergence of big data and artificial intelligence led to the creation of this lucrative job that only began to gain traction during the dotcom bubble. As the name implies, data scientists manage and analyze massive amounts of data then glean insights from the gathered data to drive effective business decisions that help companies reach their targets. It has already proven to be highly effective and indispensable in the retail, telecom, marketing, healthcare, and educational industries.
According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), there were 31,700 data scientist job openings last 2018. The median salary is $118,370 and the job outlook from 2018 to 2028 is expected to spike at least 40%. Technological skills needed include Python, R, and SQL, but business acumen is also mandatory considering data scientists need to know which decisions best drive businesses forward.
Data science and machine learning often go hand in hand in taking the world by storm, and has woven into every aspect of our lives, from the facial recognition software on your iPhone to your homie Alexa. Not only do machine learning engineers keep all sorts of nerve-wracking problems at bay but also brighten our lives by alleviating our inconveniences. Every industry needs machine learning engineers.
According to LinkedIn’s 2019 report, job openings for machine learning have grown 96% with $182,000 being the median salary. In India alone, there are over 78,000 job vacancies in the machine learning and data science fields. Skills such as data mining, artificial intelligence, and python are needed for this post.
The 21st-century human does everything online, therefore well-functioning websites have become basic necessities. That being said, full-stack developers have the crucial roles in developing both the front-end and the back-end of websites, aligning the interface with the customers' needs.
Like full-stack developers, DevOps engineers have a huge impact on how technology can be utilized and applied in an organization. Both aim to make applications flexible, agile and scalable. DevOps is a combination of skillset including development, operation, and quality assurance. For DevOps engineers, they have to improve communication and collaboration efficiency between different teams such as software development, IT operations, and quality assurance. DevOps is, in fact, a beneficial culture that should be integrated in companies’ everyday operations for it efficiently diminishes barriers between operation and development, reduce risk and increase competitiveness. It lays the groundwork for any company’s further development.
According to Indeed, the average salary of DevOps engineers is around $127,000 per year.
According to TIOBE Index, Python is ranked as the world’s 3rd most popular programming language among software developers. In fact, lots of tech juggernauts prefer to use Python in writing their systems. Take Google for example, it uses Python for everything from its AI algorithms to its App Engine Cloud. Numerous machine learning libraries are also written in Python.
Python developers usually create the back-end components, linking web applications to other web services. Companies in the following industries are constantly looking for Python developers: information technology and services, computer software, marketing, and advertising, and financial services.
Indispensable to most companies, these engineers help individuals troubleshoot and solve computer-related problems as well as help set up new equipment. The job outlook is expected to grow 10% according to the BLS, and the median salary in 2018 was around $53,470.
It’s often regarded as a transitional job as most people tend to pivot to network administrators or information technology directors after a couple of years because the latter positions offer a higher salary.
Compared to other web-related professions, user interface (UI) development is regarded as more comprehensive and shapes the way we interact with the digital world. It’s a profession that combines programming, psychology and creative design, allowing users to have a seamless and efficient digital experience.
Through 2020 and beyond, countless businesses will launch new computer systems and web-based applications so demand for talented user interface developers will continue to rise. UI developers must be adept in domains such as web, software and mobile application development.
Graphic design encompasses a wide range of disciplines including iconography, web design, and identity design. Designers take on the responsibility of creating visually impactful concepts and materials that are able to attract certain audiences or target markets. It’s a profession that's highly sought-after by side-hustlers as the gig economy continues to gain traction. Graphic design mercenaries can sell their services to the highest bidder on a per contract basis. Based on a survey that has been conducted 5 years in a row, graphic design still remains as one of the fields that people aim to get into even by those who are looking for the stability of a full-time desk job.
According to the BLS, the job outlook of graphic designers is expected to grow 24 to 26%. The median salary in 2018 was around $50,370.
Business intelligence analysts use data collected by the company to maximize profits and boost efficiency. By querying databases effectively, they produce reports and identify trends in order to generate actionable business insights. A strong business acumen with solid problem-solving, critical thinking and presentation skills are the minimum job requirements. When it comes to technical skills, database design and data mining are necessary as analysts have to handle all variants of SQL.
Job outlook is expected to grow 14% through 2024 according to the BLS. The average salary of a business intelligence analyst is around $71,049.
Have you or any of your acquaintances recently experienced stiff neck or back pain? Yes? That's because using computers almost 24/7 is the new norm in today’s world. This is where physical therapists come into the picture: they help people improve their mobility, flexibility and pain management. Aside from helping people deal with their functional back and neck problems, injuries related to sports, and other chronic conditions, therapists also provide rehabilitation services, and advise people on how to prevent injuries. As populations age, this job continues to stay relevant. It’s a profession spanning across many domains of learning: medicine, psychology (knowledge of human behavior to treat physical disorders), anatomy, therapy and counseling.
According to the BLS, physical therapists earned around $87,390 in 2018 and the job outlook looks positive with a projected growth of 22% from 2018 to 2028.
This detailed guide has listed the 10 most promising jobs in 2020. If you are a keen observer, you must've realized that many of the jobs listed here are relatively new and tech-related. Many of today’s jobs stem from scientific and technological advances; because this is a continuing trend, it means that there are many new jobs that don’t exist yet.
You can never be certain what the future holds. That’s why as freshers, you have to keep grinding and always be prepared to face the uncertainties. As long as you are aware of your goal and know which path to take, you’ll do just fine.
Annie is currently a translation and interpretation graduate student who spends most of her time at home surrounded by books and freshly-made food. Whenever she yearns for nature, she’d hop on a bus or ride a bike to the nearest park where she would proceed to empty her mind and call it a day.