The rapid advancement of technology and the COVID-19 pandemic have profoundly affected the global work landscape. As the economy recovers from a tumultuous period, some industries are set to experience significant growth over the coming decade.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has identified the 20 fastest-growing jobs in high demand between 2020 and 2030. With a wide range of emerging sectors, there are many opportunities for job seekers searching for a new challenge.
1. Motion Picture Projectionist
According to the BLS, motion picture projectionist is the occupation with the fastest growth rate between now and 2030 (70%). Projectionists are responsible for setting up, operating, and maintaining media equipment.
They must know how to handle and use cameras, video equipment, film, slides, audio equipment, and projectors. Depending on the specific role, they may also need to have experience using computer software or editing programs, like Adobe Premiere.
Motion picture projectionists frequently work in cinemas, drive-in theaters, corporate events, film festivals, or networking functions. Besides operating the equipment, projectionists must know how to maintain and repair their equipment. They should be able to inspect all equipment and identify problems quickly.
Audiovisual, film studies or creative media courses can equip prospective projectionists with the necessary skills to find a job. However, many motion picture projectionists learn on the job as apprentices before acquiring a union examination. A high-school diploma or equivalent is typically sufficient for securing an entry-level position.
2. Wind Turbine Service Technician
Wind and solar energy growth are expected to continue in the coming decade. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the renewable electricity capacity introduced in 2020 increased by 45%. Governments are encouraged to implement sustainable directives and invest even more in wind energy. The BLS expects the growth rate for wind turbine service technicians to reach 68% between 2020 and 2030.
Wind technicians must attend and complete a two-year technical program to hold a specialist position. They learn how to install, inspect, maintain, operate, and repair wind turbines. After completing a relevant course from a technical school, turbine technicians typically undergo further on-the-job training for a year. When fully trained, a wind turbine service technician can identify and fix any issues that might cause a turbine to fail unexpectedly.
Some typical responsibilities for a technician include:
- Climbing turbine towers with equipment (which can be over 200 feet high)
- Inspecting the tower’s exterior and ensuring structural integrity
- Performing routine maintenance, repairs, and replacements
- Collecting turbine data for testing
- Testing all components and internal systems
- Troubleshooting failures and issues
Since a typical workday is spent suspended more than 200 feet in the air, prospective technicians must be comfortable operating at a significant height. Much of the work takes place in confined spaces where the electrical and mechanical components are located. Wind turbine technicians must be mechanically minded and physically strong.
3. Solar Photovoltaic Installer
Solar panel installers assemble, install, and maintain solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Depending on the solar company, you may deal predominantly with residential roof systems or larger commercial grids. The BLS expects this occupation to experience a 52% growth rate before 2030.
PV installers aren’t required to have a bachelor’s degree. However, technical training is necessary. Some solar companies provide training on the job, but you may have to attend and complete a course at a technical college.
The most important skills for a PV installer include:
- Knowledge of equipment and installation process
- Electrical wiring skills
- Problem-solving capabilities
- Building plan reading competency
- Experience using power tools
PV installers may have to spend a lot of time working at great heights. They also crouch, bend and kneel for long periods. Solar panel equipment can be heavy, so installers must be physically fit and capable of carrying at least 35 lbs.
4. Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Nurse practitioners are responsible for administering advanced primary and specialty nursing services at hospitals and healthcare facilities. They are trained to prescribe medications, assess and diagnose patients, and order or interpret medical testing.
NPs must have a Master’s degree from an accredited program. They must hold a valid license in the state where they work, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Key responsibilities of an NP involve:
- Examining and observing patients
- Keeping a record of patients’ medical history and symptoms
- Developing patient care plans
- Preparing, administering, and following up on diagnostic tests
- Operating medical equipment
- Administering medication and treatment
- Liaising with fellow healthcare workers and patient families
- Training patients and family members on injury and illness prevention
5. Information Security Analyst
An information security analyst is responsible for protecting an organization’s computer network from cybercrime. Their primary role revolves around designing, implementing, and maintaining security systems. They must also monitor network activity and react to security breaches or cybersecurity problems. An information analyst is also responsible for investigating violations and fixing vulnerable areas of the network.
As cloud computing and large networks are now at the forefront of all major businesses, this occupation is predicted to grow 33% by 2030. This industry is changing rapidly, so analysts must be current with the latest trends. Information security analysts are paid well, with a median salary of $103,590.
Cybercrime is on the rise so the demand for information security analysts is too. Large corporations like American Express and Accenture are always hiring security experts to bolster their networks. There is also a market for freelance or work-from-home analysts who specialize in providing security for small businesses. Some of the important qualifications and requirements recruiters look for include:
- Computer science bachelor’s degree
- MBA in information systems
- Experience in information security, computer network testing, and troubleshooting
- In-depth knowledge of firewalls, antivirus, proxies, SIEM, and IDPs
- Competency in identifying and mitigating network issues
- Communication abilities for teaching clients how to identify and avoid network vulnerabilities
- Knowledge and competency in patching
- Ability to determine appropriate security systems for particular businesses and niches
6. Physician Assistant (PA)
A physician assistant may work in different areas of the medical field, offering primary care to patients under the supervision of an attending physician. Their main role is to examine, diagnose, and treat patients. They may also assist with surgical procedures.
A PA typically works in a hospital, doctors’ surgery, outpatient clinic, or other health care facility. Although a PA can administer primary care to patients, they must do so under the supervision of an attending physician. They must hold a state license to practice medicine in their region.
Growing at a rate of 31%, the job outlook for PAs is bright. BLS predicts around 12,200 openings per year for the next decade. As a highly specialized medical position, it takes a lot of work to become a PA. The main requirements are:
- Master’s in PA education
- Clinical training
- 100 hours of instruction every two years (to remain certified)
- State license to practice medicine
- Ability to work under pressure
- High-level communication and interpersonal skills
- Empathetic and compassionate
Chefs and restaurant cooks are in high demand. BLS predicts approximately 432,000 openings every year until 2030. Depending on your skills, qualifications, and experience, the salary varies. Trained chefs who work in reputable restaurants may earn significantly more than a school, bar, or hospital cook.
Cooks are often required to work long hours, including early mornings, late nights, holidays, and weekends. Passion for food and an interest in the craft are usually necessary for a long and prosperous career in the culinary world. Some of the primary responsibilities of a chef involve:
- Maintaining quality standards for all food
- Menu planning in accordance with budget, availability, and season
- Managing all kitchen operations
- Leading and training kitchen staff
- Keeping track of inventory and ingredients
- Maintaining a sanitary workspace
While a recognized qualification isn’t always necessary to get a job as a cook, a culinary school degree or diploma is an advantage. Experience in the industry is the most important factor in securing a good position.
Other Fast-Growing Jobs
Some of the other fastest-growing jobs over the coming decade include:
- Home health and personal care aides
- Data scientists
- Ushers and lobby attendants
- Business managers
- Agents (representing artists, performers, and athletes)
- Fitness instructors
- Makeup artists
- Occupational therapy assistants
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