Nine of the Hottest Careers to Pursue in 2016

Written by

Daniel Musiitwa


December 30, 2015


HotCareers2015 With the US economy back on track and unemployment at near record lows, 2016 is the year for rebooting your career. To help you along, we identified nine of the hottest careers to pursue in 2016 and beyond. These are some of the fastest growing, future-proof jobs that you should be looking into if you are a mid-career professional looking to advance or switch careers. 

And the good news is that most, if not all, would make excellent options for high-school students evaluating their future career choices.

1. Cyber Security Experts

Cyber security experts are involved in researching, detecting, preventing and resolving any threats and attacks against an organization’s IT infrastructure.Almost no day passes without news reports about a major computer hack or other cyber security scare, and it’s no wonder that the field of cyber security is booming. According to one recent report, more than 200,000 cyber security jobs in the U.S. are unfulfilled, and postings are up 74 percent over the past five years.

2. Data Scientists

Data Scientists are responsible for collecting, managing, analyzing and interpreting data, in order to support better decision making by their employers. The explosive growth of data collected by businesses and government agencies and the rise of the internet have fueled the need for data scientists. Typical job titles for data scientists include Junior Data Scientist, Data Scientist, and Quantitative Researcher. According to one report by McKinsey, 1.5 million managers and analysts will be needed to fill jobs in data science by 2018 along with 140,000 people with deep analytic skills. Between 2011 and 2012 alone, there was a 15,000% increase in job postings for data scientists (source: FICO). Demand remains strong and the value of the big data industry is expected to reach $53.4 billion by 2016 (source: Domo).

3. Monitoring and Evaluation Specialists 

Demand for monitoring and evaluation specialists is growing rapidly, fueled in part by the rapid expansion of the non-profit sector and the growth of global development aid agencies such as the USAID, World Bank and United Nations. Monitoring and Evaluation Specialists tend to work mostly for governments, non-profits and international development agencies. Increasingly, however, many private sector organizations are creating similar functions.

4. Communications Specialists

Communications is essential to the effective operation of all organizations and communications specialists help organizations connect with important stakeholders internally and externally. Employment of communications specialists is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 24% through 2018. Demand will be particularly strong for niche areas, such as internal communications, investor relations, corporate social responsibility, digital strategy, and online communications.

5. Geriatricians

Demand for geriatricians is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% through 2024. The aging population will drive job growth.

6. Information Technology Specialists

The information technology sector is doing particularly well with US unemployment rates at 1% for some IT roles – such as software engineers, coders, network and security engineers. Demand for IT workers is strong, not just in the USA, but in many countries around the world. For instance, a 2015 report by Nixon Williams estimated that the IT sector in the United Kingdom was outstripping the rest of the economy threefold when it comes to job creation.

7. Home Health Aides

Home health aides are essential to many medical patients around the United States, and while the pay is low relative to many other professions, the opportunities abound. Employment of home health aides is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 30% through 2024. The aging population and growing demand for home services will drive job growth.

8. Registered Nurses

Demand for qualified Registered Nurses continues to remain extremely strong, with the median pay estimated at $66,640 per year (2014). Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an additional 439,000 new registered nurse jobs to be created between 2014 and 2024. Jobs in nursing are expected to experience one of the fastest growth rates of any occupation in the country, with employment opportunities in nursing expected to increase by 16% between 2014 and 2024.

9. Physical Therapists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for physical therapists  are expected to increase 30% by 2024. This is significantly higher growth than most other professions and is in part due to the increase of members of the aging baby boomer population, as well as advancements in medical technology that will increase the survival rate for trauma victims, newborns with birth defects, and people with previously untreatable conditions. 

It still pays to cast a wide net…

In addition to these great options, there are many other careers that one can pursue.  According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (November 2015), there were strong job gains in construction, professional and technical services, and health care, over the previous year.  Health care alone added over 470,000 jobs in the year to November 2015.  Many other industries are doing very well and some jobs offer particularly bright prospects. Overall, service sector-related industries will continue to generate the most jobs, while agriculture, manufacturing, utilities, and the federal government are expected to see declines in employment. Check out the College Mouse careers section for insights into hundreds of potential careers to help you evaluate your options.  

Projected Employment Growth by Industry Sector (2014-2024)



Written by:  Daniel Musiitwa

A Maryland resident, Daniel has worked in international development for many years. Outside work, he enjoys reading and traveling.

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