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  • Writer's pictureLucas McNamara

The Four Fastest-Growing Occupations

As technology continues to progress we often hear how automation will begin to replace millions of jobs and leave many in the current workforce unemployed. The beginning of the automation revolution began nearly 200 years ago when dull, repetitive tasks were replaced by simple machinery. As technology advanced, so too did the complexity of people’s careers. Instead of a family of ten toiling in the field to subsist, machinery such as combines and tractors reduced the number of workers needed to produce the same amount of food and allowed for greater levels of productivity. This example similarly affected almost all industries of the present economy and allowed workers to delve into more specialized fields, developing highly-sought after and competitive skills. While a large number of manual labor jobs were lost, machines reduced the overall cost of production and lowered the price of the majority of consumer goods. At the time, machinery was both a complex economic and political issue that created controversy, largely from the workers who were replaced. Looking back, we do recognize that the Industrial Revolution overall benefitted the global economy and that the rewards of new technology far outweighed the cons. In a comparable fashion, the modern Robot Revolution will continue to build off of the effects of the Industrial Revolution and automate a large portion of the global economy. While many news outlets publish bold articles with claims of professions soon ceasing to exist, attention should instead be drawn to the expansive sprouting of entire industries and the careers that they entail. This article will explore the four fastest-growing professions and provide a short explanation of each.

Green Energy Technician and Installer

The Green Economy has been an increasing issue among the debate of modern politics. The far majority of scientists recognize the need for carbon-free energy production and tout the benefits of solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and nuclear power. As a result of this push from carbon fuel, governments continue to pour billions of dollars into companies dedicated to developing and sourcing renewable energy infrastructure at scale. Many of these firms continue to hire technicians and installers as they grow. The bulk of these professions are fairly blue-collar and do not require formal education beyond high school. Pursuing a career in the construction and maintenance side of this industry will surely land you a guaranteed job with the sector expected to grow at an average rate of 55.6% in the next ten years. One can expect to make a respectable $48,900 at an entry-level position. Jumping on this career before it becomes mainstream is crucial as experience in this newly-popularized field will put your pay and position far above the rest of the crowd. While this career path may not be for everyone, workers affected by the exodus of American manufacturing and the shutting-down of fossil fuel plants should consider this profession as a favorable alternative with many skills from previous jobs working synonymously. For those who wish to pursue further education, the renewable energy industry similarly desires engineers, managers, and all aspects of the business world to develop the blooming field.

Nurse Practitioner

Similar to the Green Economy Movement, the public has recognized the importance of a stable and effective healthcare system for all people. The American healthcare system as a whole is predicted to grow about 15% in ten years. While many of the jobs in this sector are allotted to doctors and nurses, an increasing number of healthcare professionals have become known as Nurse Practitioners. Under the supervision of a highly-trained doctor, nurse practitioners possess authority beyond a traditional nurse and are granted the ability to assess patients, interpret diagnostics, and prescribe treatment. Although a nurse practitioner does not hold the same power as a doctor, they do perform some of the same responsibilities as one. The path to becoming a nurse practitioner is much shorter and less competitive than a physician. As the healthcare system continues to grow and treat a greater number of patients, doctors are dwindling in supply. Patients presenting to the hospital or clinic with mild, common conditions are increasingly being cared for by nurse practitioners. The profession as a whole averages $109,820 per year, far beyond the average income in America. In a likewise manner, the field is expected to grow at a massive rate of 52.4% over the next ten years. Pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner will become progressively common and is an excellent choice for students who desire to work in the healthcare field. Similar professions to a nurse practitioner include doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and diagnostic technicians.

Statistician and Data Scientist

We often hear of our apps, websites, and social platforms collecting a massive amount of data on our behavior, but what is this data used for? The information often falls into the hands of statisticians and data scientists who are tasked with analyzing, interpreting, and calculating from a data source. As the world continues to grow in technology, the data collected by these devices must be evaluated by these professionals in order to create value. Companies hire data scientists and statisticians to infer predictions and make sensible decisions from the collected information. The industries employing these positions vary highly from social media, finance, and even the local weather predictor. In order to begin a career in data analytics, a person usually needs at least a bachelor’s degree with graduate school being common. The field of information technology is expected to grow a tremendous 31.2% in the next ten years. Being an educated career path, the field of data analytics pays rewardingly with an average salary of $92,720. While this career may sound perfect with its growing market, high pay, and expanse of opportunities; students should be warned that choosing this path in college requires a large set of mathematical skills and familiarity with coding. A majority of these positions are in the technology field which is known for its fulfilling compensation and expansive benefits. Similar careers to statistics and data analytics include actuary science, economics, and mathematics. Although known for their difficulty, all of the aforementioned professions are touted for their high reward. Pursuing a career as a statistician or a similar data scientist will surely result in a lifetime of success.

Oil Field Technician

In contrast to the previously mentioned Green Economy careers, one would not expect an industry known to be dying to appear on the fastest-growing job list. While this growth in fossil fuel extraction professions may seem confusing, one must remember that the transition to 100% renewable energy is far from happening. The majority of the infrastructure in the global economy runs on oil, natural gas, and synthetic fuel; all of these resources are in-part extracted from the raw Earth. Fossil fuels power the modern economy and until the world fully transitions to green energy, people from all areas of the world will desire this resource. As a result, careers in the fossil fuel sector are predicted to grow to about 28.7% in ten years. Professions in the field include drill operators, roustabouts (laborers), and welders. These jobs are instrumental to ensuring a steady supply of crude oil starting at extraction up to transportation. Many of the workers hailing to these positions live in the untapped tundra of Alaska or operate far offshore in oil rigs located in the middle of the ocean. Instead of staying put in a central location, oil companies chase the deposits and relocate their staff accordingly. The conditions for this career are far from traditional with workers often required to work long days for a set period of weeks and then receiving a short break in between deployments. Although the sector may sound undesirable, the career is highly rewarding in the material sense with many oil field technicians known to make over $100,000 per year. The average salary of an oil and gas technician is much lower at about $46,900, but keep in mind that there are many factors to consider that affect this figure including the low retention rate of employees. A career in the oil and gas industry is a favorable choice for people who are looking to start working without formal education and prefer on-the-job training. A person who desires to go to college and also work in this field should consider a petroleum engineer major which will often work alongside these jobs and sometimes manage the entire rig. Be warned that the oil and gas industry is known for its unstableness and can often take massive hits or gains from political change.

*Data sourced from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

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