1. Artificial intelligence (AI) specialist

That AI specialists claim the top spot on this list is particularly interesting given the often concerning warnings about AI taking jobs. With an annual growth rate of a staggering 74 percent, AI specialist careers are plentiful. In particular, workers with knowledge of machine learning, deep learning, TensorFlow, and Python natural language processing are in extraordinary demand. According to Forbes, the AI-related roles that will be in greatest demand will include AI project managers, data engineers, data specialists, data scientists, AI ethicists and AI consultants. 

According to Carlos M. Meléndez, COO and Co-Founder of AI and software development company Wovenware, the key to meeting this demand is education. “Just as the millennial generation that grew up with software became the technology leaders of today, so too will our young students become the next generation of AI leaders. This, however, will require continued focus on technology education, beginning at the K-12 level and continuing with concentrations of advanced studies at the university level,” he writes. 

Thinking of going this route? In addition to specific majors in AI, you can also specialize in AI from within majors like computer science, information technology, and engineering.  

2. Robotics engineer

With an annual growth rate of 40 percent, robotics engineers will also enjoy booming career prospects. Responsible for creating robots and robotic systems that humans either can’t or prefer not to perform, robotics engineers are in especially high demand in information technology and services, industrial automation, computer software, financial services, and the automotive industry. They are rewarded well for their contributions: According to CareerExplorer, the average salary for robotics engineers is just under $97,000 per year

Robotics engineers typically earn degrees in STEM fields like robotics, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science. Additionally, job seekers should be highly skilled in disciplines such as mathematics, mechanics, computer programming and electronics. 

3 Data scientist

Data scientists with machine learning, data science, Python, R, and Apache Spark claimed the third spot on the Emerging Jobs Report. The annual growth rate for professionals in this area? An impressive 37 percent. “Data scientist” was also named the top job in America for 2019 by Glassdoor for the fourth consecutive year. Contributing to its top billing is the fact there are more than 6,500 open positions offering a median base salary of $108,000.

Trained to gather, organize and analyze data, data scientists come from a wide range of backgrounds. As such, they also have their pick of a variety of majors, including in computing, mathematics, statistics, and physics. The majority also have master’s degrees in data or related fields, while many also go on to PhDs. 

4. Full stack engineer

Full-stack engineers design and implement software programs for companies. Hackernoon explains, “A full stack developer is an engineer who can handle all the work of databases, servers, systems engineering, and clients. Depending on the project, what customers need may be a mobile stack, a Web stack, or a native application stack.” From research laboratories to financial services agencies, they work in a variety of industries and are invaluable assets for companies moving forward, with an annual growth rate of 35 percent.

A strong technical background is a must for full stack engineers, as well as willingness to keep up with new programming languages and software design methods as they evolve. As such, full stack engineers typically have degrees in computer science or related subjects. Strong coding skills for both the front-end and back-end of websites are also a must.  

Programmer

5. Site reliability engineer

“Site reliability engineers create a bridge between development and operations by applying a software engineering mindset to system administration topics,” says opensource.com. And while the field isn’t even two decades old yet, with an annual growth rate of 34 percent, it’s already established itself as one to watch moving forward  -- although the ultimate goal for SREs, according to Google, is to “automate their way out of a job.”

A background in either software or systems engineering is appropriate for working as site reliability engineers (SREs). Many companies look for candidates with bachelor’s degrees in computer science, although an equivalent level of expertise is also valuable, according to InformationWeek. 

And while SRE work can be demanding, it’s also fulfilling for those who prize a challenge. “Since SREs are typically found at high-performing tech companies that have large data centers and complex technical challenges, their roles can be inspiring from both a financial and workplace culture perspective,” concludes opensource.com.

6. Customer success specialist

The customer experience is paramount in today’s competitive business landscape. It’s not surprising, then, that customer success specialists are having a moment with an annual growth rate of 34 percent. The Customer Success Association says of this specialty, “Customer success is a long-term scientifically engineered, and professionally directed strategy for maximizing customer and company sustainable proven value.” 

Customer success managers have degrees -- either a bachelor’s or master’s -- in a variety of fields, including business administration, computer science, engineering, management information systems, and information technology, according to CareerExplorer. Several years of work experience -- with customer support or account management experience -- is also a common prerequisite. 

7. Sales development representative

The ability to differentiate a lead from a qualified lead can be essential to a business’s bottom line. Enter sales development representatives (SDR). ActiveCampaign says of this profession, which boasts an annual growth rate of 34 percent, “A sales development representative (SDR) is an inside sales representative that focuses on outreach, prospecting, and lead qualification. SDRs don’t focus on closing business, but connecting with as many leads as possible and determining if they’re good customer fits.”

SDRs typically have bachelor’s degrees in sales, marketing, business or a related field, although a technical background may also be helpful, depending on the industry. Qualities like drive, sector interest, curiosity, teamwork, and a commitment to lifelong learning are also beneficial to people aspiring for successful careers in sales development. 

8. Data engineer

As data volumes grow, so does demand for data engineers (33 percent annual growth rate). CIO proposes, “Data engineers are responsible for finding trends in data sets and developing algorithms to help make raw data more useful to the enterprise. This IT role requires a significant set of technical skills, including a deep knowledge of SQL database design and multiple programming languages. But data engineers also need communication skills to work across departments to understand what business leaders want to gain from the company’s large datasets.” 

Data engineers typically have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software/computer engineering, applied mathematics, physics, statistics, or a related field although significant real-world experience may all suffice. 

9. Cybersecurity specialist

Cybersecurity has become a critical issue for companies and their customers. For their skills and talents at maximizing security and minimizing threats, cybersecurity specialists enjoy a 30 percent annual growth rate. According to IBM, meanwhile, a lack of talent means that not only are positions taking longer to fill, but employers are willing to pay big bucks for the best talent. “The demand will only increase with cloud computing and the Internet of Things,” projects IBM. 

While the qualifications required for cybersecurity jobs vary from company to company, a computer science degree is beneficial, although undergraduate degrees in cybersecurity are also becoming more prevalent. The rapidly changing cybersecurity industry also means that lifelong learning is essential for keeping up with the newest threats and technologies.

10. Behavioral health technician

“When psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals need help with patients who are mentally ill or have behavioral disorders, they turn to behavioral health technicians. Behavioral health technicians observe patients, listen to their concerns, record their observations and report to mental health professionals about any unusual behavior,” says the Houston Chronicle. 

As the mental health field changes and grows, so does the need for behavioral health technicians with an annual growth rate of 33 percent. Educational fields of study to work as a behavioral health technician include behavioral health, mental health technology, biology, counseling, psychology, and psychiatry.

Back end developers (30 percent); chief revenue officers (28 percent); cloud engineers (27 percent); javascript developers (25 percent); and product owners (24 percent) rounded out the Emerging Jobs Report’s top 15. 

One last thing to keep in mind when contemplating your career goals, and the skills and education needed to help you reach them, is that while choosing an in-demand career is wise, choosing a career just because it’s in demand can lead to less-than-satisfying outcomes. Factor in your strengths, skills, and interests as well to find a career that’s a perfect fit!