Emerging Careers And The Education You Need to Get There

Emerging Careers And The Education You Need to Get There

It’s 2017. Blink, and you’ll miss a technological breakthrough. The world is changing ever more rapidly, and as globalization increases and new technologies are embraced, both careers and entire industries shift. Increasingly smart machine intelligence and innovative robotics have replaced manual labor in many sectors, leaving individuals to redefine their skillsets and find new opportunities.

Equally affected are young people selecting college majors, who want to ensure that their educational investment in a given field is matched with future income and stability. The good news is that, as the jobs of yesteryear step out of the picture, new careers are stepping into the spotlight and growing rapidly (and they’re less likely to be replaced by machines in the near future).

For those seeking a career path that features a stable future and steady income, check out the emerging careers below:

Computer Systems Analyst

The more technology we adopt and utilize every day, the more data we collectively create. This incredible amount of data (according to IBM, as much as 2.5 billion gigabytes generated daily in 2012) presents huge opportunities for private companies and public institutions to improve decision-making. Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures to design information systems solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively, given the unprecedented volume of data. They bring business and information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.

To pursue a career in computer systems analysis, you will be expected to have at least an undergraduate degree in a computer or information science field, with a strong business background and deep knowledge of information technology or computer programming. To reach higher levels, a master’s degree is often required.


The field of engineering is incredibly broad and multifaceted, with focuses ranging from biology and biochemicals to nanotechnology and industrial structures. The least variable aspect of the field, in fact, may be the consistently high salaries. Biomedical engineering is projected to grow the fastest with a 23% increase, or 5,100 more jobs, between 2014 and 2024 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). This exciting specialty involves developing tools and techniques that improve the medical field and make an impact on human health – a recent breakthrough involved the use of decellularized spinach leaves to grow human heart cells.

The required education for engineering varies depending on the specialty. For example, with an undergraduate mechanical engineering degree, one may only need continuing education courses to obtain professional licenses, but a biomedical engineer typically needs a post-graduate degree.

Physical Therapist

This field is expanding fast, particularly because of the growing epidemic of chronic health conditions such as diabetes and obesity—as well as aging Baby Boomers. For this reason, the field is projected to grow by 34% between 2014 and 2024. A combination of deep anatomical knowledge and “soft skills” are crucial for success, especially while helping patients who are experiencing trying times.

The education required to pursue a career in physical therapy includes a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (DPT), typically completed post-grad. An undergraduate exercise science degree or a pre-health program will provide a strong understanding of biology, as well as applied physiology for those who intend to work in physical therapy.

Web Developer

These creators mold our daily online experiences – and demand for their digital savvy is only increasing as companies, public entities and individuals take to the web in droves. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projections indicate a growth rate of 27% from 2014 to 2024 (much faster than the market average of 7%), making web development one of the most promising careers on the market.

An agile mind, strong problem-solving skills, and an understanding of programming languages are just the baseline skills for success in development. A bachelor’s in computer science or equivalent programming experience is required, and any experience with design makes one a stronger candidate in applying for jobs.

Whatever role you choose to pursue, it is worth thinking about whether it will be around for as long as you intend to work, and whether your educational investment will pay off in future earnings. If you are attending a college or university it’s always wise to check with your institution’s career center, where you can meet with a counselor to determine how your interests, values and skills match with a potential major or career.

Melanie E. Adams

Melanie E. Adams is the Assistant Director at Florida Atlantic University's Career Center, where she provides career advising, counseling and education.

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