The Next Five Years: What Will the Fastest-Growing Jobs Be?

The economy is booming, and unemployment is at the lowest rate in years.

The top 5 fastest-growing jobs will be rising robustly.

Still, boom times are not making everyone cheery. According to a LinkedIn survey, almost 30% of professional employees think their skill set will be outmoded over the next two years.

New Skills Sets and Old

Startling as this is, 38% (in addition to the first 30%) think their skill set will be out of date within five years. Why? Well, both sets of people believe that new skills are coming up fast, largely because of technology news and the digital world.

They may be right, but they are also partially wrong (and that’s the good news). LinkedIn recently published a 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report outlining the expected fastest-growing jobs over the next five years. Several are certainly “new skill” jobs, with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) leading the list. (We’ll get to the list in a moment.) But several job categories are also old, with sales and customer service also on the roster.

More importantly from the perspective of the 68% of professionals who fear for their jobs either in the short or long term, the skill sets required are for the most part decidedly not new. They are research, teaching, sales ability, and communication. They are already in use in many existing jobs, and the new jobs of tomorrow are going to need them just as much.

So, what are those new jobs? Read on.

The Top 5 Fastest Growing Jobs

The top five fastest-growing jobs through 2022 are expected to be, in order:

  1. Machine learning engineer
  2. Data scientist
  3. Sales development representative
  4. Customer success manager
  5. Big data developer

As Forbes points out, the future has already begun for several of these jobs in terms of growth. The number of data scientists, for example, has skyrocketed 650% over the last five years, and the number of sales development reps has soared 570%.

Many Paths to Fast-Growing Jobs

Perhaps most encouragingly for people coming on the job market or looking to switch jobs, LinkedIn’s data show that there are many possible paths to these jobs. They also looked at the types of jobs held by people who switched or modified careers to get into the top five fast-growing categories.

So machine learning engineers were drawn from the ranks of other engineers, such as software engineers and system engineers, but also from research and teaching assistants and data scientists.

Data scientists were drawn from research and teaching assistants as well. Software engineers and business analysts also became data scientists, as did (unsurprisingly!) people who had already been data scientists. This may be because an increasingly broad spectrum of companies is hiring data scientists — not just tech firms, but financial, retail, real estate, and hospitality, among other sectors.

People who became sales development reps had been restaurant servers, sales associates, account managers, administrative assistants, and customer service reps.

Customer success managers had been account managers, project managers, customer service reps, program managers, and sales managers.

Finally, big data developers were drawn from the ranks of engineers, including software, system, and Java engineers, as well as Hadoop developers and ETL developers.

Despite the current economic news vis-à-vis jobs, a wide swath of people fear their skills will become outmoded in the short or long term. They needn’t worry, at least the top five fastest-growing jobs use a wide variety of skills.

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