The Best Emerging Jobs of 2020

Robots aren't taking our jobs. They're driving job opportunities.

Do you have an engineering degree?

If you do, into the next year — the next decade — you’ll also have some amazing job options and security. More than half of the emerging jobs for 2020 include roles that require engineering in some shape or form, according to the LinkedIn 2020 Emerging Jobs Report.

The professional networking site analyzes data it has collected from the past five years to predict the top 15 jobs in the coming year, skills associated with them, and locations where these job opportunities will grow.

“By sharing insights about the types of roles being impacted most by rapid change, we want to make sure professionals and companies are able to prepare for the new world of work,” writes Guy Berger, LinkedIn’s principal economist.

For the first time since the annual publishing of the report, robotics made the list as part of the $1.2 trillion artificial intelligence (AI) industry. The automotive industry is driving the trend, with the self-driving car on the cusp of broad acceptance and other forms of “smart transportation,” according to the LinkedIn analysis.

The increasing demand for mental health professionals and boom of the e-learning industry are also influencing the top jobs. And while most of the report’s roles are technology-driven, people skills are still critical. Some tech-related roles simply need the human touch, such as those in customer service and sales.

“Demand for soft skills is likely to increase as automation becomes more widespread. Skills like communication, creativity, and collaboration are all virtually impossible to automate, which means if you have these skills you’ll be even more valuable to organizations in the future,” Berger writes.

If you think these highly sought-after tech, AI, and STEM jobs can only be found in Silicon Valley, think again.

Washington, D.C. is a hot location, and the government isn’t doing the majority of the hiring. More interestingly, the lower cost of living and the growing movement towards remote working arrangements mean “secondary” cities such as Austin, Raleigh-Durham, Pittsburgh, Portland, and Charlotte are attracting employers.

And now, here’s the countdown of the top 15 emerging jobs in 2020, according to LinkedIn:

15. Product Owner

This is an engineering-related job that supports the product development process. From market research to customer relationship management, this role has a 24 percent annual growth rate.

14. JavaScript Developer

It’s among the top five in-demand skills in the software industry for computer software, IT, internet, financial services, marketing, and advertising industries.

MORE: I Want That Job: Software Engineer

13. Cloud Engineer

As companies move away from dependency on servers, this role will continue to be in high demand, with an estimated 27 percent growth. The cloud continues to grow, as does the need across all industries.

12. Chief Revenue Officer (CRO)

This is a two-in-one job, mostly born from start-ups. CROs know how to make money combining sales and marketing strategies. Look for these roles in New York, San Francisco Bay Area, Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago.

11. Back End Developer

Every company sees the value of having a digital presence, if not a digital foundation. That’s where this engineering job is key. It’s also easy to do remotely, so you can have the option of choosing a more affordable, secondary city in which to live and work.

MORE: Girls Who Code: Nurturing the next generation of engineering leaders

10. Cybersecurity Specialist

As data breaches have increased more than 50 percent this year over the same time period the year before, it’s no wonder this job made the list. Demand has grown 30 percent annually, with a big need in Washington, D.C.

MORE: Cybersecurity Professionals Wanted: Experts weigh in on closing the skills gap

9. Behavioral Health Technician

This job doesn’t require a specific degree, which means people with lots of different backgrounds can find their way into this role. The demand comes from more companies offering increased health insurance coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment.

8. Data Engineer

Since 2015, the hiring rate has grown 35 percent since 2015 for this job, especially as the value of data has grown. These engineers build infrastructures to organize this resource. The top employer for this job: Amazon Web Services.

MORE: Starting Out In Tech series

7. Sales Development Representative

What may be more important than knowing the technology in this role is knowing people. How to communicate, collaborate and assist them — these soft skills are critical to find customers and keep companies in business.

MORE: Soft skills will be invaluable in the future workplace

6. Customer Success Specialist

This is another job where soft skills are key. Job postings for this job grew 34 percent since 2018, with the overwhelming majority of these professionals in the software and IT industries.

5. Site Reliability Engineer

You know how frustrating it is when your app won’t work? These are the folks who make sure that doesn’t happen. With more apps being developed and released every day, and our reliance on them grows, so will the demand for this job. Plus, the skills needed to be a site reliability engineer are transferable to other roles such as #13 Cloud Engineer and our next job…

MORE: Tech apprenticeship coalition to make workers ‘tomorrow ready’

4. Full Stack Engineer

If you’re fluent in a variety of computer “languages,” this is the job for you. This kind of engineer creates, tests and implements software programs, and typically has a background in development and other types of engineering.

MORE: Highly-skilled software developers are in-demand in global gig economy

3. Data Scientist

As the job of statisticians has evolved and data has become more important in academic research, they’ve propelled this job to the top of this list three years in a row. A variety of industries need data scientists. You’ll find most of these jobs in IT, computer software, internet, financial services, and higher education.

WATCH: ‘The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap’ Town Hall

2. Robotics Engineer

We used to hear about the fear of robots replacing human workers. But as you’ve seen in a multitude of WorkingNation stories, documentaries, and interviews, as robots and automation are increasingly used, the number of jobs to create, program, maintain, troubleshoot, and more rise. The opportunities in this field are broad: software and hardware roles, virtual and physical.

MORE: The Looming Robot blog

1. Artificial Intelligence Specialist

Between 2015 to 2017, the demand for AI skills grew 190 percent on LinkedIn. Over the past four years, hiring has grown 74 percent a year. The seemingly simple formula explains why: AI + machine learning = innovation.

MORE: Getting smart in the innovation age of AI

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Dec. 30, 2019.

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