Exploding With Opportunity

By Kristen Castillo

June 15, 2017 5 min read

Looking for a job? Whether you're a student preparing to enter the workforce or a worker seeking a career change, some industries have more opportunities than others.

CareerBuilder and Emsi have outlined occupations in five fields that pay well and are in demand. Using information from their labor market database, which includes state and national employment resources and online job postings, they compiled a list of the hottest jobs for 2017 using three criteria: jobs that pay at least $20 an hour; fields that have grown faster than others from 2012 to 2016; and occupations that have a "critical mass" of jobs.

Here is a look at the occupations that are exploding with opportunity.

*Business and Financial Operations

Over 7.9 million jobs in 2016 were in the field of business and financial operations. Positions that are in high demand include office manager, financial analyst, product-development specialist and operations manager. Employees in these careers earn an average of $35.09 an hour. From 2012 to 2016, this category grew 8 percent.

Roy Cohen, a career coach and author of "The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide," says a new area in this industry is emerging to bridge the worlds of finance and technology. This hybrid of the two fields has been given the portmanteau "fintech."

"Fintech requires professionals with hands-on product experience who can provide in-the-trenches insights as to how these products are structured and marketed," he says, explaining that fintech workers need strong backgrounds in technology as programmers, project managers and technology liaisons.

"Compensation is rich" for these jobs, Cohen says. He notes that the ability to program and to serve as technology "interpreters" is essential so products can be developed and modified based on users' needs and expectations.

*Information Technology

Brush up on your computer skills. The market for information technology careers has grown 12 percent in the past four years, and last year there were over 4.3 million IT jobs.

Workers earn an average of $40.82 an hour. Job titles in this field include data scientist, product manager, mobile software engineer and front-end developer.

"Tech makes up eight of the top 15 highest-paying jobs for recent grads in 2017," says Kevin Morris, an award-winning resume writer and job-search coach for IT executives.

Morris says the technology industry is popular because tech is so integrated into our everyday lives through gaming, the internet and social media. Additionally, IT skills are portable and global.

Education is important, but interest and aptitude in tech can be a career starter, too.

"While IT often requires rigorous training and a bachelor's degree, many opportunities exist for high school graduates who simply love interacting with technology and have a knack for programming," says Morris. "In certain areas like programming, gaming and product development, education level does not play an adverse role in career advancement."

*Health Care

There will always be a need for medical professionals. And since 2012, there has been an 8 percent increase in health care jobs. In 2016, there were over 8.6 million health care jobs, in roles such as cardiologist, ICU nurse, physical therapist and family practitioner, just to name a few. The average hourly wage is $37.77.

*Sales

Employees who can sell products, services and more can expect to earn $19.06 an hour. Jobs in this industry, such as account manager, client services coordinator and business development manager, have increased 6 percent in the past four years. In 2016, there were over 16 million sales jobs.

*Skilled Trades

Skilled workers, including plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians, are paid an average of $21.38 an hour. Jobs for skilled workers are up 8 percent since 2012. Last year there were over 13 million jobs in skilled trades.

Keep in mind that these salaries are just averages. Employees in all of these in-demand professions can earn significantly higher salaries than listed.

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