If you're transitioning soon or recently separated from the military, now is the time to lay the foundations of your future. It can be intimidating to pick a career field, but take heart: despite a troubled economy, there are plenty of industries and job fields that are actually suffering from a shortage of qualified workers. Many of them are within tech and healthcare, but they can range from positions that barely require a high school diploma to jobs that tend to require a master's degree.
Inspired by a piece from the Society for Human Resource Management, check out the top 10 toughest jobs to fill in 2016.
1. Data Scientist: The internet may have come into its own over a decade ago, but that doesn't mean it's done evolving. Data science is one of the latest fields to be created due to changes in the way people connect online. Users are creating so much data, that an entire computer science specialty is needed to understand it all. Increasingly, companies are hiring data scientists. But because of how new the field is, there isn't a lot of data on how companies are defining these rolls, the experience they're looking for, and how many positions are expected to grow. Regardless, becoming a professional data scientist requires high expertise in data, and extreme technical abilities.
2. Electrical Engineer: While electrical engineering requires a great deal of education to break into, it provides strong career opportunities. According to Randstad US, there are roughly 17 openings for every candidate. Electrical engineers need a bachelor's degree at least, but a master's will help applicants gain a competitive edge. Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment for use in a wide variety of applications.
3. General and Operations Manager: General and operations managers are an integral part to just about every business. These positions are expected to grow by 12.4 percent by 2022, meaning there will be roughly 613,000 new positions in these fields in the next seven years. General and operations managers specialize in organizing people and meeting company and consumer expectations. Responsibilities include overseeing budgets and ensuring workplace regulations are followed. A bachelor's degree is usually enough to get fill job requirements, but a master's degree, particularly an MBA, will help a great deal.
4. Home Health Aide: It's been discussed for over a decade, and now it's finally going into effect. As the baby boomer population grows older, the economy will have to adapt. As a direct result of a growing influx of elder patients, home health aide positions are expected to grow by 48 percent in the next seven years. That translates to roughly 600,000 jobs created. Unfortunately, home health aides tend to receive small incomes, so the candidate pool is small. These professionals usually need a license to practice, but a high school diploma is not a must.
5. Information Security Analyst: In the past few years, cloud computing has become an unstoppable force in the tech industry. With it comes a host of new problems and issues. Enter information security analysts. Companies need to make sure their data is secure, and these experts know just how to do that. The need for these professionals is so great that it's estimated North American companies will need 2.7 million of them by the beginning of 2016. If you can manage to get a bachelor's degree in computer science or programming and specialize in data security, you'll likely not have a difficult time jumping on this career bandwagon.
6. Marketing Manager: As online content continues to explodes, the need for marketing managers grows along with it. However, these individuals command high salaries, and qualified individuals are in short supply. Marketing managers are responsible for generating interest in a product or service. Target demographics can range from the public to private companies. These positions typically require a bachelor's degree in advertising, promotions, and marketing management.
7. Medical Services Manager: In step with an ageing population, numerous sectors of healthcare are affected. Medical services managers, also known as healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services. Responsibilities can range from a whole facility or single department. The requirements for this position are stringent, and positions are expected to grow by 73,300 by 2022.
8. Physical Therapist: Physical therapists treat a wide range of chronic injuries, but focus primarily on the healing stage of treatment. They tend to wounds that have already been medically treated, but need further improvement via stretching and light exercise. According to SHRM, the American Physical Therapy Association estimates that demands will surpass 229,000 positions with an expected pool of 196,000 candidates.
9. Registered Nurse: If you have an urge to tend to the sick and injured and enjoy working with people, becoming a registered nurse (RN) is a rewarding, lucrative, and stable career path. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that RN jobs will grow by 19 percent in seven years, and that 525,000 currently working nurses will need to be replaced due to retiring. The total predicated number of registered nursing positions is 1.05 million.
10. Software Engineer: Tech is an industry that shows no signs of slowing down in terms of growth. If you can hack it, obtaining the right college degree or equivalent experience can land you a software engineering position. These jobs are predicted to be difficult to fill due to lack of qualified applicants. It's estimated that for every person who graduates with a computer science degree in 2016, there will be three job openings available. In total, there will be about 222,600 software engineering jobs opening between now and 2022.