The modern-day job search is more competitive than the winter Olympics — at least that’s how it seems when you apply to position after position only to be ignored by most employers. With more job seekers competing for fewer openings, it’s safe to say numbers aren’t on your side. Statistically speaking, candidates have the most chance at landing the best jobs when they apply for the most in-demand positions available.
LinkedIn analyzed member data to compile a list of the fasting-growing career fields of 2017 and the skills needed to land them in 2018. Among others, employers list analytics, marketing, communication, and software development as their most desired job candidate skills. Which high-paying positions should you focus on this year? Here are the top 10 emerging positions for 2018 and the salaries associated with them.
10. Full stack developer
- Average base salary: $85,829
- Growth: 4.5X
Full stack web developers are software pros. They know the ins and outs of all applications and are usually hired to oversee front and back-end web development. Techie lingo aside, LinkedIn activity data says this career is on fire. About 4.5X more LinkedIn members list this as their profession now than five years ago. Even better, Glassdoor puts their average base salary at $85,829.
Next: A high-paying marketing role
9. Brand partner
Brand partners and similar careers such as brand strategists or brand ambassadors are all emerging professions for 2018, according to LinkedIn. A marketing background will help you succeed in this role, as the primary responsibility is to negotiate partnerships with other brands and ad agencies on behalf of the business. Brand ambassadors earn an average base salary of $37,521 but more experienced brand managers can bring home up to $108,802, according to Glassdoor.
Next: How analytical are you?
8. Director of data science
- Average base salary: $120,000 to $180,000
- Growth: 4.9X
Most leadership roles in the tech industry pay well and directors of data science are no different. Those who can make sense of messy, seemingly storyless data are of value to all businesses nowadays. Those who manage and train these data scientists are even more in demand. LinkedIn lists this profession as the 8th hottest job for 2018.
Next: Video games anyone?
7. Unity developer
- Average base salary: $89,097
- Growth: 5.1X
Given the popularity of video games and virtual reality, it is no surprise Unity developers are one of the best jobs for 2018. This career path involves building games for platforms based on the Unity framework. Land one of these job openings and you’ll get paid a hefty salary to maintain game functionality and implement designs into applications.
Next: Tech experience required
6. Full stack engineer
- Average base salary: $109,087
- Growth: 5.5X
If full stack developers are attractive 2018 careers, then it makes sense full stack engineers are popular as well. These gurus are the employees building interfaces and dashboards companies and consumers use every day. A fundamental knowledge of web languages and intricate databases is required for success, but it’s their problem-solving skills that are most desired. Should you possess these skills, you can get paid handsomely — usually over six figures.
Next: Yet another tech job
5. Big data developer
- Average base salary: $101,698
- Growth: 5.5X
Like many of the best jobs on this list, big data developers are IT professionals with a knack for details. The field has grown nearly five times more popular in recent years as businesses search for techies who can collect and analyze of huge sets of data. Is it worth getting a degree in software engineering or computer science? Maybe so. These workers usually make upwards of $100,000, per Glassdoor reports.
Next: Communication skills wanted
4. Customer success manager
- Average base salary: $115,214
- Growth: 5.6X
Obviously, retaining customers is vital for all businesses, so it’s only natural that employees who focus on customer retention and service are in high-demand. The role is becoming increasingly popular in tech as well as business explore how to better retain customers online. Marketing, service, and communication skills are all valuable here, and those who possess them in spades can easily earn a six-figure salary.
Next: Landing a career in sales
3. Sales development representative
- Average base salary: $51,724
- Growth: 5.7X
Sales careers are consistently ranked as desirable. LinkedIn notes that sales development representatives specifically have grown 5.7 times over in the last five years. It’s also a popular entry-level position for recent college graduates with high-earning potential. Though the average salary is $51,724, Glassdoor says top-earning sales representatives can earn up to $70,000 annually.
Next: Must love data
2. Data scientist
- Average base salary: $128,549
- Growth: 6.5X
Though a new, and vaguely undefined career field, the need for data scientists will continue to grow exponentially. These professionals are similar to big data developers because they, too, spend their days analyzing, sorting, and simplifying data for other colleagues. Those with keen math, science, and problem-solving skills can make a median base salary of $111,840 for this and similar professions. Glassdoor also ranked this job as its best job of 2017.
Next: The best job in 2018 is…
1. Machine learning engineer
- Average base salary: $128,549
- Growth: 9.8X
Artificial intelligence and business analytics marry to form the key components of a machine learning engineer position. People who can successfully build products using data science and machine learning algorithms earn an average salary of $128,549 per year. It’s also the fastest growing job as nearly 10 times more LinkedIn members list it as their profession now than five years ago.
Follow Lauren on Twitter @la_hamer.
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