A recent article in Fortune Magazine predicts that one of the hottest jobs ten years from now will be data scientist. If this prediction is true, parents of teenagers in their first year of high school and their parents might consider encouraging their kids to develop the skills necessary to be in high demand by the time they earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
To excel at data science, which is currently a growing field, though I’ve more often seen it labeled information science, students should develop strong skills in mathematics and technology.
In the Bakken area of North Dakota, the hunt for oil has created lucrative jobs today. There is a need for just about every type of career at this location, from burger-flippers to geologists. Unemployed people have been relocating their families to North Dakota in search of well-paying new jobs.
From a financial perspective, it could be beneficial to be aware of what the market needs and fashion your career path in that direction. The flexibility to react to the economy is a human capital strength, and will help ensure you can generate income regardless of the strength of the broader job market. Today’s popular careers may be short-lived, however. While there’s an oil rush today in North Dakota, a longer career path may involve environmental science or alternative energy.
Attempting to predict hot careers in the future is riskier than chasing today’s in-demand careers because you could spend years of your life preparing for a specific job function. If that career doesn’t prove to be as necessary as previously thought, and you’re unable to find a job in that field, you might consider many years of your life wasted.
I lean more towards looking within when determining the career or jobs best suited for an individual. Skills and interest pay a large role. If you are able to make a career out of something about which you’re passionate, you’re more likely to succeed. Working will be enjoyable, and you’ll likely be more dedicated to your job. There’s a good chance, however, unless your passions coincide with a high-paying field, that following your passion is a luxury; it may not be a path that proves to be lucrative.
People in tougher financial situations need to be practical. Many parents have encouraged their children to develop skills in practical fields that have a chance of surviving any recession, perhaps due to experience living and struggling through recessions of the past.
Would you change your career to something popular now to try to improve your financial situation? Would you consider planning a career path based on what might be needed in a future decade?
Published or updated January 9, 2012.