By Allison Singer, Associate Managing Editor
You’ve known what you wanted to be since you were in primary school? That’s nice. But for the rest of us, choosing a career is one of the hardest decisions we’ll ever have to make.
Maybe you’re a first year student trying to decide what to study. Maybe you’re searching for your first full-time gig. Or maybe you’ve been in the workforce for years and are itching to make a change. No matter your situation, knowing your options before you make your choice is key. Here’s the rundown on 10 jobs, all with big growth potential, that might not be on your radar.
1. Product Designer: Almost every object or device used in daily life, from computers to toilets, has been shaped by a product designer. In addition to creating new items, product designers improve existing ones, or find ways to make them more cost-effective. Product designers may be involved in the creation process from start to finish; they can develop ideas with clients, work on prototypes with engineers, and assist marketing staff when the product is promoted to potential buyers.
Bottom Line: The product-design field is competitive, but don’t let that discourage you. There’s a huge demand for smart, innovative product designers, especially with manufacturers or specialised agencies.
2. Sound Engineer: Sound engineers work with musicians and film or TV producers to make high-quality recordings of music, speech and other sounds. They set up equipment and oversee recording sessions (usually in a studio, but sometimes on location, like on a film set or at a concert). This means recording different instruments or voices separately, then mixing these different recordings, or tracks, together electronically to craft the desired sound.
Bottom Line: There are growing opportunities for sound engineers in a range of industries, from broadcasting, music, and TV to computing and advertising. If you’ve got a good ear and a mind for technology, this could be your calling.
3. Buyer: Every retail business needs stock. A buyer’s job is to source, select, and purchase these goods. Sometimes buyers need to place orders for merchandise six months or more before it’s sold in stores—meaning they’re essentially predicting the future, anticipating customer demands and market trends before they happen. Great buyers have strong communication, negotiation, and people skills, and are willing to travel regularly to meet with suppliers and attend industry events.
Bottom Line: This is a demanding job; buyers make decisions that can have major financial impacts on a company. If you’re successful, you might find yourself landing a management role, where you can play a big part in deciding the trends for your industry.
4. Charity Fundraiser: Charities depend on the financial support of individuals, organizations, and governments. To increase donations, fundraisers organise events or collections, carry out direct-mail campaigns to donors, promote charities through the media, or seek out sponsorships and funding from companies and foundations. Charity fundraisers are highly committed to their work. Job opportunities exist across the world, and as government funding for certain charities falls, the need for fundraisers grows.
Bottom Line: This job has big benefits. You’ll do good in the world, earning you a strong sense of accomplishment—but there’s money in it, too, and not just for your charity. Experienced fundraising managers can command high salaries.
5. Translator: A translator converts words from one language to another while retaining the original meaning. Obviously, translators are fluent in more than one language, but that’s not the only requirement. They also need to have highly developed written and verbal skills; perseverance to handle complex, technical, and lengthy projects; and a good understanding of different cultural values and how people communicate in different regions. Currently there’s an increasing demand for translation to and from Chinese, Russian, Arabic, and minority European languages.
Bottom Line: Most full-time translation jobs are in government, but freelance opportunities for translators are much more varied than you may think—like working on country-specific versions of video games, for example.
6. Database Administrator: Companies in almost every sector, from engineering to marketing, rely on accurate data to make key business decisions. Database administrators store and organise data in databases that can recognise patterns in the information. They ensure the databases run smoothly, providing users with the information they need when they need it. The best database administrators are problem-solvers who work well under pressure.
Bottom Line: You’ll find worldwide job opportunities in nearly every industry, from publishing to finance. After all, almost every company today has a website, and every website at least partly comes from a database.
7. Cybersecurity Analyst: The computerised data that organizations and government agencies hold needs constant protection. With a high-level knowledge of computing and networks, cybersecurity analysts work to prevent counter-security breaches by identifying and fixing weaknesses in the computer code and hardware of an organization. More than 10 million cyber attacks are reported every day, and the number is growing—along with the number of cybersecurity job opportunities.
Bottom Line: Cybersecurity is one of the highest-paid areas of Information Technology (IT), so if you’re considering a software engineering or computer science job and want to make the big money, this may be the way to go. Identifying threats, preventing attacks, stopping the bad guys… I mean, you’re practically a superhero.
8. Food Scientist: Food scientists research and develop a wide range of food-related products, making sure they are safe and palatable to eat. They develop new ingredients, test food quality, check labelling for accurate nutritional information, and design or improve food-manufacturing machinery. Once qualified as a food scientist, a person can choose specialise in a particular area from food production, to quality control, to environmental health.
Bottom Line: There are tons of opportunities worldwide with large food- and drink-manufacturing companies, retail chains, government food-inspection departments, public health laboratories, and academic research organizations. (And I’m guessing there’s some free food in it for you, too!)
9. Telecom Engineer: A telecommunications, or telecom, engineer works with a variety of tech that enables communication and the exchange of data. This includes cell phones and landlines, radio, cable or wireless broadband Internet, fiber optics, and satellite-based systems. As a telecom engineer, you design, install, test, and/or repair these systems for various clients ranging from large organizations to individual customers.
Bottom Line: Telecom engineering opportunities grow every day as our lives get inundated with more and more tech. Plus, working at the forefront of technology can be rewarding. Think of it this way: When we finally figure out teleportation or ESP, you can bet telecom engineers will be in the know.
10. Logistics Manager: Logistics managers coordinate the transportation and storage of products and raw materials, liaising with suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers to ensure customers receive the goods they order. The rise of e-commerce—the sale of goods via electronic systems, like the Internet—has increased demand for stock control and delivery services, making logistics managers crucial. Government and the military also rely on logistics managers for moving personnel and supplies.
Bottom Line: Companies in all industries need logistics managers to help run their business more efficiently. (Translation: To save money.) If you have strong leadership abilities, sharp analytical skills, and a problem-solving mind that won’t quit, you’re destined for success.
Learn more about these careers and hundreds more in Careers: The Graphic Guide to Finding the Perfect Job for You.