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10 high-paying jobs of the future — and the skills you’ll need to get them

10 high-paying jobs

10 high-paying jobs of the future

Technology is becoming ever more important in the digital workplace of the 21st century.

Using data from the Department of Labor, we found 30 high-paying, fast-growing jobs that rely on skills and knowledge from the STEM disciplines.

The 21st-century workplace is increasingly dominated by technology, and jobs that rely on a mastery of those machines are likely to become more important — and lucrative.

We assembled a list of fast-growing, high-paying jobs that are set to dominate the emerging digital workplace through 2026.

The Department of Labor’s O*NET Online occupational database includes survey-based measures of several work characteristics for the nearly 1,000 occupations tracked by the database.

To get a sense of what jobs will thrive in the emerging digital workplace, we looked at nine skills, knowledge areas, and work-style characteristics that reflect the growing importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM): mathematics, science, engineering and technology, computers and electronics,programming, innovation, analytical thinking, general design, and technology design. If you have an interest or talent in any of the above, then congratulations, your work future is looking bright.

10 high-paying jobs of the future

The O*NET database assigns importance scores to each job between 0 and 100 for each of these characteristics, with 0 indicating that the job doesn’t have that characteristic at all, and 100 suggesting that the characteristic is a major part of the job.

We averaged together the importance scores of the above skills to get an overall STEM score for each occupation. Because we are interested in high-paying, fast-growing jobs, we ranked those occupations with above-average annual salaries and growth prospects.

Specifically, we looked at occupations with an average salary in 2018 above the overall average of $51,960, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics program, and a projected employment growth rate between 2016 and 2026 above the projected total employment growth rate of 7.4%, according to the Bureau’s most recent employment projections data.

Here are the 30 jobs with above-average salaries and growth prospects with the highest STEM scores, along with descriptions of what each of the occupations entails from O*NET:

10. Postsecondary Atmospheric, earth, marine, and space sciences instructors teach courses in these scientific fields

Average 2018 annual salary: $101,890

Projected employment growth between 2016 and 2026: 9.5%

STEM score: 55.1

Top three STEM areas:

  1. Analytical thinking: 94
  2. Innovation: 87
  3. Science: 78

9. Computer and information systems managers plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as electronic data processing, information systems, systems analysis, and computer programming

Average 2018 annual salary: $152,860

Projected employment growth between 2016 and 2026: 12.0%

STEM score: 55.6

Top three STEM areas:

  1. Computers and electronics: 94
  2. Analytical thinking: 81
  3. Innovation: 68

8. Statisticians develop or apply mathematical or statistical theory and methods to collect, organize, interpret, and summarize numerical data to provide usable information

Average 2018 annual salary: $92,600

Projected employment growth between 2016 and 2026: 33.8%

STEM score: 56.2

Top three STEM areas:

  1. Mathematics: 97
  2. Analytical thinking: 94
  3. Computers and electronics: 76

7. Industrial engineers design, develop, test, and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes

Average 2018 annual salary: $91,630

Projected employment growth between 2016 and 2026: 9.7%

STEM score: 56.4

Top three STEM areas:

  1. Engineering and technology: 86
  2. Analytical thinking: 86
  3. Innovation: 79

6. Web developers design, create and modify websites

Average 2018 annual salary: $75,580

Projected employment growth between 2016 and 2026: 15.0%

STEM score: 56.8

Top three STEM areas:

  1. Computers and electronics: 85
  2. Analytical thinking: 79
  3. Programming: 78

5. Hydrologists Research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters

Average 2018 annual salary: $82,790

Projected employment growth between 2016 and 2026: 9.9%

STEM score: 56.9

Top three STEM areas:

  1. Analytical thinking: 88
  2. Engineering and technology: 75
  3. Science: 72

4. Geoscientists study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth

Average 2018 annual salary: $107,800

Projected employment growth between 2016 and 2026: 14.0%

STEM score: 57.1

Top three STEM areas:

  1. Analytical thinking: 90
  2. Science: 78
  3. Innovation: 73

2. Surveyors make measurements and determine property boundaries

Average 2018 annual salary: $66,440

Projected employment growth between 2016 and 2026: 11.2%

STEM score: 57.7

Top three STEM areas:

  1. Analytical thinking: 87
  2. Engineering and technology: 75
  3. Mathematics: 75

1. Systems software developers research, design, develop, and test operating-systems-level software, compilers, and network distribution software

Average 2018 annual salary: $114,000

Projected employment growth between 2016 and 2026: 11.1%

STEM score: 57.9

Top three STEM areas:

  1. Computers and electronics: 97
  2. Analytical thinking: 89
  3. Innovation: 78