At a time when the unemployment rate sits at 9-10%, and is much higher in certain states, it's important to stay on top of career trends. While many older jobs are disappearing from the U.S. job market, think assembly lines and factory work, there are many jobs that are emerging as growing fields. With the popularization of online marketing, and the increased importance placed upon user engagement, website design and cohesive digital marketing plans, there are many new jobs that have been created and are currently being defined and refined. (For more jobs in high demand, read 7 Boomer Jobs That Are Up For Grabs.)
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Many of the jobs we discuss may be completely new to you unless you're already working in a field where they exist. Though some of these jobs do not have the salary figures and job availability that exist for more established jobs, we'll try to give you the information you need to find out if these jobs are for you.
This job seems to have different descriptions depending on who you talk to, but for the most part people can agree that it relates to organizing online information so that it is easy and attractive for readers to read and navigate. This isn't quite like web design, as it can be more theoretical and relates almost entirely to how the information is designed for the end-user's experience. (Check out 6 Sectors That Are Creating Jobs for more great areas of employment.)
At the University of Toronto there is a faculty of information that offers courses on this, and along with content management, it's a growing field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have any information about salary and outlook for this job, but Payscale.com lists the salary range as being between $46,000 and $91,000. A quick search on Monster revealed an opening in Chicago with a salary range of $100,000-$140,000. Information architecture is a classic example of a multi-disciplinary field, where skills are needed from backgrounds like software design, website design, library studies, content management and more.
Professional Video Game Player
Though there were some professional video game players 10 years ago, the idea of professional video game leagues have really taken off over since then, and if you're an especially good gamer, the prize money can be as high as $500,000 per tournament. In South Korea, "Starcraft: Brood War" has become the most popular professionally played game, and the most popular game in the world. (Learn more in Play Video Games; Become A Millionaire.)
The money for these tournaments comes from large electronics companies, who use the tournaments as marketing, much like companies sponsoring NASCAR in the United States. One of the biggest tournaments is World Cyber Games (WCG), and its 2009 tournament was sponsored by Samsung, Throughout South Korea and the world there are many professional video game players and it's even become a spectator sport.
Social Media Expert/Consultant
This position is becoming more important for companies as they attempt to expand their brand and gain increased consumer loyalty by using interactive tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and more. A social media expert knows the salient points about setting up these systems, managing them and most effectively interacting with the users. A consultant would do the research to find out what social media tools would most impact a company, set these systems up and then teach employees at the company how to maintain and most effectively engage users. A social media expert would create, manage and measure the success of social media endeavors.
According to Payscale.com, a social media manager would make between $28,000-$66,000. Since a social media expert is an emerging field, the most important attribute it having experience and proven results. A degree in marketing is useful but not always necessary. (For more check out Tweeting: The Next New "Profession".)
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This position is one that many of us are familiar with. Professional bloggers will write for different websites, either as commentators or as experts, and make between $25 and $200 per piece. The more clicks and reads that a professional blogger can generate, the more they can charge for their services. It's also possible to work for yourself. By marketing yourself and gaining followers of your writing, you can then sell advertising on your blog, or make money by using tools like Google Adwords. (Learn more about jobs that don't seem like work, but definitely are, in You Get Paid For That?!)
User Experience Analyst
This position involves soliciting feedback from users and then recommending changes to a service that will increase the user's experience. It is somewhat like an information architect where you are trying to make a user's access to the service as easy and possible. For instance, looking over an advertisement for the New York Times, the company is searching for someone who can find what the reader wants, and can then translate that into changes at the NYTimes that will impact the user.
For a user experience designer with two years of experience, the average is $57,000, according to payscale.com. The NYTimes job posting is looking for someone with expert research skills and consumer testing, and a degree in anthropology, psychology, cognitive science, human-computer interaction, computer science or a related field is desired but not necessary. This is another multidisciplinary field. (Check out 7 Jobs Companies Are Desperate To Fill for more job ideas.)
The Bottom Line
With more emphasis being put on digital media and the end-user experience, there are many new and exciting jobs emerging that did not exist 10 years ago. Interdisciplinary degrees that combine technical skills with marketing and psychology are becoming more popular, and the acceptance of blogging and gaming as legitimate skills have made these more viable careers. The next 10 years will undoubtedly see many more careers evolve, so keep your eye on these emerging fields for more job openings.
For the latest financial news, check out Water Cooler Finance: The End Of The Recession.