America's top ten jobs to watch in 2016 are projected to have salary increases that range from 4.7% to 8.9% by next year. In comparison, the Society for Human Resource Management only projects a 2.7% median salary increase in 2016 for most positions, across all industries.
The jobs with the most salary increase potential, require specialized skills according to a recent report by Robert Half. The vast majority of the jobs only require a bachelor’s degree, but many require the type of practical experience that can only be gained through internships or at least a few years working on the job.
Keep reading to discover the top ten jobs to watch in 2016.
1. Big Data Engineer
Salary Range: $129,500-$183,500
While data scientists gain most of the attention in this area, the demand for big data engineers is gaining traction. That’s because big data engineers create the systems and platforms used by data scientists. The educational requirement for this profession is usually a bachelor’s degree in software engineering or a related field. (Read more, here: The Highest-Paying Engineering Careers).
2. Mobile Applications Developer
Salary Range: $115,250 - $175,750
Just scroll through your smartphone’s extensive list of apps, and you’ll understand why companies are willing to pay big bucks for mobile applications developers. From mobile banking apps to games to personal assistants to geolocation guides, there’s a never-ending market for new apps. A bachelor’s degree in a computer science field is the typical requirement.
3. Content Strategist
Salary Range: $77,500 - $109,000
Producing content is an expensive endeavor. Content strategists are responsible for creating a compelling message that is cohesive and works across a variety of platforms like a company website, social media, brochure and blog posts. Graduates with a degree in marketing, communications, or a similar other major are ideal candidates.
4. Data Security Analyst
Salary Range: $113,500 - $160,000
The proliferation of cybercriminals created a dire need for people who can identify security risks and implement ways to prevent data breaches. While most of these professionals have a bachelor’s degree in a computer science field, some employers also prefer an MBA in information technology. (Read more, The 10 Best Tech Jobs).
5. User Experience (UX) Specialist
Salary Range: $86,500 - $132,500
User experience specialists ensure that a company’s products are easy to understand and use, and create a positive experience for the consumer. Employees in this role hold a variety of degrees ranging from marketing to psychology to computer science; however, some employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree in usability.
6. Compliance Director (with ten plus years of experience)
Salary Range: $118,250 + $138,500
Compliance directors keep companies out of legal trouble by ensuring they adhere to laws and fulfill legal obligations. Compliance directors also ensure internal policies are followed, and they identify and recommend ways to mitigate risks. A bachelor’s degree is the usual requirement, although candidates can hold degrees in many fields, including business, finance, or pre-law. Some employers— especially in healthcare also prefer the Certified Professional Compliance Officer designation.
7. Business Systems Analyst-Manager
Business systems analyst-managers examine a company’s existing IT structure and create ways to use IT to become more efficient and profitable. They also oversee the IT team and they direct the implementation of upgrades and changes. A bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, or engineering is typically required.
Salary Range: $95,500 - $120,750
8. Staff Accountant (1-3 years experience)
Salary Range: $56,250 - $73,250
Accurate record-keeping is an essential part of any business.Thus, accountants are needed to maintain general ledgers and records of assets, prepare financial statements, and assess tax liability. A bachelor’s degree in accounting is the minimum requirement, and many employers prefer for candidates to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). A master’s degree in accounting also offers a competitive edge.
9. Certified Medical Coding Manager
Salary Range: $72,750 - $96,250
Current procedural terminology (CPT) coding is a high-demand skill in the medical field. Certified medical coding managers establish coding procedures, and ensure that they comply with internal standards and government regulations. They are also responsible for hiring and training their staff. Candidates usually have a bachelor’s degree in medical billing and coding.
10. Lawyer (with 4-9 years experience)
Salary Range: $102,750 - $175,750
Lawyers provide legal advice and represent clients in court and other legal proceedings. While the supply of lawyers still exceeds demand, companies are searching for those who have several years of experience under their belt, especially in such areas as intellectual property, insurance, finance, and international law. A bachelor’s degree, followed by three years of law school, is the standard requirement to enter this profession. Lawyers must also pass the law exam in each state in which they wish to practice.
The Bottom Line
While national salary increases are less than impressive, the top ten positions to watch in 2016 offer salaries that double, triple, and even quadruple the national average salary. The demand for specialized skills fuels these wages. Identifying the top hiring and compensation trends can help students make practical decisions as they weigh career options.(Read more on the topic, here: Six-Figure Jobs You Don't Have To Go To College For).