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LinkedIn's Top 15 Fastest Growing, Emerging Job list of 2020 Puts the Focus on the Future

Updated: Sep 30

It's no surprise that LinkedIn's members are more active than passive when it comes to improving their careers. Even those members who rarely use the site are there for their professional benefit and know that an updated profile and even a limited interest in like-minded individuals and similar experiences can help them when they decide to look for a new opportunity.

And now, thanks to an extensive study of its members, that information can help you pinpoint where you should be looking - or what you should be doing - to tap into the top, emerging jobs in 2020.

A quick glance at the list reveals some futuristic thinking front and center, perhaps a continuation of those "I thought we'd be in flying cars by now" tropes based on "The Jetsons" and other bits of pop culture sci-fi. But make no mistake, the future is here.

"We're at the point of not only no return, but no regret," says Bradly Pointer, a retired U.S. Department of Labor analyst who keeps an eye on today's job trends. "For years, we worried about what would happen if robotics became the norm in manufacturing plants or if AI became the basis for HR policies or employment processes. Now we know. Of course, there are always going to be red flags but, for the most part, the thinking is now 'what can I do with these new technologies to help my company, my customers, and my workers instead of continually looking at how to avoid the inevitable."

While that inevitable may still seem years away for some, it's probably much closer than they think. "At this stage, most of the workforce doesn't work in the emerging field of artificial intelligence, but that doesn't mean it won't impact everyone," writes Guy Berger, a principal analyst at LinkedIn and author of the study. "Artificial Intelligence will require the entire workforce to learn new skills, whether it's to keep up to date with an existing role, or pursuing a new career as a result of automation."

LinkedIn's methodology is based on those members with a public profile that have held a full-time position in the United States for the past five years. LinkedIn then analyzed hiring and the annual growth rate for each occupation between 2015 and 2019 to identify the roles with the largest rate of hiring growth to create its list of 15 Emerging Jobs.

1. Artificial Intelligence Specialist - 74% annual growth

Firms specializing in computer software, internet, information technology and services, higher education and consumer electronics will be looking to beef up their AI personnel, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Boston, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Necessary skills include machine learning, deep learning, and knowledge of TensorFlow, Python, and Natural Language Processing (NLP).

2. Robotics Engineer - 40% annual growth

Companies focused on information technology and services, industrial automation, computer software, financial services and the automotive industry will be looking for skilled workers to continue the upswing in robotics. Demand for both physical and virtual bots will lead to more jobs for software and hardware engineers and techs. Hiring hotspots include the San Franciso Bay Area, Atlanta, New York, Washington, D.C., and Boston. Candidates with experience in robotic process automation (RPA), UiPath and Blue Prism will be especially hirable.

3. Data Scientist - 37% growth

As the demand for data reaches new heights, innovators in financial services, technology, and academia will be hiring individuals with skills in machine learning, data science, Python, R, and Apache Spark, especially in New York, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Boston, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

4. Full Stack Engineer - 35% growth

Anyone who can handle the front and back end of an application or website, which may include development, planning, set-up, and service, will find numerous opportunities in 2020, thanks to tech companies, financial service firms, and institutions of higher education. Required skills include knowledge of React.js, Node.js, JavaScript, AngularJS, and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Look to the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Washington, D.C., for the most opportunities.

5. Site Reliability Engineer - 34% growth

You need to look no further than your phone to realize that any individual with a strong background in app development and operation is going to do well in today's economy. Those with a strong base of knowledge in Amazon Web Services, Ansible, Kubernetes, Docker Products, and Terraform will be especially hirable. Look for firms specializing in software, IT, financial services, and consumer electronics in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Seattle, Boston, and Washington, D.C. to do the most hiring this year.

Additional jobs in demand

6. Customer Success Specialist - 34% growth

Professionals with a mix of hard and soft skills will find work with software firms and marketing and advertising agencies, among others.

7. Sales Development Representative - 34% growth

If you can sell - and know Salesforce - you'll be in demand in 2020.

8. Data Engineer - 33% growth

Qualified engineers will need to continue organizing the mountains of data that companies now collect on customers, patients, potential clients, and more.

9. Behavioral Health Technician - 32% growth

As health insurance companies increase their coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment, new opportunities have also emerged for individuals who specialize in working with patients with autism or behavioral disorders.

10. Cybersecurity Specialist - 30% growth

Online threats to individuals, government agencies, corporations, and other entities continue to increase. Those individuals who can help keep the world's information safe will find plenty of opportunities in 2020 and beyond.

The final 5

Rounding out the top 15 are back-end developers at 30%, chief revenue officers at 28%, cloud engineers at 27%, JavaScript developers at 25%, and product owners at 24% annual growth.

This article, by Marco Buscaglia, originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

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