The COVID-19 crisis has dealt the U.S. economy and others around the world a staggering blow. Microsoft calculates that unemployment in 2020 may reach a quarter of a billion people worldwide.
But the pandemic hasn’t been horrible for all industries. Microsoft analyzed data from LinkedIn’s latest Economic Graph, which tracks workforce trends and emerging skill gaps. It identifies 10 professions that are in demand and are expected to grow, even in the coronavirus-crushed economy.
Microsoft expects its new global skills initiative to train some 25 million people in digital skills by year’s end to fill these 10 in-demand jobs. These jobs:
- Have some of the most job openings
- Have had steady growth over the past four years
- Pay a livable wage
- Require skills that can be learned online
Scroll through this slideshow to see which professions are still in high demand. Perhaps you’ll find a new career.
1. Software developer
This is a great gig to get and to keep. It pays a median salary of $105,590 per year (over $50 per hour), according to 2018 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BLS projected 21% growth in software developer jobs between 2018 and 2028.
In fact, this is one of the jobs we cited in “26 Work-From-Home Jobs That Pay $100,000.”
The vast majority of these openings were in California as of May 2019. Three other states hiring many software developers were Texas, New York and Washington.
2. Sales representative
A business can have a great product, but often it’s workers who convince customers to buy in.
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives earned median pay of more than $63,000 per year (roughly $30 per hour) in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sales reps for industries such as telecommunications, electronics stores and consulting services earned similar wages.
3. Project manager
If you can help companies meet deadlines, stay within budgets and delegate duties, this job could be for you. Microsoft’s global skills initiative lays out the path toward this profession, including a variety of multimedia courses.
4. IT administrator
Pre-pandemic, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 5% increase in these jobs from 2018 to 2018.
Folks in this profession, which ensures that computer networks in many types of companies run smoothly, earned a median income of $83,510 per year ($40.15 per hour) in 2019.
5. Customer service specialist
These business front-liners can make or break a customer’s experience. They need to handle complaints, orders and questions, not to mention frustrated and confused callers.
A high school diploma is the base educational requirement, and these workers can make nearly $35,000 annually (about $17 per hour).
6. Digital marketing specialist
Folks in this field — who use social media, data analytics tools and design software — can earn an average salary of more than $70,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Top earners can make nearly $60 per hour, with the vast majority of jobs in California and New York.
7. IT support / help desk
These workers are the 911 for folks having issues with their computers and systems, and it seems like they will always be in demand in our increasingly connected world. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 10% growth in these jobs from 2018 to 2028.
The median pay in 2019 for this profession was $54,760 per year (around $26 per hour).
8. Data analyst
Data analysts are expected to be in demand, but the job can come with frustrations.
The role involves providing insights and possible business strategies. But too often these workers must wrestle with issues outside of their role, according to a survey by Fivetran.
Those challenges include:
- Data quality problems
- Conflicting data
- Having to train business users
- Wasting time trying to access data
The Fivetran study found that 90% of respondents were hampered by unreliable data sources; more than 60% said they wasted time waiting for engineering resources.
9. Financial analyst
The typical educational level required for these workers — they are money advisers to businesses and individuals — is a bachelor’s degree.
But there is a good return on that investment. The median pay for a financial analyst was $85,660 per year (about $41 per hour) in 2018, the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Most of these jobs were in California, but Washington, D.C., is the place with the greatest concentration of financial analysts.
10. Graphic designer
The states with the highest levels of employment for graphic designers are California, New York, Texas and Florida, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The median yearly salary for a graphic designer was just over $52,000 (about $25 per hour) in 2019.