Growth industries: The hot fields to train for now

Which growth industries are hiring now and in the near future? If you want to change direction, consider one of these job-rich fields.

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Illustration: Ana Benaroya


The news was good for NYC job seekers in early July, when the monthly employment summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cited the metropolitan area’s over-the-year employment increase as the country’s largest, with 78,200 new employees on the payroll. But even as the number of working Americans continues its rebound, jobs aren’t (yet) in abundant supply, so if you’re thinking about a new career direction or professional training, it makes sense to consider one of these growth industries. Alternatively, you might want to strike out on your own or check out our roundup of skill-enhancing adult classes.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of adult classes in NYC

According to the BLS’s most recent Employment Projections report, industries and occupations in the health-care, personal-care and social-assistance sectors are expected to have the fastest growth through 2020, with registered nurses, home-health aides and personal-care aides among the most in-demand job titles, as more and more baby boomers approach retirement age. “They’re pretty similar occupations,” says BLS branch chief Michael Wolf of the latter two positions. “One just happens to be in the personal-care industry instead of the health-care industry, but they both involve working with people—primarily elderly people but also people in health-care situations—and those two are both growing at a rate of about 70 percent.”

Health care

The outlook for nurses is particularly rosy. According to the New York State Department of Labor, the need for RNs will outweigh the need for any other professional position in the coming years. Another advantage: To become a registered nurse, you don’t need work experience or on-the-job training (schooling and licensing take care of that). Area universities have, of course, heeded the educational call, with a variety of intensive programs available to assist would-be nurses in turning pro.

In only 15 months, the Accelerated B.S. at NYU’s College of Nursing (nursing.nyu.edu) prepares students for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX). Graduates go on to work at some of the city’s best-known hospitals, including Mt. Sinai, Bellevue and NewYork-Presbyterian. Meanwhile, Columbia University’s Combined B.S./M.S. Entry to Practice (ETP) Program (cumc.columbia.edu/nursing) offers students the opportunity to specialize in a particular practice, such as nurse anesthesia, midwifery, adult/geriatric, pediatrics, psychiatric, and acute care.  Applications must be in before November and courses start in June. Further specialization can be found in the network of colleges of the City University of New York (cuny.edu), which offer advanced certifications in a variety of areas, from Alcohol and Substance Abuse to Geriatric Care Management, keeping current health-care professionals one step ahead of their colleagues.

“Employment in the health-care sector has been growing steadily over the past ten years; it represents about 13 percent of all jobs in New York City,” says Shayne Spaulding, CUNY’s university director of workforce development, who also notes that, “Increasingly, jobs across health care require ‘customer service’ skills, the ability to work well with other health-care professionals, and understand how to use data, but this can really vary by occupation.”

Big data

As companies use ever-increasing amounts of data to grow their businesses, the need for big-data specialists in every field is on the rise. “New York City is home to a number of economic sectors being completely transformed by data—including finance, fashion, advertising and media—and start-ups at the intersection of data and those fields are thriving,” says Chris Wiggins, associate professor of Applied Mathematics at Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science and a member of both the executive and education committees for the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering (IDSE) (idse.columbia.edu), a brand-new research and education institute focused on the emerging field of data science.

Launching this fall, the IDSE will offer a four-course Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences, with a master’s program likely to follow next year. “We’ve focused on a core curriculum in data science, which we think will be useful to students coming from a variety of skill sets,” says Wiggins, “but most of the interest so far has come from currently employed students hoping to improve their career trajectory by adding skills in data science to their computational or quantitative background.”

Technology

Though technology continues to change—and improve—our lives in every imaginable way, it’s difficult to track the actual growth of the field as a whole because technology-related positions exist within every sector. “Tech has now become essential to every industry—[including] education, health care, finance, publishing and media,” says Jessica Lawrence, executive director of NY Tech Meetup (nytm.org), a nonprofit organization comprising more than 33,000 members of the local technology community and creators of the Made in New York City (nytm.org/made-in-nyc) list of nearly 600 Gotham-based digital companies (many of which are hiring). “Tech isn’t a slice of the pie, it’s the pan that supports everything.

When it comes to the hottest jobs right now, Lawrence notes that, “looking at the list of companies hiring [on our site] and what they are hiring for, you get a strong sense of which jobs are in demand, including iOS engineers, Android engineers, front-end and back-end developers, product designers and managers, Web designers and developers and UX/UI designers.”

“Most computer occupations are growing at a faster-than-average rate,” notes  the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Michael Wolf. “The fastest growth is for software developers, but there’s also fast growth for database administrators, network administrators and computer systems analysts.”

Well-regarded international professional training outfit Global Knowledge offers an ongoing series of advanced IT and business skills courses at its downtown Manhattan training center (1 State St Plaza at Whitehall St, 23rd floor; 800-268-7737, globalknowledge.com), including upcoming offerings dedicated to SQL Server Administration, UNIX Fundamentals and Cloud & Virtualization Essentials.

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