1. Technical Writer Job
Technical writing is the art of conveying complex information to an audience with varying amounts of familiarity with the subject. Technical writers, also known as technical communicators, might be employed in a number of fields, which range from manufacturing to the sciences to information technology. They use their expertise to write everything from how-to guides and journals to instruction manuals and supporting documents like FAQ pages.
“I’ve always had a great love of writing and figuring things out,” says Adriane Hunt, president of the Society for Technical Communication. “I enjoyed all things technical.”
After earning a degree in English literature, Hunt got an internship at an engineering magazine. Later, she scored a job as a junior technical writer at a company that specialized in hardware and software documentation. Thirty years later, Hunt is still enjoying the challenge and satisfaction that technical writing offers.
In addition to sitting down and writing, the job of a technical writer involves working with a team to determine both the needs of their users and the best way to reach them, whether that might be through an online video, a hard-copy manual or social media. They’ll also coordinate with their technical staff, designers and product developers. “Technical writers are integral to the success of a product,” Hunt says. “It’s absolutely a team effort.”
As web-based, scientific and technical products proliferate, so will the need for more technical writers. In fact, the BLS expects 5,700 new jobs to open up in the field of technical writing from 2016 to 2026 at a rate of nearly 11 percent, which is faster than the average growth for all jobs.
2. Interpreter and Translator Job
While interpreters and translators both mold language to convey meaning, they shape it in distinct ways.
Sign-language interpreters rely on a set of quick hands to relay a speaker’s words to a hearing-impaired audience.
“To be fluent [in sign language], that takes years,” says Janet Bailey, former government affairs representative for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.
Another set of interpreters works in spoken language. Some settings require both fluency in a second language and the ability to interpret that language in relation to a field rich in its own terminology. For example, those assisting non-English speaking individuals in a court room must have a concrete understanding of legal lingo, just as those working in a hospital should be well-versed in medical terms.
Translators rely on the power of a precise pen to convert written materials from one language to another. The aim is to make the cross-language version a carbon copy of its original, which requires accurately recording the facts while retaining as much of the style and structure as possible. While interpreters work in schools, hospitals, courtrooms and conference centers, translators often work from home. Having a knack for marketing is beneficial for freelance interpreters and translators seeking to broaden their clientele.
By 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 17 percent employment growth for interpreters and translators, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The field is on track to add 11,400 new positions during that period. As diversity in the U.S. increases and globalization continues at a breakneck pace, so will the demand for spoken-language interpreters. Job prospects are especially bright for those fluent in Chinese, German, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish. Sign-language interpreters should also expect an employment boom, thanks to the popularity of video relay, a Skype-like service that enables people who are deaf to communicate with interpreters online. Greater interaction and trade among people throughout the globe and continued demand for military interpreters and translators should also pave the way for increased employment in this field for years to come.
3. Public Relations Specialist Job
Public relations specialists aim to generate positive publicity for their clients and enhance their reputation. They may serve as the press secretary for the president of the United States, a communications director for Google or a media specialist for a small nonprofit.
As a public relations specialist, it’s your job to cultivate and maintain close and productive relationships with journalists, bloggers and opinion leaders. You’ll be asked to create print and web-based communications materials – which may include story pitches, press releases, Q-and-A interviews, presentations, video scripts and speeches – that are consistent with your client’s image and message. Other responsibilities range from acting as a company spokesperson for a variety of media inquiries and speaking directly to the press on behalf of your client (sometimes deflecting negative criticism), to preparing your client for press conferences, media interviews and speeches.
Social media outreach has become an integral part of a PR specialist’s job in recent years. “With the onset of social infrastructure such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest, combined with the versatility of web tools, the jobs of public relations specialists are growing at a fast clip,” says Gerard Corbett, a chair of the Public Relations Society of America.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for public relations specialists will grow 9 percent between 2016 and 2026. During that time period, 23,300 new jobs will need to be filled.
4. Art Director Job
Art directors or creative directors produce artwork for advertising campaigns, magazines, television shows, films, websites or products. Art directors are often in charge of a design team and ensure their creative executions meet a client’s objectives and remain true to the brand.
Becoming the first print magazine to enhance each image, editorial and advertisement with compelling interactive content sounds like no small feat. But for Rachel Gogel, former design director of GQ Advertising, creating a unique app that would bring the venerable men’s fashion magazine to life was simply par for the course. Just four months after jump-starting the project, Gogel and her team launched GQ Live!, an app that allows readers to scan each print page with their mobile device’s camera and access digital extras such as animations, video trailers and social media. Gogel, who steered the project since its inception, convinced her editorial team and more than 170 advertisers that the app would be the “next big thing.” Her instincts were correct – GQ Live! is now used in every issue as a standard in-book overlay for advertisers and select editorial, and it is seen as an industry leader for magazine apps.
That ability to deliver groundbreaking and inspiring conceptual ideas that work – while thinking across all media – is a vital quality for design directors. “Being a designer or art director doesn’t mean what it used to,” says Gogel, who’s also an instructor at the School of Visual Arts in New York and covers print-to-mobile technologies emerging in the magazine media space. “You’re expected to know about print, web, tablets, social media – it’s no longer one-dimensional.”
For Gogel, who now works as the creative director of advertising for The New York Times, being a design director in the publishing industry means all of the above and then some, with the brand always at the forefront of her decision-making. While being resilient to ever-changing timelines and requests, and working in concert with numerous departments, including sales, editorial, digital, research, marketing and merchandising, Gogel must determine one visual message for a brand and maintain that image and voice throughout all her creative materials. “We represent the brand in everything that we produce, so it has to be of a certain quality,” she says.
With experience, Gogel says art directors will learn about time management, team collaboration, professionalism, punctuality, work ethic, leading a team of artists who might have different visions and taking constructive criticism. “If you are a passionate and engaged individual who takes initiative and knows how to negotiate his or her worth to the company, you’ll be fine,” she says. “It also helps if you have a mentor at your job who can lend advice or vouch for you. A good level of confidence, talent and social skills will get you a long way.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, art directors should see 7 percent growth in employment by 2026 in an industry that is ever-changing.
5. Sound Engineering Technician Job
Sound engineering technicians are tasked with setting up audio equipment, ensuring that microphones work, and monitoring and operating the equipment during a performance or event. They might also record and synchronize sound, and they might even work the lights.
Russell Emery says he “never truly intended to be an audio tech.” Sure, he’d manned the soundboard in high school and college – where he majored in geography – for various plays and concerts, but he’d always thought of that work as extracurricular. But after graduating, he realized he didn’t want to get a job in the federal government. Instead, he took a job at a stage lighting company and later at a professional production company, where he learned how to make professional productions look and sound great. In 2016, Emery was hired to do the same at the presidential debates, working behind the scenes to make sure that the American public heard the questions of the moderators and the views of the candidates.
That’s one of the great things about a career in sound engineering. It can take you to a diversity of places, from theater performances and sporting events to concerts and TV or movie sets.
A DJ, who plays music and moderates the sound at events and venues like weddings, parties and nightclubs, is another type of sound engineering technician. Michael Pachino, a Baltimore-based DJ, focuses on providing the music and entertainment at weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs. And it’s not about just playing songs, Pachino says. It’s about playing the right songs for your crowd, mixing the music seamlessly and hosting the event to the crowd’s tastes.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the field of sound engineering to grow about 6 percent from 2016 to 2026. This growth should account for 1,100 new jobs in the field. The TV and film industries are pushing this steady growth, since they’re constantly striving for better sound quality in their productions.
6. Actor Job
Actors perform in the theater, work in films or star in television productions. Their job is to interpret a writer’s script and portray different characters on the stage or on the screen to a watching public. Their job involves reading scripts, auditioning, researching their characters, memorizing and rehearsing their lines and performing their roles. Much of the job of an actor involves looking for work, and sometimes it involves long bouts of unemployment while waiting for a break.
When he was a kid, Arbender Robinson’s family moved around a lot. To make matters worse, Robinson was a self-proclaimed bookworm with a stutter. But in fourth grade at Richmond Grade School in Richmond, Illinois, all of that started to change.
In an effort to draw him out of his shell, one of his teachers put him in the elementary school musical.
“It was horrible,” Robinson says with a laugh.
But then Robinson says he fell in love with the sense of responsibility that memorizing his lines gave him; with the teamwork that belonging to the cast gave him; and with the sheer fun of it all.
“All of a sudden those values that parents, teachers, mentors and family tried to teach were all coming into play at one time,” Robinson says.
One well-intentioned teacher’s social experiment not only gave Robinson some confidence, but it also pointed him down his future career path. After high school, Robinson studied theater at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He got jobs as a vocalist and an actor with Royal Caribbean Cruises and Walt Disney World, before moving to New York City, where he earned parts in Broadway shows like “Hairspray.” Robinson has also worked in the Broadway revival of “Shuffle Along.”
The acting profession is poised to grow at a rate of 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, resulting in 7,500 new jobs for actors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of the growth will be in the film and TV sectors, as the demand for movies and TV shows continues to be strong. However, performing arts companies and small- to medium-size theaters aren’t expected to fare as well, and instead are expected to continue to experience a decline in funding.
7. Choreographer Job
Choreographers put movement to stories, emotions and ideas. “It’s not lost on me that I’m in a career where people clap for me,” says Andy Blankenbuehler, the choreographer for the buzzy Broadway show “Hamilton.” In other occupations, a job well-done might earn you a pat on the back, a verbal “great job” from an affirming boss or sometimes even a raise. When choreographers really nail the ballet, hip hop, tap and other movement for a show or performance, they get standing ovations.
“There’s a great responsibility to making something out of nothing,” Blankenbuehler says. “There’s often a great amount of pressure. Hopefully thousands of people will love it, hopefully it’ll keep the dancers employed for a long time and hopefully it’ll stay open, but sometimes I can’t come up with ideas and I’m laboring it out.”
He also says that the sheer physicality of a choreographer’s job can be challenging, but he says it’s really an incredible job. “It’s emotionally rewarding when you get it right … to see the audience laugh or cry, it’s really, really rewarding.”
Interest in dance and choreography is diversifying across other platforms such as television, theme parks and casinos, which should create jobs for choreographers. Dancing is also popular in pop culture, and this enthusiasm is expected to attract more students to dance schools, who will require the services of choreographers as teachers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this profession will grow by 3 percent from 2016 to 2026, which should shake out into 200 new choreography jobs.