Here Are the 20 Fastest-Growing Jobs in the US

December 7, 2017

The chances are that if back in 2012 somebody told you to go and hire a machine learning engineer, your immediate response would be “what is this exotic creature that I have never heard of?”

Yet, in 2017 this is the job that tops our list of the fastest-growing roles in the US - the demand for it has skyrocketed 10X over the past five years, according to LinkedIn data.

This is just one example of how dramatically the job landscape is changing, driven by the boom of tech, artificial intelligence and increase in flexibility. You can see the full list of the 20 hottest roles below and if your company is already hiring for this talent, we have shared a few tips for how to find great potential hires. Keep in mind that some of the roles are so new and so hot that the demand of talent far exceeds the supply -- for example, data scientist roles have grown over 650% since 2012, but currently only 35,000 people in the US have data science skills, while hundreds of companies are hiring for those roles.

The 20 roles listed above vary, but here are a few patterns that emerge:

  • The tech boom and the rise of artificial intelligence are driving demand: This one is not a shocker, but some of the hottest jobs with the most limited talent pools fall into this category. Machine learning engineer, data scientist, and big data engineer are just a few that are top of mind for companies.

  • Hiring for outstanding soft skills is a high priority: Many of the roles on the list are customer-facing and underscore the importance of being able to screen candidates for soft skills. Traditionally, that has been one of the most challenging parts of the hiring process, with standard interviews just not cutting it. Many companies now are starting to use soft skills assessments or job auditions to see candidates in a more authentic light.

  • Some roles are so new, that the current talent pool is minimal: A few of the jobs on this list didn’t even exist five years ago, or if they did, they were niche with very few professionals in these roles. This means that you have to get creative when it comes to sourcing talent and be willing to approach people from different fields and consider non-standard skillsets. Reskilling the workforce due to shortage of talent is one of the top trends that will impact you if you are hiring for these roles.

What are the most common previous jobs for talent in the top 20

When the talent pool is limited, your best bet is to source talent who is willing to learn and evolve their skillset. Hiring for hard skills and pre-existing experience is going away, at the expense of hiring for potential.

To give you an idea for sources of high-potential talent, we looked at the LinkedIn profiles of people who are currently employed in the top 5 of these fast-growing roles. Below are the most frequent jobs they previously held. As you can see, great talent can come from anywhere:

Machine Learning Engineer

  1. Software Engineer
  2. Research Assistant
  3. Teaching Assistant
  4. Data Scientist
  5. System Engineer

Data Scientist

  1. Research Assistant
  2. Teaching Assistant
  3. Software Engineer
  4. Data Analyst
  5. Business Analyst

Sales Development Representative

  1. Server
  2. Sales Associate
  3. Account Manager
  4. Administrative Assistant
  5. Customer Service Representative

Customer Success Manager

  1. Account Manager
  2. Project Manager
  3. Customer Service Representative
  4. Program Manager
  5. Sales Manager

Big Data Developer

  1. Software Engineer
  2. Hadoop Developer
  3. System Engineer
  4. Java Engineer
  5. ETL Developer

The top skills that people in these jobs possess

As you start sourcing talent, you may be wondering what are the top skills to screen for. Here is what our analysis showed are the most common skills for those currently employed in the top 5 roles:

Machine Learning Engineer

  1. Machine Learning
  2. Research
  3. Algorithms
  4. Software
  5. Deep Learning

Data Scientist

  1. Data Science
  2. Machine Learning
  3. Analytics
  4. Data Mining
  5. Python

Sales Development Representative

  1. Sales
  2. Sales Management
  3. Business Development
  4. Account Planning
  5. Start-Ups

Customer Success Manager

  1. Management
  2. Software as a Service
  3. Enterprise Software
  4. Sales
  5. Customer Success Management

Big Data Developer

  1. Big Data
  2. Hadoop
  3. Java
  4. [Apache] Hive
  5. Start-Ups


The list of the 20 fastest-growing jobs shows that the talent demand in the US is changing so rapidly -- many of the roles on the list didn’t even exist five years ago. Imagine what will be the case by 2020. Most likely you would have never heard of any of those jobs.

The good news is switching your hiring mindset from looking for hard skills to hiring for potential can unlock these future talent pools. Combining that with upskilling and reskilling the workforce becoming a top priority for many companies, you are as recruiter will be living through some of the most exciting and professionally fulfilling times. Your ability to sell the vision for a job and identify potential will set you up for success.


The results of this analysis represent the world seen through the lens of LinkedIn data. As such, it is influenced by how members choose to use the site, which can vary based on professional, social, and regional culture, as well as overall site availability and accessibility. These variances were not accounted for in the analysis.

We looked at all members who list dated work experience on their profile and grouped the millions of unique, user-inputted job titles based on common job roles (which have many permutations). For example, the “machine learning engineer” job title includes user inputted titles such as “machine learning software engineer” and “machine learning engineer II.” We then counted the frequencies of job titles that were held in 2012 and compared the results to job titles that were held in 2017. “Emerging jobs” refers to the job titles that saw the largest growth in frequency over that 5 year period.

To determine common career paths, we looked at members who list a current position with one of the “emerging" job titles and counted the frequencies of job titles these members held in 2012. The availability of jobs by region and by industry are based on the company and location information of members who currently hold these job titles.

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