Median annual salary: $68,500*
What you'd do all day: Social media managers use sites such as Facebook and Twitter to publicize a company's products or services. A typical day might be spent responding to customer inquiries and complaints via social media tools, writing blog posts and analyzing the effectiveness of social media campaigns.
Why the job is in demand: As more companies rely on social media to attract customers, the demand for social media managers has jumped. In the year ending in April, the number of job listings for social media managers on CareerBuilder grew 56 percent.
Ideal background: Strong organizational skills and understanding of social media, as well as top-notch verbal and written communication skills. A bachelor's degree in a related field may be required.
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Median annual salary: $78,500
What you'd do all day: Think of data scientists as journalists who work with numbers instead of words. Just as journalists take scientific reports and turn them into readable stories for the masses, so, too, do data scientists take numbers and make them meaningful to everyday people. Data scientists also dig deep for the numbers no one else is looking for to find information that might otherwise go unnoticed. Data scientists can work for a wide range of organizations, from NASA to payroll processor Automatic Data Processing to Internet companies such as Amazon.com.
Why it's in demand: Advances in technology have resulted in an explosion of information, and many companies need workers to sift through all that data. A recent McKinsey & Co. report forecasts a shortage in the U.S. alone of up to 190,000 workers with the analytical skills required to be a data scientist. Job listings for data scientists rose 82 percent in the 12 months ending in April.
Ideal background: Strong math and analytical skills. College degree desirable.
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Median annual salary: $88,000
What you'd do all day: Design and build apps, or computer applications, that help smartphone and tablet users read, shop, find information, play games and more.
Why the job is in demand: Recent surveys show that nearly half of Americans own a smartphone, while a quarter plan to buy an iPad electronic tablet. That's a boon for companies that develop apps for those devices, but it's also created a shortage of mobile application developers. ITCareerFinder.com recently selected the role of mobile application developer as its No. 1 Best Computer Job for the Future, through 2020. The site noted that "there are simply more job openings than skilled and educated mobile developers to fill them" -- especially for Apple and Android operating systems. Related job listings surged 60 percent in the year ending in April.
Ideal background: Bachelor's degree in computer science and related field. Proficiency with computer code, software and operating systems.
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Median annual salary: $100,000
What you'd do all day: "Cloud" computing is a way for companies and consumers to save data and information remotely via the Internet, rather than, say, on a computer hard drive or flash drive. And it's a business that's growing by leaps and bounds as companies look for ways to slash costs.
Why it's in demand: The increased demand for cloud computing means employers need more workers who can design cloud systems. That often includes working with a company's information-technology team to ensure that the technology is developed in a way best suited for the clients' needs. The number of related job listings on CareerBuilder rose 92 percent in the year ending in April.
Ideal background: College degree in computer information technology or related field. Customer service skills are a plus, too.
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Median annual salary: $65,000
What you'd be doing all day: Search-engine experts help ensure that businesses' web pages rank high in Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. So any time that a user searches for a specific product, service or the company, that company will pop up in the results, preferably on the first page. To that end, search engine specialists create and manage web pages, and design strategies and advertising campaigns to support them. They also analyze data to ensure that goals are being met.
Why it's in demand: The ability to create attractive web pages that show up in the top returns in search engines is one way that many companies seek to promote and sell their products and services. Employing a specialist who understands search techniques and website design helps consumers to more easily find the businesses and products they're interested in. The number of jobs ads in this field have risen 15 percent in the year ending in April.
Ideal background: College degree in computer science or related field. Strong writing and verbal skills, experience with the Internet, and ability to meet tight deadlines are key.
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