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Sunday, 30 January 2011

10 Jobs That Didn't Exist 10 Years Ago

Thinking about a career change? For the best odds of snagging and hanging onto a job for the long haul, you'll want to avoid professions on the decline in today's economy (think bookbinders, textile workers and machine-tool operators) and focus on professions whose outlook is rosier (such as health care, financial analysis or social work).

Technology, cultural shifts and changing demographics combine to create new career fields all the time. Here are 10 of our favorite new roles for 2011 and beyond, ones that didn't even exist 10 years ago:

Social Media/Online-Community Manager

Salary range: $38,000 - $83,000
Education required: Bachelor's degree

Social media strategists focus on building their employers' or clients' brands through the use of social media sites and tools, whereas online-community managers specialize in fostering user discussion for the marketers they support. What does a social media or online-community manager need to succeed? Essentials include great written communication skills, a marketing background and lots of experience with social media tools (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube).

Elder-Care Services Coordinator

Salary range: $60,000 - $84,000
Education required: Bachelor's degree

An aging population and increasing interest in at-home or like-home care are factors in the growth of the elder-care services coordinator role. People who understand gerontology and end-of-life issues, and who can stay on top of health-care regulation and follow developing trends in elder-care best practices, would be well-suited to this role. Empathy, follow-through and top-notch communication skills are also must-haves for prospective elder-care services coordinators, who may need advanced degrees in gerontology (the study of aging) or related areas.

Telework Manager or Coordinator

Salary range: $30,000 - $80,000
Education required: Bachelor's degree

Telework program managers and coordinators manage the telework (telecommuting) programs for employers, resolving technical and communication issues that arise and writing policies to cover every imaginable telework-created sticky wicket. Telework program managers may oversee other programs, too. A recent Department of Commerce job listing for a combined telework/disabilities program manager offered a salary range of $89,033 - $136,771 -- not bad at all for a job you can do from home (we're assuming -- the irony would be crushing, otherwise).

Sustainability Manager

Salary range: $61,000 - $120,000
Education required: Bachelor's degree

What we now call a "corporate sustainability program" was once referred to simply as "recycling" and was a small part of someone's job. These days, nearly all sizable corporations employ highly qualified people to look after their sustainability programs, which can stop at recycling and waste reduction or can include supplier sustainability evaluation, carbon footprint issues and leadership in the areas of facilities design, green manufacturing and more. The website Greenbiz.com surveyed corporate sustainability officers and found that VPs are earning close to $200,000 per year.

Educational Consultant

Salary range: $53,000 - $98,000
Education required: Bachelor's degree; Master's a plus

Tutoring is an old field. But in its latest incarnation, educational consultants work with children and their families to get students into the educational environments best-suited to their learning needs. Educational consultants can work on their own, for larger firms or for educational institutions themselves, testing students and interviewing them and their families to help kids get the support they need.

Search Engine Optimization Specialist

Salary range: $40,000 - $105,000
Education required: Bachelor's degree

Search engine optimization pros use a combination of left- and right-brain techniques, from analysis and experimentation to gut feel and insight, to move their clients' or employers' websites up the search engine rankings, thereby bringing them more traffic and, they hope, stronger revenues. For the job, you'll need a mix of technical and marketing skills, grounding in search-engine logic and a nose for website user behavior.

Medical Biller/Coder

Salary range: $34,000 - $41,000
Education required: High-school degree

The new field of medical billing and coding has sprung up to get insurance companies (and government plans, such as Medicare and Medicaid) the information they need and to make sure that medical procedures are classified and recorded the proper way. Medical billers and coders work at doctors' offices, hospitals and other health-care facilities and typically have certification or formal education (six-month and one-year programs abound) that allow them to navigate the tricky terrain of medical terminology.

Online Advertising Manager

Average salary: $49,000 - $94,000
Education required: Bachelor's degree

Online ad managers may work for websites, selling ad programs and working with clients (advertisers) about where on the site, when and how to run online campaigns. Or they may work for advertisers, running the online side of an advertiser's business and tracking each ad's performance. Online advertising managers are savvy marketers who also understand how new technology enables cooler ad programs all the time.

Talent Management Coordinator

Salary range: $67,000 - $80,000
Education required: Bachelor's degree

Human Resources people have always had a hand in what's loosely been called Talent Management -- attracting great people (the "talent") into an organization and keeping them there. These days, corporations employ dedicated talent managers or talent coordinators to plan their workforce needs over time and make sure that the skills exist within the company to keep the organization on top of its game. They may also run their firms' succession-planning programs, keeping nervous board members and shareholders feeling good about the company's ability to hit its goals even if key individuals resign or retire.

User Experience Manager

Salary range: $79,000 - $147,000
Education required: Bachelor's degree; Master's preferred

What's a user experience? Why, it's what happened to you when you went to get your new driver's license or when you, say, read a captivating column online about new professional opportunities. User experience managers were first widely seen in Web-design firms, focusing on a website in development from the viewpoint of a user who would eventually have to navigate the thing. Now, user experience is the watchword for banks, insurance companies, restaurants and virtually any company that has reason to evaluate and improve the way its customers and prospective customers encounter its people and processes.

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