This year, we followed in the footsteps of the creative and indomitable Fast Company reader. Our readers don't wait for the Department of Labor to tell them what fields are hot — they start their own trends, and develop their own businesses and jobs.
In the spirit of blazing one's own trail, we spoke with trend forecasters to determine which careers will be the most popular in the coming year. Gerald Celente, Publisher of the Trends Journal, along with the team at TrendsResearch.com provided us with details on which industries are growing the fastest. Armed with statistics on industry competitiveness and job availability supplied by Monster.com, this year's list has been compiled with the forward-thinking attitude of the Fast Company reader and the professions listed.
Each job listing contains and explanation of the position, why it's hot for 2007, and suggestions for further topical reading from Fast Company articles from the past year. Some positions have a tech focus, some are design based, but they all share common ground: It takes a creative soul with an endless amount of determination and innovation to thrive in these fields. This year, Fast Company salutes its readers who brave the challenge of the "what if" with the list of top professions destined for success in 2007.
1. Experience designer
These talented individuals work in the retail industry, creating the essence and aura of a store. Experience designers go beyond the look of a place, creating a unique experience in which shoppers can immerse themselves. From cellular boutiques to the American Girl doll store on New York's Fifth Avenue, the shops created by an experience designer are often considered works of art; mini universes unto themselves. Experience designers are involved in every aspect of creation -- from choosing accent colors on walls to slanting the windows in the right direction. The next time you go into a boutique and you feel as if you've just had an "experience" -- you have, and someone went to a lot of trouble to make you feel at home.
2. Medical researcher
It's no news that what's on the forefront of medicine is on the forefront of America's collective mind. Researchers of cancer, Alzheimers, and the developers of prosthetics are the most coveted titles in the healthcare industry. With the aging baby boomer population, the need for cures and treatment plans is both paramount and profitable. Major developments aren’t only taking place in medicine, but also in the way doctors file medical records. Individuals with the know-how and creative juice to mix tech with medicine can expect seven figure salaries in the year ahead.
3. Web designer
What's new about web designers? We already know they have cool jobs, working as the creative arm behind highly trafficked websites. But Trendsresearch.com reports that the profession is still in its adolescent phase, and for 2007 it's going to be a new era of web design. Monster.com charts a 26 percent growth rate in this field for the past year, which will continue to blossom for the coming year.
4. Security systems engineer
Monster.com reports that individuals in the protective services industry can expect a rise in demand and salary for 2007. Advances in Vegas-Casino like security systems and satellite maps are helping to wire the world for defense. Individuals with a head for engineering and computers can easily expect a seven-figure salary in this industry. From sonar imaging to keystroke identification, keeping our country and our world safer has never been easier or more profitable.
5. Urban planners
From the Hong Kong International Airport Residential Tower to suburban "McMansion" sprawl, individuals in residential planning and development can expect a lot of work in the coming year. Urban Planners must meet the demand for real estate that's both decadent and practical. Prefab one-level homes engineered for the aging baby boomer population are changing the face of suburban America, and boosting the demand for urban planners.
6. Viral marketers and media promoters
Not to be confused with someone in advertising or public relations, a viral marketer knows how to build an audience from nothing with little more than rumor and excitement. Known for such coups as MySpace's Lonelygirl15 and the Blair Witch Project, Viral Marketers begin "contagious" campaigns that spread largely through word of mouth. They now have a foothold in American advertising due largely to the Internet.
7. Talent agents
As Clint Eastwood would say, "These days, everyone is famous." And as fame and fortune grows for performers and athletes, a new arena opens for their managers, promoters, and general go-to guys. Although these titles may speak for themselves, duties for those fortunate enough to get close to the stars often include things like latte retrieval and limo reservations. Yet, next to the celebrities themselves, these positions are some of the most competitive in the entertainment industry.
8. Buyers and purchasing agents
Trend forecasters predict that 2007 could be a make-or-break year for the retail industry, specifically the department store. Much of the department store's fate, says Gerald Celente, publisher of the Trends Journal, lies in the hands of the buyers and purchasing agents. These individuals are in charge of store inventory and make decisions on item color, size, quantity, and country of origin. With the recent vicissitudes of the retail industry, these jobs are often hard to come by and can be very lucrative if store profitability increases.
9. Art directors
From Broadway to movie sets, any job that involves paint, lights, cameras, and action is in demand, especially within the 20-30 demographic. Now perceived as the ultimate career for inspired artists with an affinity for pop culture, art directors, set directors, and stage production directors clamor for the top positions that call for hands-on creative genius with a couture designer's eye.
10. News analysts, reporters and bloggers
The Internet has created a new realm for reporters and writers, who previously only saw their names and ideas in print. Now, publications with an online division often hire three levels of correspondents: Print news writers, online news writers, and bloggers. Although most personal blogs aren't profitable enough to stand alone as businesses, writers can use their increasing popularity as another gateway for their voices to be heard.