7 Decently-Paying Careers with Lots of Opportunities

Last Updated Jul 13, 2011 10:01 AM EDT

Looking for a job, or thinking of changing fields? CareerBuilder has a little cheat sheet that should help you make some smart choices. After all, it's not just about which fields are expected to grow most quickly in the next few years (although you can get those stats easily enough from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site). It's about where there are plenty of job openings, and not enough qualified workers to fill them.

Even though there are only two fields in which the number of job openings is actually greater than the number of job seekers, about one third of human resource managers say they have open positions for which they can't find qualified candidates. Here are the most promising fields for job seekers, according to CareerBuilder:

Cloud developer: 0.32 active job seekers for every opening (in other words, there are about one-third as many applicants as there are jobs in this field)

Average salary: $100,000

Cloud computing is in hot demand, and so are individuals who know how to make it work and make the most of it. The prospects in this field are only going to get better as companies are faced with larger data and analysis requirements but don't want to build out their own infrastructure to support them.

Registered nurse: 0.38 active job seekers for every opening.

Average salary: $65,000

A shortage of qualified nurses is old news, of course, but now the problem is becoming more acute. Not only is there a growing demand for healthcare services, but enrollment in nursing schools is dropping because there aren't enough nursing teachers.

Business intelligence analyst: 1.01 active job seekers for every opening

Average salary: $98,000

This is a good choice for a data geek with solid business skills. Companies are looking to get more value out of their data streams to help them make smarter business decisions and serve customers better.

Manufacturing quality engineer: 1.05 active job seekers for every opening

Average salary: $68,000

Enough about the death of manufacturing. In some specialties, at least, the need for manufacturing workers remains quite strong. As the economy recovers and exports grow stronger to meet demand in emerging markets, quality engineers are increasingly in demand.

Truck driver: 1.37 active job seekers for every opening

Average salary: $41,000

It's not for everyone, but if extended time on the road, a good bit of solitude and patience with bad traffic are your cup of tea, driving a truck might be a good match.

SEO strategist: 1.75 active job seekers for every opening

Average salary: $70,000

The last thing big companies want is to spend a bundle on a big Web outreach initiative and then find out that no one visits the site. So people who can boost a site's search results are in hot demand--companies want to bring these important skills in-house.

Healthcare administrator: 2.25 active job seekers for every opening

Average salary: $88,000

As an industry, healthcare has been growing rapidly and shows few signs of slowing down. An aging population, plus the fact that over 30 million Americans will be newly insured thanks to health reform laws, means a greater need for individuals who can keep healthcare operations working smoothly.

Where are you or your colleagues finding jobs? How?

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Image courtesy of flickr user plastique

Kimberly Weisul is a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant. Follow her on twitter at www.twitter.com/weisul.


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    Kimberly Weisul is the co-founder of One Thing New, the free email newsletter for smart, busy women. She was previously Senior Editor at BusinessWeek, responsible for all coverage of entrepreneurship and for launching BusinessWeek SmallBiz, a bimonthly magazine. She is also a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant.