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Emsi: Data Works

Labor market insight for higher education leaders

Emerging Jobs & Skills in STEM

April 2017


Staying ahead of emerging skills and newly relevant job titles is integral to program planning and curriculum alignment.

This analysis looks broadly at all STEM occupations to identify top job titles and emerging skills that colleges ought to consider as they evaluate the needs of their regional economies.

We also took a closer look at software development and registered nursing—two popular fields across the nation—to isolate emerging skills and popular job titles within each occupation.


For this study, we started with nearly 4,800 job titles. We focused on STEM occupations and looked at job titles with an increasing number of job postings over the last 5 years and increasing rate of postings for at least 2 years.

Finally, we focused on job titles that require at least an associate degree, but less than a Ph.D. or doctoral degree—which narrowed our scope to 117 job titles. All comparisons are drawn from 2015-2016 at a national level.

Emerging Jobs & Skills Across STEM

Shown in the “Emerging STEM Job Titles” graph below, we outlined the top two job titles in four popular occupation categories. The leading job title in each of those categories are licensed practical nurse, chemist, cloud engineer architect, and service engineer.

Further, the top emerging skills across all of STEM include Microsoft forefront identity manager, leadership effectiveness training, regression testing, gerontological nursing, and applications architecture.

Software Development: Emerging Skills & Job Titles

Job postings related to the SOC for software developers, applications (15-1132) represent 60% of all job postings for computer and mathematical occupations.

We identified 7 emerging job titles within the field. Cloud engineer architects, Salesforce developers, Android developers, and python developers represent emerging job titles that are moving toward distinct new technologies. While data engineers, staff software engineers, and applications engineers are based around broader skill sets.

Emerging skills in the software development field can be broken out into four categories: hard developer-related skills, quality management-related skills, soft skill and management-related skills, and programming language-related skills.

Hard-developer related skills saw the most growth of any category from 2015 to 2016. Other notable skills include methodologies in the quality management category and C sharp in the programming langauges category.

Along with high-growth skills, we identified skills that were new to software development in 2016. Skills in the soft skill/management category like mentorship, marketing, and consulting were the most frequently asked for new skills.

Registered Nursing: Emerging Skills & Job Titles

Job postings related to the SOC for registered nurses (29-1141) represent 65% of all job postings for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations.

Six emerging job titles stood out within the field. Cardiovascular operating room nurses, pediatric nurses, and hospice nurses are all emerging jobs that are specialized extensions of registered nursing. On the other hand, nurse educators, nursing staff development coordinators, and patient care managers are emerging jobs that are associated with broader registered nursing skill sets.

The eight highest growing skills in registered nursing range from telemetry (71%) to post-anesthesia care (51%).

The skills completely new to registered nursing in 2016 fall into three broad categories: technology-based, hard-skill based, and soft-skill based. The top skills in those categories respectively are Microsoft Access, rounding, and customer service.


We see a clear theme across these occupations and their respective emerging skills and job titles. Half of the emerging trends are centered around new technologies, whether that be a programming language or medical technology. The other half of these emerging skills and jobs involve a new mix of skills that are proving to be increasingly relevant to the occupation. For example, nurses that can instruct or software developers that carry marketing skills.

Both of these categories can have a massive impact on the labor market. The addition of a single skill can change the way an occupation operates. The combination of broader skills into an occupation can often lead to new occupations altogether. What started as computer science with a mix of statistics skills eventually morphed into the entirely new field of data science.

For colleges, those new fields are difficult to spot and train for. However, if they dig into the emerging skills in the fields that are in-demand today, they’re setting their students up for career success—even if the job title changes over time.