the 26 most competitive careers that are worth the challenge

The job market can be an incredibly competitive place, especially for those looking to break into an exciting and rewarding career. With so many potential paths to success, it can be hard to know which career is the most competitive and worth the effort. To help make the decision easier, we’ve compiled a list of 26 of the most competitive careers that are worth the challenge. This comprehensive list breaks down the skills and qualifications needed to excel in each field, and provides insight as to why these careers can be so rewarding. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to make a career change, this post is designed to help open up the possibilities available and provide a clear understanding of what it takes to succeed in each of the top 26 competitive career paths.

23 JOBS OF THE FUTURE (and jobs that have no future)

What are competitive careers?

Positions in competitive careers attract a lot of candidate interest. They might be in demand because they provide excellent pay or flexible work hours. Because of the specific business or organization where they are offered, they might be competitive. Knowing which professions are competitive can help you make a resume and cover letter that stands out for whatever reason.

26 most competitive careers for job seekers

Consider this list of 26 highly competitive careers:

Music directors’ main responsibilities are to supervise all musical performance preparation and execution. They might closely coordinate a forthcoming event with musicians and performers. Additionally, music directors may be in charge of finding and hiring performers or, if necessary, displacing them throughout the course of the production.

Computer programmers design and build computer programs using their background in coding and programming. They could assess current code to look for issues and enhance user experience. They could collaborate with companies to build brand-new websites from scratch.

Maintaining professional connections with medical professionals, such as doctors and researchers, is one of the main responsibilities of medical science liaisons. They might direct studies or offer advice to medical facilities or hospitals. Numerous medical science liaisons collaborate closely with medical administrators in a consulting capacity to provide advice.

Public relations managers’ main responsibilities include collaborating closely with clients to uphold or improve their reputations. They enjoy positive working relationships with newspapers and other media organizations, which enables them to publish articles about brands. They could also assist clients in avoiding bad press by planning charitable events

Creative managers oversee and approve digital marketing campaigns as part of marketing teams. They may create and oversee social media or paid advertising. Additionally, they might meet with clients to better comprehend their marketing and creative design objectives and offer suggestions for new designs, such as logos or marketing materials.

Marketing managers are primarily responsible for managing a business’ advertising and promotional activities. They frequently coordinate with various departments to achieve the business’ marketing objectives. They might also participate in the development and planning of fresh marketing strategies to raise brand awareness among consumers.

Technology analysts’ main responsibilities are to evaluate a company’s current technical systems for productivity and efficiency. They might also offer suggestions for fresh security systems. Some technology analysts may hold consulting positions where they oversee the adoption of new technology initiatives in start-up businesses.

Primary responsibilities: Design managers oversee all aspects of a design team in a leadership capacity. To ensure project completion, they might collaborate closely with planners, contractors, and the client. They might oversee a budget or make sure their team satisfies all requirements.

Primary responsibilities include educating healthcare professionals about new and upcoming pharmaceutical products. They consult with their network of healthcare professionals after learning about new prescriptions in order to boost sales of that product. The uses and negative effects of the medications may also be discussed with the doctor.

Financial advisors’ main responsibilities include assisting clients with understanding their current financial situation and future planning. They might collaborate with clients to make budgets and analyze spending patterns. They could also assist clients with retirement planning or assessing major purchases.

Project managers’ main responsibilities are to supervise projects and make sure the team has the resources they may need to complete the project. To keep clients informed and keep an eye on budgets, they employ sophisticated organizational and problem-solving skills. Some project managers might also contribute to setting and monitoring project goals.

Primary responsibilities: Personal injury attorneys assist clients who are injured. They assist their client in gathering proof and constructing a case that establishes liability as they represent them in court. By appearing in court, they may also help their client determine the worth of their claim and pursue compensation.

Primary responsibilities: Management consultants assist businesses in streamlining their operational procedures and management systems. They frequently have effective management and leadership abilities that they can use to find and develop new leadership talent. Additionally, they might help organizations recognize and resolve management or operational conflicts.

Primary duties: Procurement managers locate and buy products for businesses. They frequently employ honed negotiating techniques to secure the best deal and plan for prompt product delivery. Typically, they serve as a company’s primary point of contact with its suppliers.

Business system analysts’ main responsibilities are to assess a company’s development plans and offer recommendations based on trends. They might offer advice on specific tactics they can employ to upgrade the brand’s systems. A new business’ planning team may also include business systems analysts.

Primary responsibilities: Management analysts frequently serve as consultants, offering suggestions on how to increase a company’s efficiency. They might suggest particular methods for boosting revenue and cutting expenses. Management analysts frequently analyze past sales data to spot trends and forecast upcoming sales.

Supply chain managers are primarily in charge of all aspects of production. They might entail negotiating, buying, or delivering goods for the company. They might be in charge of anticipating product trends, managing inventory, and overseeing product pricing and quality.

Information technology (IT) managers’ main responsibilities include managing the IT department and overseeing the recruitment and instruction of IT specialists. They might also be in charge of setting up and maintaining a company’s computer systems. The monitoring of sensitive or private information is handled by the IT manager.

Product managers’ main responsibilities include matching consumer demand to product offerings. They anticipate customer needs thanks to a background in product development and procurement. They might also suggest techniques or inventory control systems to control product costs.

Architects’ main responsibilities are to plan and create buildings, or particular rooms, areas, and features of a building. They might collaborate on developing new building plans with clients or government agencies. In order to ensure that plans are followed, they may also oversee the construction of a new business, including the designs and costs.

Software engineers’ main responsibilities include creating, planning, and implementing new software programs using computer languages. They might also be in charge of analyzing and fixing issues with current programs. To complete a project, they frequently collaborate with groups of other software engineers, developers, designers, programmers, and coders.

Hardware engineers use computers to conduct research and develop new software. They may also test current computer systems to measure efficiency. They specifically work with hardware, including computers or processors.

Engineering managers’ main responsibilities include creating a new product concept. They direct and collaborate closely with a group of engineers to meet project objectives and technical specifications. Engineer managers are frequently in charge of recruiting and educating their engineers.

Data scientists’ main responsibilities are to design data modeling procedures to assess business needs. They analyze this data with data science techniques. To comprehend a company’s objectives, they meet with business owners or leaders and offer recommendations based on their research.

Pharmacy technicians fill prescriptions using their training in medicine and chemistry as their main duties. To keep an eye on interactions and prescription usage, they collaborate closely with medical professionals. They talk with customers about prescriptions and caution them about potential side effects

Primary responsibilities: Patent attorneys assist product designers in drafting and filing patent applications. They frequently have technological backgrounds, which aids them in representing clients in product-related disputes. They assist their clients with the application process and research on their invention.

21 most competitive jobs to pursue

Due to various factors, such as the organization, salary, specialty, or location, a job may be considered competitive. The list of 21 potentially competitive jobs is provided below, along with information on their typical yearly salaries and main job responsibilities:

An advertising sales representative’s main responsibilities are to sell clients—both companies and individuals—advertising space. These professionals are sometimes called “advertising sales agents. They can sell a variety of ad spaces, including print, video, radio, and television

Advertising sales representatives are in charge of finding and getting in touch with potential customers, talking to them about their needs, and recommending the best ad sizes and formats. To manage these transactions, keep track of their clients’ accounts, and provide advertising proofs for their approval, they create sales presentations and cost estimates.

Primary responsibilities: A buyer chooses and orders goods for companies so they can sell them or use them internally. These experts can work in a variety of sectors, including manufacturing and retail. Several job titles, such as “purchasing agent,” “purchasing coordinator,” or “purchasing specialist,” can be used to describe this position. Buyers frequently adhere to a budget, bargain prices with suppliers and vendors, and work with experts in inventory and supply management to monitor deliveries or maintain proper stock levels.

A medical science liaison’s main responsibilities include educating the public on medical technology, drugs, and treatments. These specialists frequently work in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries and focus on a specific therapeutic area or disease. Medical science liaisons frequently communicate with medical experts and researchers at hospitals, universities, and pharmaceutical companies to share information about their employers’ services.

An engagement manager’s main responsibilities include fostering goodwill among an organization’s clients and frequently acting as their point of contact. They oversee contracts, address issues as they arise, and handle bills and invoices while managing a portfolio of client accounts. Engagement managers may also participate in client-related projects, planning and developing processes and obtaining client approval for various initiatives.

A logistician’s main responsibilities include assessing and managing an organization’s supply chain. They look at this procedure to see how it can be made more effective, from getting the products from suppliers to getting them to the customers.

For instance, a logistician may conduct research and put solutions into practice to assist in lowering costs or transportation times. They frequently employ software to monitor and control the flow of goods, collaborating closely with suppliers and customers to make sure the company meets their needs.

A marketing manager’s main responsibilities are to supervise an organization’s marketing policies and initiatives. These specialists create marketing campaigns and initiatives aimed at publicizing the business and drawing clients. Additionally, marketing managers are in charge of making sure that campaigns support the reputation of the company and are consistent with its values, vision, and mission. To make sure their efforts are successful or to pinpoint areas for improvement, they might examine data and research market trends.

A management consultant’s main responsibilities include working with clients to offer suggestions for improving their organizations and management practices and procedures. These experts frequently focus on a specific industry and may work as independent contractors or for consulting firms.

They consult with clients to learn about their needs, frequently doing research or keeping an eye out for potential problems. After determining the problems a company is facing, they look into potential solutions and present a strategy or recommendations.

A creative director’s main responsibilities are to direct an organization’s creative efforts. They may plan and manage creative concepts for publications, products, or advertising and marketing materials depending on the sector and role.

They frequently direct a group of experts who work together and translate their ideas into written or visual content. It is possible for creative directors to create project budgets and schedules, proposals for client approval, and feedback for team members to consider making changes.

A procurement manager’s main responsibilities are to oversee the purchasing procedure at organizations. They assist in creating purchasing plans and supply chains for the goods and services the organization requires, after which they make sure that the necessary employees and collaborators follow the established protocols.

After determining the needs of the company for goods or services, they investigate potential vendors and suppliers and their products. Additionally, the procurement manager keeps in touch with suppliers and vendors, frequently bargaining for contracts and lower prices.

A supply chain manager’s main responsibilities include monitoring the procedures and activities within a company’s supply chain. They assist in overseeing each step, from organizing orders and sourcing suppliers to delivering and getting rid of things as needed.

These experts evaluate and develop supply chain strategies, frequently with the goal of developing less-expensive, more effective procedures. To oversee and negotiate contracts, supply chain managers also establish and maintain relationships with business partners like manufacturers, suppliers, and delivery coordinators.

An IT manager’s main responsibilities are planning and managing an organization’s computer and information systems. These systems frequently consist of computer software, hardware, and networks, and they can work for both public and private organizations across a range of industries. The IT manager frequently oversees a group of workers, assesses the organization’s IT requirements, and creates and implements solutions to deal with those requirements. To keep systems secure and up to date, they might create IT policies and security measures and present recommendations to important stakeholders.

A product marketing manager’s main responsibilities are developing sales strategies for an organization’s product line. They frequently collaborate with members of the sales and marketing teams to create marketing collateral and campaigns to draw in both current and potential customers. These experts may conduct competitor analyses and market research to better comprehend the market and consumers’ needs and interests, assisting the group in developing more successful strategies. To evaluate the success of their campaigns, the product marketing manager may also keep an eye on product sales.

A technical project manager’s main responsibilities include organizing and managing an organization’s IT and IT-related initiatives. For instance, they could be in charge of a system upgrade or the rollout of new, organization-wide computer software. These experts establish the project’s budget, timeframe, and resource needs, then keep an eye on activities to ensure compliance. The technical project manager can also define workflow procedures, necessary outputs, and assigned team roles.

A product manager’s main responsibilities include supervising a product’s development from the planning or conception stages to its release. To define the product vision and guarantee its success, they collaborate with various design, marketing, and sales team members. The product manager may take on the role of a project manager, setting goals, budgets, deadlines, and other requirements for the development process. They frequently give stakeholders updates on the status of their projects. To make sure the product is viable and meets customer demands or needs, they also collect information and carry out research.

A finance manager’s main responsibilities include monitoring an organization’s health and managing its financial data and operations. These experts oversee investment activities, produce and present financial reports, and establish financial objectives. Finance managers frequently implement tactics designed to increase profits and cut costs for businesses. They might direct a group of accountants who assist the business in staying in compliance with all applicable tax and regulatory laws.

The main responsibilities of a software engineer are to create systems and software for commercial or private use. When creating software, developers consider the functionality needs of users as well as standards for security, performance, and other factors. Usually, the programmer implements and tests the code that the software engineer wrote to build the software. A software engineer may keep track of the software or system after it has been put into use and create, suggest, and carry out upgrades as necessary.

An engineering manager, also known as an architectural and engineering manager, is responsible for planning and supervising projects. These initiatives frequently involve building or renovating public and private structures or infrastructure. Engineering managers establish staffing and equipment needs, produce detailed project plans, and suggest budgets. Although they may not constantly monitor the construction sites, they frequently implement the necessary processes and procedures and evaluate the caliber of the work produced.

Data scientists are IT professionals who specialize in the analysis of large amounts of data. Depending on their interests, they work for various organizations in different fields. To collect, clean, and interpret raw data, data scientists use machine learning, statistics, algorithms, and other technical skills. They might find patterns or predictions in the data and present them to the stakeholders in a clear way so they can use it for business or decision-making.

A pharmacist’s main responsibilities include filling prescriptions and giving patients their medications. They frequently work in hospitals, drug stores, pharmacies, and other healthcare facilities. When filling prescriptions, pharmacists make sure there won’t be any negative interactions with the patient’s health conditions or other prescribed medications. They can advise patients and clients about over-the-counter medications or other fundamental healthcare requirements.

A data engineer’s main responsibilities are to construct and maintain an organization’s data analytics infrastructure. For instance, they might develop and manage databases that house a lot of data. Additionally, data engineers are in charge of creating procedures for collecting, verifying, cleaning, and analyzing data. Such processes and procedures are implemented within an organization while adhering to the necessary data governance and security policies.

A patent attorney’s main responsibilities are to assist clients in protecting their ideas. These attorneys use their knowledge of intellectual property and patent law when working with clients to help secure property rights for ideas and inventions. They prepare and submit patent applications on behalf of clients, appear in court on their behalf as necessary, and frequently act as a point of contact throughout the patent process in case problems develop.

3 Child protective services social worker

Average annual salary: $54,880

Although not always physically demanding, this job can be mentally taxing. A child protective services social worker will encounter some challenging circumstances and potentially volatile individuals while working to provide the best possible care for the child they are worried about. This job could mean the difference between the child’s life and death, which is a very heavy responsibility to carry.

Average annual salary: $56,920

The food industry may not be physically demanding, but it is mentally demanding. Anybody can get worn out while attempting to supervise the other members of the kitchen staff and prepare a ton of orders in the presence of dangers.

Average annual salary: $50,340

It can be exhausting to operate heavy vehicles for longer than eight hours each day. You must always keep your eyes on the road, which can be very taxing. You will also spend a lot of time by yourself. Although the pay is not the best, entering this profession is not that difficult.

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Average annual salary: $80,730

Scientists must overcome challenges every day in order to make discoveries; for example, they might run into an unexpected problem while conducting research that they must fix. When there is a deadline for making discoveries, as with the diligent work of the scientists developing new vaccines, it becomes even more urgent.

Average annual salary: $44,130

Scaffolders are in charge of spacing out temporary structures to support building construction. This structure must be built from the ground up to guarantee worker and material safety. Anyone who is afraid of heights should absolutely avoid working on this project.

Average annual salary: $33,200

Mountain guiding can be a very difficult job due to the rocks, glaciers, and slick slopes. Climbing mountains every day requires a lot of stamina and is physically taxing. Additionally, since you’ll be in charge of everyone’s safety and enjoyment on the trip, you need to be extroverted and sociable.

Average annual salary: $55,190

Carpentry is a mentally and physically demanding profession. Planning is the first step in any project, whether it be building a bookshelf or tiling a floor. Next, determine the precise measurements before choosing the tools you’ll employ. Many people consider this to be a very fulfilling and well-paying job.

Average annual salary: $71,870

One of the most difficult careers to pursue can involve stunt work, which can involve anything from jumping off buildings to being set on fire. “You’re standing there on the edge ready to jump, and your whole body and mind are saying ‘Don’t do this,'” says professional stuntman Dean Foster. You do this, and you’re going to die. Despite the risk, he has wanted to do it since he was a young child and enjoys the rush of adrenaline that the job provides.

Average annual salary: $42,780

E-waste recycling can be a hazardous job when completed in an unsafe environment, with workers inhaling harmful toxins on a daily basis. According to Forbes, “only 25% of total e-waste is being collected for recycling — most are discarded in landfills or incinerators, releasing dangerous toxins into the land and air. While e-waste represents just 2% of America’s trash in landfills, it equals 70% of overall toxic waste.”

Average annual salary: $34,730

Farmers deal with large animals for a long time and labor under demanding, all-weather conditions. Additionally, it’s not just agriculture; independent farmers must be skilled at marketing their goods and managing their finances. Although farming is a physically and mentally demanding profession, many farmers express how fulfilling their work is.

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Average annual salary: $80,780

Workers in the water transportation industry are in charge of operating and maintaining ships that transport cargo abroad. This job requires a great deal of expertise because even a small error can have fatal consequences. Unpredictable water conditions add pressure to a job that is already difficult.

Average annual salary: $70,750

Being a police officer can be very difficult because they frequently face abuse from unruly citizens. They frequently risk their lives to improve their country even though they have no idea what kind of crime they will encounter during the day. Despite being a difficult profession, it is very satisfying to know that you have helped a worthwhile cause.

Average annual salary: $104,900

The ability to withstand the mental isolation of extended space missions requires that astronauts be physically fit. The environment is frequently stressful, so astronauts must show they can maintain composure under pressure. But there is a lot of satisfaction in the work. Imagine being one of the few people to have experienced looking down on Earth from space.

Average annual salary: $35,830

A bodyguard is essentially hired to protect politicians, celebrities, and businesspeople by acting as a human shield. They defend their clients from criminal offenses like theft, assault, kidnapping, homicide, harassment, disclosure of private information, threats, and others. It’s very difficult when you have to be prepared to act quickly and don’t know what to expect.

Average annual salary: $44,840

One of the most challenging professions in the world is metal working These workers typically experience negative health effects over the long term due to inhaling various chemicals that they are exposed to, in addition to dealing with obvious things like heat and metal.

Average annual salary: $42,780

Sanitation workers are faced with horrible stenches and unsanitary environments. Their work hours can be difficult too, with some working from 7pm to 3am in any type of weather condition. They often face heckles from drunk citizens and verbal harassment in some cases, but they push through for the hefty wage. CNN reported that two workers, a garbage truck driver and a helper, in the USA, earned $112,000 and $100,000, respectively.

25 Highest Paying Jobs Without A College Degree

25 of the highest paying careers with hardly any college education are listed below if you have chosen not to enroll in a four-year college straight out of high school or are seeking a new start in your career path.

Looking for a fun job that pays well? Scared that the cause of unemployment may be growing? Sign up for free and see who’s hiring in 2021 at

Disclaimer: Although there are some high-paying trade positions on this list, I still believe a college education is worthwhile. Despite the high and rising cost of tuition, attending college offers priceless opportunities for experience, connections, and mental growth. Now on to the jobs….

Average Salary: $74,799

Prior Education: A finance or accounting degree is not necessary, but it is necessary to be familiar with all fundamental procedures.

On-the-Job Training: Moderate to high training and/or shadowing.

An organization’s credit department is managed by a margin department supervisor, who also decides whether to grant or deny credit to clients.

Strong communication and negotiation abilities are required for this position because, as one might anticipate, approving or denying credit occasionally results in displeased customers.

Make sure you are comfortable with these fundamental procedures because the job’s scope calls for mathematical calculations as well as debt analysis and recognition of accounting principles. If you have a degree, some employers might increase your pay.

Additionally, you’ll have the primary responsibility for ensuring that all department employees follow all applicable laws and rules.

High-Paying Jobs With Little Schooling Required

Following are some of the highest-paying jobs that require little education. Most people only need an easy, two-year associate’s degree. And for some of the fastest-growing careers, a six to twelve month diploma or certificate program is frequently sufficient. Keep in mind that your earning potential may vary depending on where you work in the nation and your level of experience.

Dental hygienists’ main responsibilities include cleaning teeth, checking mouths for disease symptoms, and instructing patients on how to take care of their teeth. This is a well-liked choice for fast degrees that pay well. Training to become a dental hygienist can be completed in as little as two years.

  • Median pay: $77,810
  • Top pay: $100,200 or more
  • These healthcare professionals take images using specialized ultrasound technology that aid doctors in properly diagnosing and treating patients. The majority of ultrasound technicians are trained in diagnostic medical sonography.

  • Median pay: $77,740
  • Top pay: $101,650 or more
  • You can start your career as a nurse with just an associate’s degree and start directing and coordinating patient care in settings like hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities.

  • Median pay: $77,600
  • Top pay: $120,250 or more
  • FAQ

    What career is the most competitive?

    21 most competitive jobs to pursue
    • Product manager. …
    • Finance manager. …
    • Software engineer. …
    • Engineering manager. …
    • Data scientist. …
    • Pharmacist. National average salary: $119,133 per year. …
    • Data engineer. National average salary: $122,837 per year. …
    • Patent attorney. National average salary: $151,837 per year.

    What jobs pay over 40k without a degree?

    17 Entry level jobs that pay over $40,000 per year
    • Equipment operator. National average salary: $40,860 per year. …
    • Carpenter. National average salary: $41,440 per year. …
    • Machinist. National average salary: $42,940 per year. …
    • Mental health counselor. …
    • Sheet metal mechanic. …
    • Firefighter. …
    • Solar technician. …
    • Electrician.

    What is the highest paying job with little schooling?

    Top high-paying jobs that require little schooling
    • Aircraft mechanic. …
    • Surgical technologist. …
    • Train operator. …
    • Gas plant operator. …
    • Medical coding specialist. …
    • Medical assistant. Average base pay: $31,508 per year. …
    • Refinery operator. Average base pay: $31,125 per year. …
    • Phlebotomist. Average base pay: $28,722 per year.

    What is the most uncommon career?

    13 More Unusual Jobs you might not know exist
    • Professional Cuddler. Yes, this is a real thing. …
    • Golf Ball Diver. Basically professional recyclers. …
    • Online Dating Ghostwriter. How about working as a modern-day cupid? .
    • Hippotherapist. …
    • Professional Bridesmaid. …
    • Water Slide Tester. …
    • Paper Towel Sniffer. …
    • Face Feeler.

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