The Top Jobs and Fields in the U.S. in 2018

Jan 30, 2018 | Jessica Ogilvie

It’s January, and you know what that means — lists! Lists galore. Lists of the best restaurants, the best movies, the best workouts, and of course, the best jobs for the workers of the world.

Here, we’ve taken a look at U.S. News and World Report’s list of the 25 best jobs for 2018, which are determined by those fields and positions that are experiencing a high increase in demand, and examined them through the lens of freelancing and small business. What holds up? What doesn’t? What new gig should you quit your job immediately to take up, lest you miss the boat that would carry you to a cushy and glorious retirement?

Of course, you might already be pretty well decided on your chosen field, but it doesn’t hurt to know what else is out there. And if you’re just looking around for inspiration about what might make you happy in this new year (new year, new you!) consider these fields and positions a jumping-off point.


Bet that’s not where you thought this would start, is it? Because you don’t even know what an actuary is, do you? If you’re a numbers person, check it out:

  • demand for statisticians is expected to increase by 33.4 percent by 2026

  • demand for mathematicians is expected to increase by 29.4 percent by 2026

  • demand for actuaries — people who help businesses hedge their risk — is expected to go up by 22.5 percent by 2026

What these jobs all have in common is that they are perfect for small businesses. By establishing yourself as a consultant or freelance advisor, you can put these skills to work for a wide variety of clients and know that they are only going to need you more and more as the years go by.

Consider that many modern-day mathematicians are actually data analysts and that Big Data is one of the fastest-growing fields, as it informs decision-making in almost every single industry. Start slinging those numbers on your own, and watch the numbers in your own bank account start to go up.

Marketing Manager

The position of marketing manager stood along on the U.S. News list as the only position of its kind to be represented. But according to the site, there will be a 23-percent increase in demand for the position by 2026. In case you’re not sure, marketing managers are the folks who answer the question, “who wants what we’re selling?”

And much like mathematicians/actuaries/statisticians, marketing managers have a strong ability to build up their own businesses as contractors or freelancers. In fact, marketing managers can work wonders for other small businesses! As entrepreneurs start to look around for where demand exists, marketing managers can help them decide where to open up shop or advertise — all invaluable information for the fledgling business.

Health Care

If you have ever been even the slightest bit interested in entering the healthcare profession, now would be your moment (just like every moment before this when healthcare was a good idea). Of U.S. News’ top 25 jobs, 20 were health care-related. Those range from orthodontist to anesthesiologist, and of course, these aren’t jobs you can just hop on into tomorrow (the app hasn’t been invented to sort that one out yet). But many of them are excellent choices for those of us who want to be our own bosses one day; private practice is a great option for everyone from psychiatrists to pediatricians to OB-GYNs, all of which made the list. Better start filling out those MCAT applications!

Software Developer

The inclusion of this job on this list probably comes as no surprise to anyone who exists on our planet currently. Technology is booming, it’s changing every day, and also, no one knows how to build or use it. That’s where software developers come in! First of all, who really even knows what software developers do? Put that on your resume and you should be able to sell at least 50 percent of potential clients on hiring you just because they’ll assume you know more than they do.

But in all seriousness, if you know how to do this, you are in very good shape. Whether your specialty is in deep tech and you want to head to Silicon Valley to peddle your wares, or you’d rather stay put and help other businesses drag themselves into 2018 and beyond, your ability to talk to computers and tell them how to act is all but indispensable at the moment. As a contractor, look around for businesses that might need your help, and reach out to them.

The moral of the story here is that you might be sitting on a gold mine of skill sets that you didn’t even realize you had. By looking around for local opportunities, you may be able to add these gigs on as a side hustle, or you might be able to start a whole new full-time business. Either way, the world is your oyster. Go forth and contract!