App Development And Data Roles Are Among Australia's 9 Hottest Science Careers

Robots on the play field at the 2014 RoboCup German Open tournament. Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

Mining, health and IT top the list of the fastest-growing industries for future employment, according to the new Ultimate Science Guide produced by Australia’s leading science communication organisation, RiAus.

“Careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) disciplines are wide and diverse and this guide will assist students to make sound career choices within this exciting area,” said RiAus Director Paul Willis.

So what are the nine hottest careers in for scientists?

Mining engineering is top of the list with a predicted 7% increase in employment by 2018. There is a growing need for jobs in mining engineering, petroleum engineering and geophysical science.

Santos Managing Director David Knox says: “Santos employs over 3,000 people across Australia and Asia and a large number of these have a STEM-based background. There is no doubt that the growth in our sector has contributed to oil and gas jobs being included as three out of the nine hot careers in the Ultimate Science Guide.

“It is important for young Australians to be fully aware of the range of careers available to them in industries such as ours. This is an exciting time to be part of the resources sector, particularly as we enter into a phase of transformational growth.”

Careers in the health industry will rise along with a growing and ageing population. Optometry, sonography and physiotherapy all make it into the hot nine.

Demand is also skyrocketing for technology, computing and data expertise. Data science, mobile app development and tech hybrid roles are emerging as the hottest career prospects of the current decade.

The nine:

  • Mining engineering attracts some of the most lucrative career opportunities. Mining is Australia’s fastest-growing industry, supporting 174,400 new jobs in the past decade. By 2018, employment in the area is predicted to rise by a further 7%.
  • Petroleum engineering. Mining ‘black gold’ is a particular growth area for engineers, with job numbers in oil and gas estimated to increase by more than 50% during the next four years
  • Geophysical science. There’s also a growing need in oil and mineral exploration for experts in geophysical science. You can use this skill in a wide range of jobs, such as surveying, software development and consulting.
  • Optometry. The Australian Department of Employment has recorded a skills shortage in this field for the past five years, and only 20% of employers have been seeking candidates with postgraduate experience. It’s also a field that’s diversifying through a growing number of specialisations, from sports vision to industrial safety.
  • Sonography. Anatomy in tandem with technology. Like optometrists, sonographers have also been in short supply for the past five years. These professionals conduct physical examinations using ultrasound imaging, so it’s the perfect job for applying medical knowledge and technical expertise while working with people.
  • Physiotherapy. Demand for physiotherapists has been rising for the past four years and, given an ageing population, is set to continue climbing. There’s also a wide range of physiotherapy specialisations to meet the needs of people across all ages and walks of life.
  • Data science. If you have a knack for seeing patterns in a deluge of information from many different sources and then making predictions based on it, data science may be the path for you. It’s emerging as one of the hottest career prospects or the current decade, with Harvard Business Review magazine even dubbing it “the sexiest job of the 21st century”.
  • Mobile app development. If you’re deeply attached to your tablet or phone, then mobile app development is another growing prospect to consider.
  • Hybrid. And as technology and business become increasingly intertwined, people with multidisciplinary qualifications will be sought after to fill new tech hybrid roles, which blend areas such as marketing or finance with digital expertise

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