Ahead-of-the-Curve Careers

Here's a look at 13 cutting-edge careers, viable now and poised for future growth.

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Environmentalism. Alarm about global warming has made environmentalism this generation's dominant initiative. The environmental wave is creating jobs in everything from sales to accounting in companies making green products, regulatory positions in government, and grant writing, fundraising, and litigation work in nonprofits. Among the more interesting green careers, engineers are working on such projects as hydrogen-powered cars, more efficient solar cells, and coal pollution sequestration systems. But those jobs require very high-level training and skills and are at risk of being off-shored. In contrast, the so-called green collar specialist is off-shore resistant and often needs less demanding training (for example, learning how to do green-building audits). Hands-on greenies might consider a career as a solar installer, a career that will likely enjoy increased demand because of government tax incentives.

Terrorism. The expert consensus is that the United States will again fall victim to a major terrorist attack. Jobs in the antiterrorism field have already mushroomed since 9/11, but if another attack were to occur, even more jobs would surely be generated. Demand should particularly grow in such areas as computer security and Islamic-country intelligence, but their required skill sets are difficult to acquire. More accessible yet also likely to be in demand is emergency planning.

For more career options, consult U.S. News profiles of 30 Best Careers.