A look ahead: The top 10 degrees poised for future growth and opportunity

best degrees for the future
When going to university choose one of the best degree for the future to ensure success. Source: Chip Somodevilla / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images/AFP

Choosing what to study at university can be a difficult decision. You have to take into consideration the time, effort and money put into earning your qualification and how it will prepare you for a successful future. 

As such, it is important to choose one of the best degrees for the future that will guarantee you find employment and earn well

While there are no guarantees when it comes to the future, there are a number of degrees that seem to be future-proof. 

The Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) released a list of jobs that are expected to grow rapidly by 2031. The jobs in these fields are in sectors that are growing and projected to see consistent growth in the next decade. 

If you are looking for the best degrees that will earn you a successful future, we have created a list for you. 

Ten best degrees for the future to ensure success:

1. Nursing 

With a nursing degree, you will be able to secure employment in many different areas of healthcare. This includes caring for the sick, providing emotional support, and helping patients while working in a clinic, doctor’s office, or hospital. 

According to BLS, the demand for registered nurses is expected to grow by 46% by the year 2031 — the highest projected growth than any other occupation in the US. This surpasses the average growth rate of 8% across all professions in that same time period. 

Registered nurses in the US earn a salary of US$92,712 a year, making it among the highest-paid jobs. 

To become a registered nurse, complete your degree at one of these top universities for nursing:

  • King’s College London, UK
  • Monash University Clayton, Australia
  • University of Pennsylvania, US
best degrees for the future

Pursuing an engineering degree can lead to a successful high-paying job. Source: Marco Bertorello/AFP

2. Electrical Engineering 

A degree in electrical engineering is focused on the practical design and building of structures or machines. As part of this course, you will learn to design and analyse electrical systems.

A degree in electrical engineering can lead you to some of the most in-demand jobs, such as the wind turbine service technician, a line of work that is expected to see the highest growth after nursing — 44% in the next decade, to be exact.

A wind turbine service technician earns around US$52,976 in the US. Though not the highest paying job, those in this line do not have to worry about securing employment. 

Here are the best universities to earn a degree in electrical engineering:

  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • University of Melbourne, Australia 
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US
best degrees for the future

Culinary arts is one of the best degrees for the future, as predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Source: David Becker / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images/AFP

3. Culinary Arts 

Nothing beats the delicate and expert touch and finesse of a chef preparing your meal. For those interested in the culinary arts, your future looks bright: the employment of chefs and head cooks is predicted to increase by 15% by 2031, with over 24,300 jobs expected to open in this field.

As a chef in the US, you can expect to earn around US$51,995 annually or higher for those with more experience in the field.

Many universities around the world offer a degree in culinary arts that will ensure you are career-ready. Here are some of the best:  

  • Le Cordon Bleu London, UK
  • Le Cordon Bleu, Australia 
  • The Culinary Institute of America, US
best degrees for the future

Data science is one of the highest-paying careers. Source: Morgan Sette / AFP

4. Data Science 

With the rise of technology and the expansion of businesses globally, the need for data scientists is increasing. As a data scientist, you make informed decisions about how a company operates.  

According to BLS, it is predicted that the employment growth for a data scientist is expected to increase by 35.8% by 2031, with 40,500 job openings. Data scientists are also some of the highest paid in the US, with an average annual salary of US$129,753.

If you are looking to pursue a degree in data science, consider these top universities:

  • University of Warwick, UK
  • University of Melbourne, Australia
  • University of California, US

5. Information Technology

BLS reports that the employment for jobs in information technology is predicted to grow by 15 per cent by 2031, which will result in about 682,800 job openings.

A degree in information technology can prepare you for work as a software developer, cybersecurity expert, IT consultant, business analyst and many other in-demand jobs in the field. 

As a student majoring in IT, you will learn to sharpen your skills in the design, implementation and maintenance of such systems as well as learn about information security. 

Those working as information technology specialists in the US can earn up to US$44,450 annually.

Kickstart your career in this field by attending these universities renowned for their information technology programme: 

  • University of Cambridge, US
  • Monash University Clayton, Australia
  • Carnegie Mellon University, US
best degrees for the future

Computer science is one of the best degrees for the future as it leads to employment in many different industries. Source: Goh Chain Hin/AFP

6. Computer Science 

Graduates of computer science are in high demand as nearly every company relies on computers to keep their organisations running. As such, whether big or small, almost all businesses need computer specialists who can swoop in and fix any tech-related problems. 

BLS predicts that the employment of computer science will see a rapid growth of 15% by 2031

A degree in computer science will equip you with the skills to write codes in many programming languages and develop software systems, which could lead to a career in cybersecurity, information systems management or software development. 

Earn your computer science qualification from one of these universities:

  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • University of Technology Sydney, Australia
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US
best degrees for the future

Enrol at the London School of Economics (LSE) to gain an economics and finance degree that will prepare you for a successful career. Source: Adrian Dennis/AFP

7. Economics and Finance

Though you can choose to pursue either economics or finance separately, studying both subjects will give you knowledge in both areas and give you the extra edge that employers are looking for. 

This combined degree will provide you with a better understanding of world trade, economic models, marketing, and management. As a graduate in this field, you will be able to find employment in many sectors, especially the banking and insurance industries. 

On average, you will earn up to US$74,159 annually as a financial analyst in the US. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about securing a job, as the demand for a financial analyst is expected to increase by 9% by 2031

Get a degree in economics and finance from some of the top universities in the world to secure a successful career:

  • London School of Economics, UK
  • The University of Sydney, Australia 
  • Harvard University, US

8. Business

A business degree is one of the most common academic paths students take, as it leads to some of the most in-demand jobs. This degree provides a broad education that includes finance, advertising, marketing, economics, and the art of negotiation.

With a degree in business, you will be able to work in almost any industry. 

A degree in business can prepare students for a lucrative career with an annual salary of US$82,805 annually. Not only that, those in this field will have many employment opportunities as an increase of almost 56,500 new jobs is expected to open by 2031. 

Study at these universities to gain a business degree that will prepare you for the future:

  • University of Oxford, UK 
  • University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Harvard University, US

9. Artificial Intelligence 

A degree in artificial intelligence is a well-rounded course that includes learning about advanced mathematics, engineering, and computer science. This bachelor’s degree allows you to create machines or systems that can solve problems without human intervention.

Those employed in the field of artificial intelligence earn an average annual salary of US$149,833. 

BLS predicts that the investigation and security services sector will grow 6.5 per cent by 2029, faster than the average of 3.7 per cent for all workers in all industries.

Arm yourself with a degree in artificial intelligence from one of these top universities: 

  • University of Oxford, UK
  • University of Technology Sydney, Australia
  • Carnegie Mellon University, US

10. Digital Marketing 

The growth of digital media has risen in the last decade with the increased use of computers, smartphones, and tablets. These devices have changed the way we consume media. 

As such, there has been a growth in the number of digital marketing jobs available; it is among the ten most in-demand jobs, with over 860,000 openings

In your programme, you will learn a range of skills, including graphic design, content development, and social media strategy to help businesses. Working in the digital marketing sector in the US can earn you up to US$60,251 a year. 

Interested? Check out these universities around the world for the best digital marketing programme: 

  • University of Southampton, UK
  • La Trobe University, Australia  
  • Arizona State University, US