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July 21, 2017

5 Less Common Career Paths

No matter your age or work experience there is something exciting about breaking the mold from the usual marketing or accounting degree and career. However, a unique path often seems too risky to be sustainable and secure—even today, when Instagram celebrities take in $100,000 per post. Fortunately, no path fits all, and there is ample opportunity to work in a less common industry while still having a secure, reliable income. Take a look at these five more unique roles:

User Experience Designer (“UX Designer”)

Simply put, a user experience designer develops and creates user interfaces for various digital products. As anyone with a Smartphone knows, technology takes you through countless systems and interfaces. The goal of a UX designer is to create user experiences that are efficient, intuitive and enjoyable for users.

UX designers are known for combining creative design with logical interfaces on webpages, mobile applications and operating systems. A UX designer spends a typical day testing the usability of products, designing organizational systems and templates and analyzing user feedback. A UX designer should have Web design experience and an understanding of customer psychology and workflow. Many people interested in this type of occupation tend to study computer science and specialize in Web developing.

Manager of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a relatively new concept that shifts the marketing focus from blatant promotional tactics to a more indirect way of reaching an audience: social media celebrities. While many advertisements fail to interest consumers because they feel fake or manufactured, word-of-mouth recommendations consistently win over customers. Influencer marketing entails working with (and through) public figures, celebrities and bloggers to convey a more genuine, yet subtly promotional message.

A manager of influencer marketing, sometimes-called community or brand manager, leads the charge in identifying and developing relationships with social figures. After they deem the relationship a genuine fit, they will offer product and/or payment for the individual to post about their brand online. Lastly, a key step in the process, just like any campaign, is for the manager to determine the effectiveness of the relationship and social share. Managers of influencer marketing spends the majority of their days communicating with marketing teams and influencers.

Outgoing, personable individuals— this one is for you.

Ethical Hackers

Ethical hackers (AKA ‘white hat hackers’) are paid by an organization to determine the flaws in their computer systems. The hackers attempt to break into the organization’s computer systems (including social hacking) and report the exploitable susceptibilities. With this knowledge, the organization can fix these vulnerabilities and mitigate the damage caused by potential cyber-attacks.

The average day for an ethical hacker would include planning, executing and reporting their cyber-attacks. Most major corporations and organizations employ ethical hackers, which is a great option for graduates with computer science degrees, but who don’t want to get into any legal mischief.

Computer Systems Analysts

A computer systems analyst is an unbiased member of a development or engineering team who makes sure the team reaches their technical goals. A test analyst develops a list of qualities to evaluate a product or in a certain environment and then determines how to do so. In many cases, the computer system analyst also personally executes the tests, records, organizes and interprets the data. Computer systems analysts spends their day-to-day researching, executing, and reporting product tests and their results. From product assurance engineers to quality assurance test program managers, there are a number of different job titles and work environments where one can excel in this field.

Data/Computer Scientist

With the influx of data from the information technology field, companies need someone to make sense of it all. A data/computer scientist analyzes the massive chunks of data, identifies useful information and reports on trends. On top of that, a data scientist works to develop ways to automate systems. Data scientists spend the majority of their time using and writing software to interpret and represent data in new ways. They also would spend some time presenting their findings to various colleagues and supervisors.

Data scientists are in high-demand at companies of all sizes— and not without a hefty paycheck to boot.

One undeniable theme of these careers: new technology. To stay on top of this new technology, many people are finding it advantageous to pursue a degree in the technology field at local colleges or state universities. As our society continues to adapt and develop new technologies, look for even more “non-stereotypical” careers to appear. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box and try something new.


Dawn Friedman is a career counsellor at Florida Atlantic University and has worked in the career development field for more than three years. She teaches several courses at the university, including Career and Life Planning and Learning Strategies and Human Development. She is also active within Florida Atlantic University's Student Affairs Division and is a Nationally Certified Counselor