Hooray for Hollywood, home of all of our favorite stars and your favorite Kardashian (whichever one that may be). But although Los Angeles is the world capital of glitz, glamour, and disingenuous invitations to do lunch, it’s also a sprawling, multifaceted city with plenty of career opportunities for those of us who aren’t likely to be the next Brad Pitt or even the next Pauly Shore. Let’s look at some of the hottest industries and jobs you’ll find in L.A.
The Tech Sector
Let’s face it: other parts of California are better known for their geek cred and their startup savviness. But don’t underestimate sunny L.A. when it comes to tech jobs: the scene is growing fast. According to Fast Company, L.A. is seeing a big surge in the tech sector, to the tune of 2200 individual startups in the “creative capital of the world.” And we’re not talking movie technology: most of this growth is fueled by biotech, commerce, and communications rather than entertainment and media. You have the standard tech giants like Google and IBM with presences in metro L.A., but also a huge variety of other companies like e-commerce (Ticketmaster), digital media (Netflix, Hulu, Buzzfeed), gaming (Electronic Arts, Riot Games), software (Symantec), communications (Verizon), and even rocket science (SpaceX), just to name a few. The Santa Monica and Venice Beach areas in particular are establishing themselves as hubs.
[via Built In Los Angeles]
Hot Job: Information Security Analyst
According to Mondo, the hottest tech job going in L.A. is Security Analyst. With data breaches happening with alarming regularity, the security analysts are often the first line of defense against would-be thieves and hackers. Security analysts are responsible for implementing, upgrading, and maintaining network security measures. It’s a high-paying field, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a median salary of $90,120. This job typically requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. It’s also a rapidly growing field, and will be for the forseeable future: the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a very strong 18% growth.
The Entertainment Sector
This is L.A., what did you expect? Not everyone is cut out to be a star in the traditional Hollywood sense, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great, fulfilling career offscreen. Because of the massive movie, television, music, and media production hub that is Los Angeles, there are tons of opportunities in marketing, advertising, management, public relations, production, or operations.
Hot Job: Social Media Manager
Being social media-savvy is a must-have skill in just about every industry these days, but none more than the entertainment industry, where image and impressions are so important, and everyone’s watching for gossip-worthy mistakes (hence TMZ’s continued existence). Social media coordinators are responsible for creating and maintaining a brand voice, as well as developing social media marketing campaigns to support company strategy.
Per PayScale, the median salary for social media coordinators is $46,402. This is a field that will continue to grow as companies look for ways to improve their outreach and establish their brand in every possible avenue. Marketing skills are a must here, as is a strong spidey sense for where the social media realm is moving next. (RIP MySpace.)
The Biotech Sector
Surging hand-in-hand with L.A.’s tech scene is its biotech industry, driven by labs associated with the many universities around the city and the innovative companies taking root in the L.A. metro area.
Hot Job: Biomedical Engineer
Named the #1 fastest growing job in California by the L.A. Times, biomedical engineering is at the very cutting edge of medical technology. These engineers develop equipment, devices, and software for the medical industry. Making surgeries simpler, reducing human error, improving treatments—all of these are areas being constantly worked on and refined by biomedical engineers. It’s a highly specialized field, requiring at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering, but a rewarding one—the median salary is $86,220 per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Demand for these engineers is growing a crazy rate as well: the industry is likely to see a 23% increase by 2024, which is far ahead of most careers.
The Health Care Sector
Health care and allied health fields are growing everywhere, but especially in a metropolitan area like Los Angeles, where the population is growing and changing constantly. No medical field is as likely to see increased demand more than emergency medicine.
Hot Job: Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
Licensed EMTs are more necessary than ever, and California state projections suggest that the need for these highly trained professionals will explode by 42% in the near future. Being an EMT is not for the faint of heart (or for those who faint, period). As a first responder, you’d need to keep a calm head and move forward with instant, life-saving problem solving. But if the adrenaline of moving from emergency to emergency appeals to you, this is a very solid choice in the ever-growing healthcare industry.
One of the best things about living and working in a vibrant city like Los Angeles is that whatever you’re seeking, there will be opportunities all around. If your dreams revolve around red carpets and public appearances, that’s great—but if you’re a mere mortal like most of us, there’s no shortage of careers where you can flourish among the palm trees.