The Most In-Demand Startup Jobs

Businesses are competing for qualified employees to fill these startup jobs. Which skills are setting potential employees apart from the rest?

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By Scott McGovern

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Whether you run a small business or want to work for one, it's crucial to understanding which startup jobs are in highest demand. More than ever before, technical skills are needed beyond tech across all sectors. But more traditional skill sets are also in demand. Across the nation, these startup jobs are in the highest demand.

Technical talent is the most sought-after by startups.

Out of the 3,000 open jobs on LinkedIn's Top 50 Startups of 2018 List, 900 are engineering positions. The second most common listing is for operations roles. Though LinkedIn's list only considers companies with high valuations such as Lyft and Outdoor Voices, it points to a larger, well-acknowledged trend in the job market: The most in-demand skills require digital and technical skills, which is

The highest demand is for software engineers.

Above all, tech and non-tech companies are actively seeking software engineers. According to the Department of Labor, demand for software engineers is predicted to grow 24 percent between now and 2026. But aside from having a computer science background, these startup jobs require different skill sets, including:

  • Coding

  • Platform design

  • Web and mobile development

  • Quality assurance

Technical skills such as these are in high demand. For that reason, the following software-focused startup jobs are in high demand across companies big and small.

Related: 4 Ways to Have an Edge When Competing for a Startup Job

Demand for mobile and web developers is growing.

Whether you're implementing actionable SEO tips or optimizing your website's UX, it's crucial to remember that over half of visitors will view websites from a mobile device. Between now and 2021, mobile use is expected to increase more than six-fold.

As a result, the jobs market is seeing significant demand for mobile developers. These roles can go beyond building a mobile-friendly website. Many startup jobs are also focused around:

  • Building iOS and Android applications

  • Debugging software

  • Understanding major programming languages

Companies large and small need data scientists.

Demand for data scientists is expected to grow 28 percent, according to an IBM report. With access to vast amounts of data, companies big and small are working to turn their data into actionable business analytics.

Though not directly connected to data science, the growth of AI is also coupled with increased data-related startup jobs. These are typically called "data engineer" positions. Until recently, you could only pursue a career in data science at a large company but tech and financial companies today need people to process their accumulating data.

In August of 2018, LinkedIn reported that there was a shortage of 151,000 data scientists. These startup jobs are concentrated in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Related: Is 'Data Scientist' the 'Sexiest Job of the 21st Century'?

Growing demand for operations positions.

Operations and "customer success" startup jobs are also in high demand. The Department of Labor estimates that demand for operations jobs will grow 27 percent between now and 2026. These jobs typically entail management and customer service, including:

  • Streamlining startups' operations to make processes more affordable

  • Improving customer satisfaction

  • Working and understanding different roles within an organization

  • Creating procedures and guides for the organization, including quality control

And unlike engineering startup jobs, operations jobs are available throughout the country rather than being exclusively focused around urban centers.

Related: The Next Startup to Become a Billion-Dollar Company Probably Isn't in Silicon Valley

SEO and SEM Management Remains Key

Though often classified under marketing, Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in Google through SEO marketing trends, not advertising. By contrast, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), entails promoting a website and increasing visibility through paid advertising.

For small businesses, SEO offers an economical way to increase online business without paying for big-budget advertising. And for larger companies, a combined approach of SEO and SEM allows them to compete with their competition.

According to a digital jobs report, demand for content marketing startup jobs, which can fall under the header of SEO, increased 33 percent between 2017 and 2018.

Related: 6 SEO Marketing Trends in 2019 That Entrepreneurs Should Know About

Every company needs salespeople.

Selling software to large retailers or pitching the idea behind it to venture capitalists requires a reading an audience and taking different approaches. Having a good salesperson who possesses both these skills is crucial for the success of any product.

However, finding the right person to fill these startup jobs is a challenge, especially for smaller operations. In one survey of startup founders, 26 percent of responders rated the salesperson as the most difficult role to fill.

Though the demand for technical employees continues to rise, startups are struggling to fill more traditional positions, too. Understanding and conveying the need for a product is as crucial as ever -- especially if that product is intangible.

Startup jobs in a competitive market.

Unemployment in the U.S. is at its lowest since 1969 according to government figures. While this is a positive indicator for the economy, it also means that finding and keeping the right employees can be a challenge.

For startups faced with bigger competition that can offer higher wages and benefits, filling operational and sales roles is a challenge. On top of that, employers looking for technical employees must contend with a skills gap, which decreases the number of potential applicants.

By 2030, there will be over 85 million unfilled jobs around the world because workers are not equipped with the technical skills they need for finance, tech, and media jobs. As a result, prospective employees with software, technical, sales, and operational backgrounds will be in increasing demand.

Scott McGovern

Founder of NDXBL, an organic growth co.

Scott McGovern founded Green Rush Daily, a cannabis media platform acquired by High Times, where he went on to serve as EVP. Today, McGovern creates digital content and growth in emerging trends as the founder of NDXBL.

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