Imagine a career field that is projected to add more than one million jobs over ten years that paid on average $76,000 a year in 2012.

What if I told you nearly one quarter of them were for those that didn't require a four year degree, but paid nearly $50,000?

Or how about the fact nearly 100,000 individuals will be needed in management roles that paid on average $120,000?

Does all that sound too good to be true?

It isn't. And it turns out, there's just one place to look.

Source: Flickr / tsakshaug. 

The massive need

According to the latest Employment Projects from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Americans working in computer occupations is expected to rise from 3.7 million individuals in 2012 to 4.3 million by 2022.

But the number of total job openings due to both the growth of the industries and the replacement of individuals who retire is projected to stand at 1.2 million.

And as you can see in the chart below, there are six different occupations which are expected to have more than 100,000 job openings during that time:

Source: Employment Projections program, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

In fact, of the highest paying jobs that don't require a master's degree (or higher), three of the top four careers with the most total jobs openings all find themselves in the computer landscape.

All of this is to say, the future looks undeniably bright.

The reality

With the great pay and the high demand in mind, it's easy to think Americans everywhere would be chomping at the bit to take a career in one of these occupations.

But the problem is, as Microsoft revealed in its National Talent Strategy report:

Between 2010 and 2020, there will be at least 1.2 million job openings in computing professions that require at least a bachelor's degree, yet at our current pace we will not produce even half the number of U.S. graduates needed to fill those positions. 

The report went on to say that McKinsey projected 1.5 million careers in "data-savy," roles would go unfilled by 2018 and that, thanks to these trends, "the result is that employers in many industries across the U.S. are unable to fill high-skilled American jobs with high-skilled American workers, a trend that seems all but certain to continue if we fail to act."

The key takeaway

Thankfully the labor market and job picture in the United States has improved dramatically from where it stood in the following the Great Recession. But for anyone looking to take a massive leap by switching industries, going back to school, or maybe even starting at square one, a great place to look would be any occupation which falls into the rapidly growing computer landscape. You'll be glad you did.