Just a generation ago, parents advised their kids to get a job in computers or as administrative assistants, seemingly two of the most stable jobs out there. But some jobs in both fields actually are declining, meaning that by the time you invest years and thousands of dollars in a college degree, you’ll end up with a piece of paper and no career.
GOBankingRates analyzed the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find out which careers have the most growth and will have plenty of positions to fill by 2026.
Click through to see which jobs are expected to grow the fastest within the next decade, and which jobs you should avoid altogether.
1. Software Developers, Applications
Median Pay: $100,080
There seems to be an app for just about everything imaginable, but believe us — people are imagining more all the time.
Software developers analyze ever-changing user needs and create the software to make life more efficient. Fixing bugs and updating and maintaining apps are other responsibilities in a software developer’s job description. Projections show the field increasing by 30.7 percent by 2026, with jobs increasing from 831,300 to 1.09 million.
2. Personal-Care Aides
Median Pay: $21,920 per year
Personal-care aides assist the elderly or those with disabilities to accomplish daily self-care tasks such as bathing, dressing and making meals. They also might help clients accomplish daily activities and teach them independence skills like doing laundry. You might hate the pay, but the work is meaningful.
The rapidly expanding field has a predicted growth rate of 38.6 percent and an expected 777,600 additional jobs by 2026 for a total 2.8 million. Personal-care aides are not medical personnel and can’t give medicine or provide any medical services, and they usually receive on-the-job training.
3. Financial Managers
Median Pay: $121,750
The number of financial managers is expected to increase to 689,000 by 2026, a growth rate of 18.7 percent. Financial managers help organizations manage their financial goals by developing long-term goals and the strategies to achieve them, directing investments and providing financial reports. Cash management and risk management are two important roles that will keep this high-paying finance job in demand for the foreseeable future.
Financial managers typically have a bachelor’s degree and five years or more of experience as a financial analyst, auditor or accountant.
4. Wind Turbine Service Technician
Median pay: $52,260
Wind turbine service technician jobs will nearly double by 2026, with a 96.3 percent growth rate. In addition, this odd job pays well — the top 10 percent of earners receive salaries of more than $76,250.
As the United States turns more to renewable green energy, expect to see an increase in the number of wind farms with turbines to convert moving air into electricity. Wind turbine service techs install, repair and maintain the mammoth machines.
A two-year associate degree for windtechs at technical schools and community colleges can equip you for one of 5,600 new job vacancies projected by 2026. Employers for this high-demand career often hire techs before they even graduate from their post-secondary schools.
5. Solar Photovoltaic Installers
Median Pay: $39,240
Green-energy jobs are on the rise. Solar voltaic installers are another fast-growing trade with a good future — and they didn’t even exist 30 years ago.
The job market is expected to increase 104.9 percent by 2026, creating 11,800 new job openings between now and then. A high school education and good deductive reasoning and critical-thinking skills are needed to get a job in which you can learn as an assistant.
Alternatively, take classes at a community college or technical school to learn basic skills that will enable you to get your foot in the door.
6. Nurse Practitioners
Median Pay: $100,910
With a growth rate of 36.1 percent, 56,100 new jobs for nurse practitioners are expected to open between now and 2026.
These advanced-practice nurses provide primary and specialty healthcare such as ordering medical tests, diagnosing health conditions and prescribing medications. Educational requirements include a registered nursing (RN) license and a master’s degree from an accredited APRN program.
7. Physician Assistants
Median Pay: $101,480
Just as the name implies, physician assistants practice medicine in orchestration with doctors, surgeons and other healthcare workers. Job duties range from closing an incision when working with a surgeon to giving vaccines or diagnosing patients in an office setting.
The field is booming at a growth rate of 37.3 percent — and 39,600 additional jobs are expected to open up by 2026. The two-year training and licensing program is open to candidates with a bachelor’s degree and work-related experience such as nursing or EMT.
8. Registered Nurses
Median Pay: $68,450
Whether a patient visits a doctor’s office, stays in a hospital or receives home healthcare, registered nurses are the backbone of the medical care industry.
School nurses, military nurses and other registered nursing positions will grow by 2026 to include 3.4 million jobs, an increase of 14.8 percent. To enter nursing and apply for one of the 438,100 new jobs, go to school for a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a diploma from an approved nursing program.
Median Pay: $105,810
If you love crunching numbers — and are looking for a job that won’t kill you — you might enjoy a career as a mathematician. The field is expected to blossom by 29.7 percent by 2026 with 4,000 total jobs available, an addition of 900 jobs. The executive branch of the U.S. government is the top employer in the industry with 1,000 jobs.
Other opportunities exist with scientific and development services, universities and in the architectural and engineering industries.
10. General and Operations Managers
Median Pay: $99,310
General and operations managers keep businesses running smoothly with their strong administrative and management skills. Although they might perform tasks as diverse as recruiting personnel, overseeing distribution of products or setting company policies, there is no single job category their tasks fall into.
Look for 205,200 more positions in this field by 2026, an increase of 9.1 percent.
Jobs With the Least Security
Just like the eight-track and cassette-tape industry shuttered its doors with the advent of digital media, some jobs won’t be around much longer.
Here’s a list of careers lacking job security.
1. Team Assemblers
Median Pay: $30,060
Unlike regular manufacturing assemblers who perform a specific task on a permanent basis, team assemblers are trained to perform all assembly tasks in a production process and might even rotate through the tasks on a regular basis.
As automation handles more assembly tasks, both categories are going to decline, with team assemblers taking the biggest hit at 12.8 percent. Even though more manufacturing jobs are returning to the United States from overseas, expect 145,000 jobs to vanish by 2026 because of technology.
2. Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
Median Pay: $34,820
Much to the chagrin of aspiring secretaries and administrative assistants, “There’s an app for that.”
Business people likely will rely less on others to do traditional administrative tasks, such as type correspondence, book travel plans and schedule appointments, as technology becomes more automated. Basic secretarial jobs will shrink by 6.5 percent by 2026, the equivalent of 164,900 fewer positions.
3. Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants
Median Pay: $55,860
Even though executive secretaries and administrative assistants will see fewer jobs disappear than their counterparts who don’t have the “executive” title — a reduction of 119,200 by 2026 — the job market for this specialized pool suffers a bigger reduction overall of 7.4 percent. In part, the reduced job opportunities will be a natural result of fewer executives needing their skills.
In 2016, there were eight secretaries and administrative assistants for every chief executive job. By 2026, chief executives will decline by 3.9 percent to 296,800, and as a result there will be fewer secretaries per CEO.
4. Word Processors and Typists
Median Pay: $38,740
Email continues to replace correspondence, and as specialized software takes dictation and types reports as you speak, there will be less of a need for word processors and typists. The job market for this career is declining rapidly, with a reduction in the workforce by 33.1 percent by 2026. The current workforce of 74,900 jobs will be reduced by 24,800, leaving just 50,100 jobs across the United States in this industry.
Ready to Make More Money? Signs It’s Time to Change Jobs
5. Data Entry Keyers
Median Pay: $30,100
Like other office support jobs, data entry keyer positions will be much harder to come by in 2026.
The workforce is expected to shrink by 21.2 percent — or 43,300 jobs — leaving just 160,600 people working in this career. Data entry keyer positions that make the most money include positions in the deep sea, coastal and Great Lakes water transportation, electric power, natural gas, furniture and cable industries, where salaries range from $38,860 to $51,920.
6. Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers
Median Pay: $31,310
The electrical and electronic equipment assembler puts together or modifies equipment that might include computers, electric motors, batteries or test equipment telemetering systems. As assembly positions become more automated, expect a decline in this specialized career field.
Job openings are projected to decrease by 20.8 percent by 2026, reducing the current workforce of 218,900 to 173,300.
7. Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service
Median Pay: $28,030
More than a century ago, you couldn’t make a phone call without the assistance of switchboard operators. Today, they’re instrumental in businesses to direct incoming and outgoing calls.
But by 2026, the ranks of telephone operators are expected to shrink by another 19.9 percent, leaving a mere 74,700 jobs nationwide. There currently are 93,200 people working this job across the United States.
Thinking of Calling It Quits? 10 Signs You’re Financially Ready to Quit Your Job
8. Legal Secretaries
Median Pay: $44,180
Although careers for attorneys aren’t going anywhere — job opportunity is expected to rise by 8 percent by 2026 — legal secretaries will fare far worse. Like most office staff, this highly specialized secretarial position is on the downturn.
The current workforce of 194,700 legal secretaries will shrink by 19.1 percent to just 157,500 jobs across the country. If you’re still considering a career in this industry, shoot for high-paying positions such as those in the natural-gas distribution industry, where top-notch legal secretaries bring home $76,030 annually.
9. Sewing Machine Operators
Median Pay: $23,670
Since the industrial revolution, sewing machine operators have been the heartbeat of clothing and textile mills.
Operators perform sewing operations in the manufacturing of garment or non-garment products. From 1865 to 1915, even children worked in factories operating the latest equipment. With today’s technological revolution stitching up the fabric industry, machines offer a lower-cost alternative to adult workers. By 2026, only about 128,200 sewing machine operator jobs will remain, a reduction of 16.7 percent — in other words, a dead-end job.
10. Computer Operators
Median Pay: $42,270
Twenty years ago, computer operations was one of the hottest fields. Artificial intelligence and ever-increasing technology will reduce the demand for computer operators by 2026, however, reducing the ranks of those who enter commands on a computer terminal to 39,700, a reduction of 22.8 percent.
Up Next: 20 Hot Jobs That Pay More Than $150K
Methodology: Data originates from the Occupational Employment Statistics program, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data was sourced from the Employment Projections program, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. GOBankingRates determined the 10 highest projected 2026 job openings and median salary and the 10 jobs with the least security that have the lowest projected 2026 job openings and median salary.