10 of the Coolest Jobs in the World (and How to Get Them)
Remember the simple days in kindergarten fostering dreams of growing up to work the coolest jobs in the world?
Sitting around the playground and dreaming of becoming ice cream tasters, roller coaster testers and cowboys and cowgirls.
Ahh, the good ol’ days!
If you ended up developing at the regular rate, it probably wasn’t long after kinder until you realised that most of your dream jobs were, well, just that… dreams.
I know it certainly was a heart shattering realisation for me. I was never the same again.
That was until recently when I discovered that many of the whimsical jobs that I’d dreamed up during primary school actually exist.
I know, I know, the kindergarten child inside of you will be jumping with joy right now. I’m living my life with a newfound energy.
What’s more, a lot of these dream jobs aren’t that unrealistic. They follow the standard educational path most careers follow; graduating from high school, heading to university and then working your way up through the industry until you become an ice cream taster for Ben & Jerry’s (yes, that’s a real job!).
So if the path is the same, how does one secure these dream jobs?
Well, on our list of the coolest jobs in the world, there are a few overarching skills. If you can start developing these skills as soon as possible, you’ll be doing a great deal to improve your chances of securing a high-paying and fun job!
Key Skills Required to Secure the Coolest Jobs
Depending on your job, you might be required to travel, think outside the box or work non-standard hours. In order to do this successfully, flexibility is essential.
You need to be able to adjust to a swift change in direction. Jump to a new way of thinking. Adapt to a new work environment. The 21st century job climate is all about moving at break neck speed!
This one is absolutely crucial across all of the coolest jobs in the world. Creativity does not just apply to conceptualising and creating, it's also about thinking laterally to solve complex problems, too!
Whether your dream job involves engineering a waterslide, creating a new ice cream flavour, or becoming a rockstar, without creativity you'll be up the proverbial creek.
No matter whether you’re working a mundane cubicle job or the most exciting and fun job in the world, having people skills is crucial.
People skills will not only help you secure a cool job, but it will also help you climb ranks within your new role. People skills and management skills go hand in hand.
The latest trend in the marketplace is for employers to hire multi-talented applicants. It’s not just about doing your job well, it’s about being an asset and helping the business out in a variety of departments.
Interdisciplinary skills also allow you to differentiate yourself from the, sometimes, thousands of other applicants. If you want to work for Disney, Pixar or Ben & Jerry’s then you need to be more than just a one trick pony!
This is non-negotiable.
The equation is simple, really, if you work with passion you'll have more chance of success.
People don't work at Disney and Pixar because they have a passing interest in animation, they do it because they love and live for it!
Now you know what skills are required to reach the pinnacle of cool jobs, let's get into the list of best jobs in the world!
Coolest Careers in the World
1. Disney Imagineer
Think of what this job might entail and how magical and creative it could be... now multiply that by 10!
Seriously, this job is everything you’d ever want as a child. Basically, you get to think up the most creative, entertaining and exciting thing you can and then you build it, create it, or write it (depending on your area of expertise).
Everything at the Disney theme parks and resorts from rollercoasters and live shows to hotels and restaurants come from the minds of the imagineers.
For this reason, Disney Imagineers come from a whole variety of backgrounds. In fact, according to Disney, over 140 different job titles fall under the banner of Imagineering.
Engineers, show writers, illustrators, graphic designers, architects, and many more can all become imagineers with Disney. All it takes is the right balance of practical know-how, creativity, and imagination.
So what degree you have and where you study to give yourself the best chance of becoming an imagineer is really up to what your passions are. As you can imagine, though, working for Disney is extremely competitive, so going to a top university will give you an edge on others.
Skills Needed: Creativity, imagination, passion, interdisciplinary skills, people skills
Best Undergraduate Majors: Engineering, design, architecture
Top 3 Unis:
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US
Top school for art, design, engineering and architecture. MIT was basically built to turn you into a Disney Imagineer!
QS World University Subject Ranking: #1 Engineering, #1 Architecture, #2 Art & Design
2. ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland
A world class school of technology, it offers one of the best engineering courses in the world. Oh and also, Albert Einstein was a student and a professor at ETH.
QS World University Subject Ranking: #5 Engineering and Technology
3. University College London (UCL), UK
UCL is the seventh best university in the world according QS World University Rankings, and it comes just behind MIT in the architecture ranks.
QS World University Subject Ranking: #2 Architecture, #14 English Language and Literature
2. Legoland Designer
Okay, now the kinder child in you is getting a tad overwhelmed and might need a little nap. As a Legoland Designer, you just play with Lego... literally just build Lego structures!
Granted it’s of a much higher standard than what you were probably capable of as a toddler.
As a Legoland Designer, you’ll be responsible for designing, engineering and building all the Lego sculptures and features around Legoland.
You'll build everything from life-size animals, including giraffes, wolves, and elephants, to 1:1 scale replicas of the world’s most famous tourist destinations (including whole cities)!
Heck, where do I sign up!?
Unfortunately, you need more than just your fond memories and beginner Lego skills. Most Legoland Designers are pretty well qualified with degrees in either architecture or engineering.
If you loved your Lego growing up, it might be time to dust off the old boxes under the bed and start fine-tuning those skills again... that is, if you ever stopped building.
Skills Needed: Creativity, STEM skills
Best Undergraduate Majors: Engineering, architecture, design
Top 3 Unis:
1. MIT, US
Known for its prestige, might it be a slight contradiction to suggest that MIT is perfectly equipped to turn you into a glorified Lego builder? Nah!
QS World University Subject Ranking: #1 Architecture, #1 Engineering
2. Stanford University, US
Stanford is considered the best in the world for practically every engineering discipline .. and it's just a one hour plane flight from the motherland of Lego Land!
QS World University Subject Ranking: #2 Engineering, #10 Art & Design
3. Parsons School of Design at The New School, US
Located in the world's beating heart of art, design and creative expression, New York City!
QS World University Subject Ranking: #3 Art & Design
3. Ben & Jerry’s Flavour Guru (Basically, an Ice Cream Taster)
I told you every job you dreamt of as a child is real.
As a Ben & Jerry’s Flavour Guru, you not only get to eat and test Ben & Jerry’s new flavours, you get to create them, too!
This means dining at top end restaurants to stay abreast of all trending flavours and coming up with concepts for new ice cream flavours based on those trends.
The job doesn’t just involve creating and eating ice cream, though... I know, what a bore!
As it takes about 12 months for a flavour to go from concept to the shelves, there’s a lot of paperwork, pitching to executives, quality control and market research involved, too. I guess when you create and eat ice cream for a living there has to be a downside somewhere.
Unfortunately, you need much more than just a love of ice cream to secure this job. Otherwise many of us would be over-qualified. To become a Ben & Jerry’s Flavour Guru, you not only need to love your ice cream, but you also need degree in food science – a rather niche major!
Obviously, Ben & Jerry’s is the creme de la ice cream (sorry, not sorry), but there are literally thousands of amazing food companies around the world! You shouldn’t find it hard to get enjoyment out of your work as a food scientist.
Sure, you might stack on a few kilograms, but you’ll also be the happiest person on the face of the Earth!
Skills Needed: Creativity, research and development, market research, food safety
Best Undergraduate Majors: Food science, food technology
Top 3 Unis:
1. Purdue University, US
A food science degree from Purdue has an average 20 year ROI of USD $591,700 – one of the highest for food science majors.
QS World University Subject Ranking: N/A
2. Rutgers University, US
Among the US' oldest institutions, Rutgers' 34 schools offer 175 academic departments and 270 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional programs. I think in their 200+ years they've got this education thing figured out.
QS World University Subject Ranking: #151 Chemistry, #4 Philosophy
3. The University of Melbourne, Aus
Located in the most liveable city in the world, Melbourne uni will offer all food fanatics with an abundance of flavours and cultures to take in... oh and a bunch of good ice cream, too!
QS World University Subject Ranking: #17 Arts & Humanities, #13 Sciences and Medicine
4. Freelance Food Blogger
In a world where Twitter is the POTUS’ preferred medium of communication, social media influencers are rising in stock.
Of all the social media influencers, there is one more desirable and popular than the rest: food bloggers!
Seriously, is there anything better than being able to combine your addiction to social media with your passion for good food?! No, there’s not. There are literally no negatives!
At worst, you’ll be invited into restaurants for free food in exchange for snapping and sharing a photo. At best, you can make over $90,000 in one single month
Yep, you read that right.
So how do you make money food blogging? Well, to be honest, it’s quite a mystery.
However, avenues such as paid endorsements, advertising, business partnerships and YouTube pay cheques can all bring in some big bucks.
While a degree is not essential to become a successful food blogger, it will definitely help. Graduating in marketing, communications or media will help you with editing your content and understanding how the online marketplace works.
Skills Needed: Communication (written), marketing, passion and knowledge of food
Best Undergraduate Majors: Media and communication, marketing
Top 3 Unis:
1. University of Pennsylvania, US
A top college located in Philadelphia, you'll have the opportunity to dedicate your whole food blog to Philly Cheese Steaks!
QS World University Subject Ranking: #10 Media and Communications, #12 Social Sciences
2. New York University (NYU), US
Not only is NYU a top marketing school, but studying in Manhattan gives you boundless access to cafes, restaurants and bars to kick off your blog!
Fried chicken, burgers, pizza... the list of amazing food in NYC is endless.
QS World University Subject Ranking: N/A
3. University of Amsterdam, NED
One of the best media and communications colleges, located in one of the most beautiful tourist cities!
Beware: if you start your food blog in Amsterdam, take it easy on the space cake!
QS World University Subject Ranking: #2 Communications and Media, #17 Sociology
6. Travel Blogger
All the other jobs on this list sound great, but one thing that you may struggle to fit into your life with a full-time job is travelling.
But what if you could get paid to travel?
As a travel blogger, this is exactly what you get to do! Essentially, big travel companies pay you to go on their tours and share the journey on your blog.
If you manage to get enough of a following, you can make pretty good money, too. Even on the lower end of the scale, you'll comfortably be able to fund your traveller's lifestyle. This is largely thanks to the free travel, accommodation and tours you receive.
However, you're also able to charge a travel fee to companies sending you on the road. Generally this fee is about $50-100 a day, more than enough for some nice pizza in Milan.
To boost the success of your blog, it'll help if your have strong written communication skills and an understanding of e-commerce... a marketing and communication degree is ideal for this!
Skills Needed: Communication (written), creativity, flexibility
Best Undergraduate Majors: Media and communication, marketing
Top 3 Unis:
1. University of Southern California, US
Located on the sunny coast of California, USC is the perfect place to snap some of those iconic travel pictures.
QS World University Subject Ranking: #1 Communication and Media Studies, #75 Arts & Humanities
2. University of California – Berkeley, US
If you've ever researched the best education in the world, you're no doubt familiar with Berkeley. With 7 Nobel Laureates in their faculty, how could you go wrong?
QS World University Subject Ranking: #6 in Communication and Media Studies, #2 in Sociology
3. London School of Economics of Political Science, UK
Not only one of the world's best universities, but it's also got a huge percentage of international students! 70% of all students come from overseas... perfect for travel tips!
QS World University Subject Ranking: #3 in Media and Communications, #3 in Geography
7. Pixar Animator
No doubt Pixar played a role in creating at least one of your all-time favourite films.
Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Up, Wall-E, Monsters Inc… the list of Pixar movies isn’t the longest, but it’s a devastatingly good one!
The life lessons, the laughter… imagine creating that joy and pleasure for future generations with your own two hands. Well you can with a job as a Pixar Animator!
What’s more, you’ll be part of a team that have won 26 Academy Awards, five Golden Globes and three Grammys.
To make this job even more desirable, Pixar has one of the best offices in the world, too!
As a Pixar employee, you have access to their secret bar, hidden behind a bookcase and the locked door of an oversized safe, a 24-hour staff Cereal Bar, boasting 14 kinds of breakfast cereal, a Pizza Room offering free slices for those working late, the “Breathing Room” for yogic meditation and the daily activities organised for willing staff to participate in.
To make things even more enticing, offices are open 24 hours a day, so you make your own hours and work when best suits you!
As you can imagine, a job at Pixar is EXTREMELY competitive, with an estimated 45,000 applications for each new position. To work for the best, you need to be the best. A degree from a world class college and a few years of experience are essential.
Skills Needed: Creativity, animation, design, imagination, flexibility
Best Undergraduate Majors: Animation, design, media production
Top 3 Unis:
1. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney... need I say any more?
QS World University Subject Ranking: #9 Art & Design
2. University of Southern California, US
USC animation alumni currently hold positions at not just Pixar, but other world class studios including Sony Pictures, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks and Disney, too!
QS World University Subject Ranking: #1 Communication and Media Studies, #51 Art & Design
3. Bournemouth University, UK
Bournemouth is dedicated to establishing industry connections within its animation degree and you’ll be able to participate in a 30-week work placement, completed anywhere in the world!
QS World University Subject Ranking: #151 Communication & Media Studies
8. Bounty Hunter
All you wannabe cowboys and cowgirls out there (like me!), this could be the job for you!
You’re basically a vigilante. A rogue cop. A real life batman. A repo man who takes in criminals instead of unpaid cars.
Don’t start thinking there’s no room for growth as a bounty hunter! There’s plenty of potential to innovate the bounty hunting game too. It’s essentially been done the same way since the days of the wild west.
incorporating new technology such as drones and hackers, you could become the bounty hunter of the future. Less like a wild west cowboy and more like robocop!
The best part, you don’t even need a university degree… though it helps to be a trained and licensed professionally. Oh, and to also possess a whole lot of bravery and some big ol' muscles.
Skills Needed: Big muscles, bravery, quick draw
Best Undergraduate Majors: No degree required but professional training in bounty hunting, bail enforcement, or fugitive recovery is necessary.
1. The school of hard knocks!
“You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life, but it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward... that’s how winning is done” - Rocky Balboa
QS World University Subject Ranking: N/A
9. Hacker for Hire
As we continue to gear towards an entirely online society, the risk of cyber attacks has never been greater!
This is where you come in: an ethical hacker for hire!
As an ethical hacker, you’re essentially an online spy for big companies. You sneak around the internet searching for online threats and halting and preventing attacks. You are the hero!
To boot, you can get handsomely paid for it and if you’re good you’ll be in high demand, too.
Employment as information security analysts is expected to grow by 37% between 2012 and 2022, that’s more than three times as fast as the average growth rate of other vocations.
All the big brands such as Google, Sony, Adobe are already hiring hackers to protect their online assets. Ethical hackers are fast becoming the most crucial aspect to a strong security plan.
Get ahead of the trend!
To become a hacker, you’ll need a degree in a relevant field such as Computer Science, Computer Programming, Information Security, Computer information systems.
Skills Needed: Creativity, STEM (computer programming), coding, strong ethics
Best Undergraduate Majors: Computer Science, Computer Programming, Information Security
Top 3 Unis:
1. MIT, US
MIT and Computer Sciences and Technologies is a natural partnership. The man behind the internet, Tim Berners-Lee, was one of MIT’s professors, so it makes sense that they're equipped to train students to protect it!
QS World University Subject Ranking: #1 Computer Science and Information Systems, #1 Mathematics
2. Stanford, US
Around the corner from Silicon Valley, the perfect location for a white hat hacker... or a black hat hacker if you're looking to join the dark side (definitely not advised!).
QS World University Subject Ranking: #2 Computer Science and Information Systems, #2 Engineering – Electrical and Electronic
3. Carnegie Mellon University, US
Despite the funny name (hehe melon) this place ain't no joke! Alumni include mathematical genius John Forbes Nash, the man A Beautiful Mind is based on, and iconic American pop artist Andy Warhol, just to name a couple.
QS World University Subject Ranking: #3 Computer Science and Information Systems, #9 Statistics and Operational Research
10. Memory Surgeon
Okay, so this job mightn’t actually exist yet, but hot dog, it has to one of the very coolest jobs that will exist in the future!
I first heard about memory surgeons in our Top 10 Jobs in 2030 blog. I mean, seriously, even the title is bad ass!
As a memory surgeon, you will be able to surgically remove bad memories, mental illness and destructive behaviour from the human mind, essentially achieving world peace in the process!
While the job doesn’t exist yet, scientists have already successfully deleted, restored and implanted memories into rodents. So, naturally, the next step is the human mind!
It's only a matter of time before you can erase all knowledge of who you are and become the reincarnation of Elvis Presley (note: this won't make you look like Elvis Presley).
Skills Needed: Strong STEM background, critical thinking, research, creativity
Best Undergraduate Majors: Biology, Medicine, Neurobiology,
Top 3 Unis:
1. Columbia University, US
Dr. Joachim Frank, a professor at Columbia, was just awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. His work on cryoelectron microscopy has paved the way to better study biomolecules and stem cells, which, you know, probably has something to with memory surgery, right?
QS World University Subject Rankings: #16 in Biological Sciences, #40 in Chemistry
2. University of California, US
When you combine one of the best bioengineering courses in the whole world and the fact that UCLA research is behind a portfolio of almost 3,000 inventions, you have the perfect location to become a revolutionary memory surgeon!
QS World University Subject Rankings: #9 in Biological Sciences, #9 in Chemistry
3. University College London, UK
UCL recently had its world class status confirmed by the Times Higher Education ranking, where it finished in the top 20 for so-called "super elite" colleges. What's more, it's located in London, which Times Higher Education judged to be the top university city in the world. Imagine the amount of willing intellectuals you'll have to trial your memory surgery!
QS World University Subject Rankings: #25 in Biological Sciences, #43 in Chemistry
Securing a high-paying, super cool job is not just about where and what you study, it’s about being passionate about something; being driven and inspired enough to pursue a cool job regardless of its likelihood.
These jobs aren’t cool because you get to eat ice cream all day or draw cool pictures of monsters and talking toys. These jobs are cool because it’s a gathering of the most talented and passionate people.
The journey towards securing one of these killer jobs begins by discovering what you’re passionate about.
Whether your passion is eating ice cream, building Lego, hacking the mainframe or watching Toy Story on repeat, there's a job out there for you.
Just be ready to work your butt off and pursue your passions relentlessly!
Most importantly, have a ball, baby!
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