NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Navigating the job market as a millennial is no easy task, but some career paths offer more opportunities than others.
A new study from online job search and career advice portal CareerCast identifies the top 10 jobs for millennials in 2015. Researchers found that careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- the so-called STEM careers -- are among the best opportunities.
To create its job rankings, CareerCast utilizes data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and evaluates criteria in four main arenas: environment, income, outlook and stress. It assigns point values to create an overall ranking of a total 200 jobs.
For its millennials list, CareerCast additionally identifies fields that have a high percentage of millennials already employed or where hiring is rapidly growing.
The Pew Research Center defines millennials as individuals born from 1981 to 1997. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 50 million people in that age group are currently employed.
Millennials face a unique set of challenges in the workforce, and, like anyone, they are prone to mistakes. Career expert Roy Cohen recently pointed to a slew of slipups common among millennials, ranging from abusing social media policy to job-hopping too frequently. Others, however, suggest the generation isn't changing jobs frequently enough.
Obstacles aside, a number of careers have a lot to offer the millennial generation. Here are the 10 best areas to explore in 2015.
Advertising Account Executive
Annual Median Salary: $115,750
Projected Growth Outlook: 12%
It's a good time to be an advertising account executive. The field is expected to add 25,400 jobs from 2012 to 2022, and the median salary is a handsome $115,750.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about one-quarter of advertising and promotions managers work for advertising agencies. They also find positions at radio and television broadcasting companies, newspapers and book publishers, and automobile dealers. The best-paying jobs can be found in New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Colorado.
Annual Median Salary: $79,340
Projected Growth Outlook: 20%
According to CareerCast, a growing need for infrastructure improvements in the U.S. is an indicator of important opportunities for millennials in civil engineering. The 10-year job growth outlook in the field is 20%, well above the average, and more than 50,000 new positions are expected to be added over the course of a decade.
Firms involved in architecture and engineering employ more than 130,000 civil engineers, and state, local and federal government entities also provide a number of jobs. The top-paying industry for the occupation is oil and gas extraction, and the states that compensate civil engineers the most are Alaska, Texas and California.
Computer Systems Analyst
Annual Median Salary: $79,680
Projected Growth Outlook: 25%
Computer systems analysts study an organization's computer systems, procedures and designs and develop solutions to help them run more efficiently. And over the next decade, they are going to become increasingly necessary, with 25% job growth expected.
Computer systems analysts employed by the mining industry receive the best salaries, and those on the payrolls of securities and commodity exchanges and brokerages do quite well, too. California, Texas and New York have the highest quantity of computer systems analyst jobs to offer, while Washington, D.C., Virginia and New Jersey offer the best pay.
Annual Median Salary: $124,149
Projected Growth Outlook: 15%
In 2012, the Harvard Business Reviewdubbed data scientist the "sexiest job of the 21st century." It is a lucrative career, too, thanks in large part to the rise of big data.
Burtch Works delved into the data science field in a 2014 study and made a number of interesting finds. Data scientists are quite young (good news for millennials) and have a median of nine years experience. They are highly educated, with 88% having a master's degree or higher, although not all are trained as mathematicians or in computer science. The highest-earning data scientists are those who manage others.
Annual Median Salary: $67,520
Projected Growth Outlook: 27%
BLS statistics indicate that the median pay for financial planners is $67,520 per year. However, pay rates can vary. For example, financial planners employed in New York, California, Texas and Florida make more than $100,000 on average.
Ten-year job growth in financial planning is anticipated to happen at a very high rate, thanks in part to an aging population and increased life expectancies. Some may wonder about the potential impact of robo-advisers on the field, but financial professionals seem to be split on whether automatic advisory tools will actually make a difference.
Market Research Analyst
Annual Median Salary: $60,300
Projected Growth Outlook: 32%
From 2012 to 2022, market research analysts are expected to see an explosive 32% job growth rate. An estimated 130,000-plus positions will be added.
Companies in management, scientific and technical consulting services provide the most jobs for market analysts, though advertising and public relations firms have the highest concentration of employment in the arena. Aerospace product and parts manufacturing companies pay market research analysts the most, as do companies located in California, Washington and Colorado.
Annual Median Salary: $79,860
Projected Growth Outlook: 36%
To become a physical therapist, you'll need a professional or doctoral degree. Once you get there, however, you can expect numerous opportunities, with the 10-year growth rate for jobs in the field being 36%.
Physical therapists in Nevada receive the best pay and make an annual mean wage of $127,900. Professionals in Alaska, New Jersey, California and Texas make more than $90,000 on average.
Social Media Manager
Annual Median Salary: $46,169
Projected Growth Outlook: 13%
It's no secret that millennials are into social media and are experts in Facebook (FB) - Get Report , Twitter (TWTR) - Get Report and the like. Therefore, it comes as little surprise that the field would be a good place for them to look for careers. The annual median salary for social media managers isn't quite as high as some of the other jobs that made the CareerCast list, but the job growth outlook in the field is a solid 13%.
There are a varying opportunities in the social media field. According to a 2014 report from CIO.com, Internet marketing directors receive the best pay in the arena, with the typical salary reaching nearly six figures.
Annual Median Salary: $93,350
Projected Growth Outlook: 22%
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 1 million software developers and engineers employed in the U.S. Moreover, more than 200,000 jobs are expected to be added from 2012 to 2022.
Firms in the computer systems design field provide the most jobs for software engineers, followed by software publishers. For better pay, developers should look to securities and commodity exchanges as well as wireless telecommunications carriers. Not only does California offer the most jobs in the arena, but it also boasts the best pay.
Annual Median Salary: $75,560
Projected Growth Outlook: 27%
Becoming a statistician generally requires a master's degree, though more positions are becoming available to those with a bachelor's degree only. And as statistical analysis becomes increasingly prominent in the business decision-making process, more and more professionals will be needed.
Government entities and colleges and universities provide a number of statistician jobs, as do scientific research firms and technical consulting services. The states the provide the most opportunities to statisticians are Maryland, California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.