By Alexandra Levit, author of "How'd You Score That Gig: A Guide to the Coolest Careers -- and How To Get Them"
The downhill direction of the economy has us all thinking about ways we can protect our livelihood. Why not start by getting creative? Consider some little known career paths that will ensure that you stay competitive and look forward to going to work every morning. Here are seven cool jobs to consider today:
1. Computational linguist
Computational linguists teach computer systems how to process natural language. For example, if you're trying to order a book from Amazon in Japanese, the site will be able to other relevant similar titles for you.
Enter the field with a bachelor's degree in computer science and start with a salary in the high five figures.
How to break in: Meet valuable contacts by getting involved with the Linguistics Society of America (www.lsadc.org) and the Association of Computational Linguistics (www.aclweb.org).