(CNN/Money) -- More than 11 million Americans are unemployed, yet 4 million job openings remain unfilled. These companies want to hire, but are struggling to find the right people.
The software industry is growing rapidly, creating lots of job opportunities for those with the right skills.
By 2020, there will be 1.2 million job openings in computing that require at least a bachelor's degree, according to a recent report by Microsoft. But at its present pace, the United States can't produce even half of the graduates needed to fill them.
Currently, Microsoft is looking for professionals in core research, engineering and development to fill in its more than 3,300 open positions across the country. Job openings at the company are up 30% from the same time last year.
Ideal candidates for Microsoft have a bachelor's, master's or Ph.D. in engineering, computer science, or a related field, with one to two years of programming experience.
Apply to work at Microsoft
Smith & Soloman
Trucking companies have faced a labor shortage for years and are recruiting aggressively.
Smith & Solomon currently has more trucks than drivers and is looking for candidates with at least two years of experience.
"There is an absolute need for drivers right now," said Todd Hyland, director of job placement. "We deal with employers from all over. We are in dire need of drivers, and we can't get them fast enough."
Turnover for long-haul truckers is dramatic, averaging about 98% in 2012. Many trucking companies are expanding at a time when experienced drivers are retiring. Drivers that have points on their licenses affect the safety scores given to the trucking companies, so many businesses are looking for newer drivers that have a clean slate.
Apply to work at Smith & Solomon Logistics
Employers say it's tough for them to find candidates who can research, write, think creatively, and who also have interpersonal skills.
"We have a difficult time finding candidates with the ambition and intensity we require. We sort through roughly 100 applications for each hire," said Don Fornes, chief executive of Software Advice, an Austin, Texas-based company that helps organizations to choose the right software.
One job posting, for a "Content Savant" describes the perfect candidate. He or she is a "bit of a smarty pants," "crazy organized" and "tech and web savvy."
With about 70 current employees, Software Advice has more than 30 open positions across the company.
"When we find someone great, we hire them, even if we don't have a formal open position. We see it as an investment in the company's future," Fornes said.
Apply to work at Software Advice
Oil exploration director
Oil and gas exploration is a booming business in places like Texas and North Dakota, and the industry is hungry for all the high-skilled workers it can get.
Foster Wheeler employs more than 13,000 workers globally and is looking for workers to join its "upstream" business (industry lingo for the exploration and production phase).
One position -- The Upstream Project Director -- would handle several large projects at the same time. The job requires a seasoned veteran well versed in on- and off-shore operations that has at least 25 years of experience.
But qualified candidates are very hard to find. Highly skilled workers are retiring and energy companies find themselves competing for talent. Workers are compensated well and will likely receive multiple offers.
Apply to work at Foster Wheeler
Bloomington, Ill. and nationwide
It's not just the technology giants and start-ups scrambling to find cutting edge tech talent.
State Farm claims to have one of the largest IT teams in the nation, servicing 220,000 workstations and 24,000 servers. The insurance company is currently recruiting software developers, data engineers, security analysts, business intelligence and web developers.
The company is also looking for Java software developers to build web applications and services to work in Phoenix, Ariz. and in the corporate headquarters in Bloomington, Ill.
State Farm prefers candidates who have prior experience in full-cycle Java software development.
Apply to work at State Farm
Civil engineer has long been a tough position to fill, but try finding one that's also willing to do the job 200 feet in the air.
Pennoni Associates, a Philadelphia-based engineering firm, is looking for a construction engineer to oversee a variety of infrastructure projects, including bridge maintenance.
These niche jobs are even more difficult to fill than traditional engineering jobs.
"It has only become more difficult as the economy has started to pick up and the available candidates have more opportunities available to them," said Erin Bushnell, director of human resources at Pennoni.
At any given time Pennoni has 30 to 40 open positions across the firm's 28 offices.
Apply to work at Pennoni
Booz Allen Hamilton
Annapolis Junction, Md.
Data scientist job postings have grown exponentially over the last two years, and according to the Harvard Business Review it's the "sexiest job of the 21st century."
Booz Allen Hamilton, a Virginia-based technology consulting firm with offices across the United States, is looking for a data scientist in Annapolis Junction, Md. Finding the right candidates can be difficult, especially given there are little to no training programs or full-blown university curricula.
"The data scientists we hire must possess a hard-to-find blend of advanced mathematics, statistics, data visualization, and computer science," said Steven Mills, senior associate.
Passing a security investigation is crucial. (NSA leaker Edward Snowden was a Booz Allen employee.)
The data science team at the company has grown to include nearly 250 staff. It currently has approximately 25 job openings.
Silicon Valley, New York, Washington D.C., Boston and Seattle top the cities seeking big data professionals, according to tech career website Dice.com. Last year, there were more than 1,500 openings online on any given day.
Apply to work at Booz Allen Hamilton
One of the greatest skills gap exists for specialized positions such as machinists and technicians, according to a report by the Manufacturing Institute. And the shortage is expected to become even more pronounced in the years to come.
Manufacturing jobs usually don't require advanced degrees, but they do need workers with solid math and science skills, and they require more emphasis on vocational training.
Caterpillar (CAT, Fortune 500) is currently looking for entry-level welders at its new facility in Athens, Georgia.
"Across the country there is a skills gap with high impact positions like welding. There is a shortage of workers because fewer people are interested in pursuing employment in the skilled trades, including in the welding profession," said Lisa Miller, a Caterpillar spokeswoman.
Candidates must be able to pass the welder qualifications during their training. Entry-level welders start at around $15 an hour.
Apply to work at Caterpillar
In Every Language
Anywhere in the US
Finding workers for a digital translation service can be tough because applicants often assume they have to speak multiple languages. It's simply not true, says In Every Language CEO Terena Bell.
Applicants merely need a positive attitude, a strong grasp of world affairs and excellent people skills. Their job is to sell translation services to companies looking to advertise in different countries and cultures.
Location is another main reason this position has been difficult to fill.
"Because we are headquartered in Kentucky, people think they have to move to Kentucky," Bell said. Instead, sales reps are allowed to work from home most of the time, and may travel two to three times a year to meet with the Louisville-based staff.
The company is looking to hire someone immediately. Commission is based not only on how much you sell, but also, customer satisfaction.
Apply to work at In Every Language
Various cities in Texas
It's no secret the oil and gas industry is suffering from a lack of qualified engineers. The industry not only has a shortage of candidates, but the veteran workers are beginning to retire, leaving a knowledge gap at many companies.
Weatherford, a Swiss-based multinational oilfield service company with operations in more than 100 countries, is currently looking for a petroleum engineer with at least three years' experience in engineering and two to three years' experience with managed pressure drilling.
"They are expected to work in the field and travel globally to countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Australia, and maybe more remote locations as well," said Sy Medina, talent acquisition manager of Weatherford.
Currently, the company has several hundred positions open globally in different departments, and it is looking more for new graduates than seasoned professionals.
Apply to work at Weatherford