If you wind back the clock to 2006 – a mere 10 years ago- there’d be no app developers. That’s right. App development didn’t exist as a discrete job back then. Neither did social media manager, Uber driver, big data analyst, cloud computing specialist, sustainability manager, YouTube Content Creator or influencer.1
The past decade has seen a slew of innovations that have created new opportunities in the job market. The next ten years are going to be equally dynamic. But with opportunity comes challenges. While several new job descriptions and areas of expertise will spark into life, some conventional jobs are being challenged by the onset of technology. Automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence are putting pressure on certain job categories. In particular, more structured jobs are proving easier to automate – with blue-collar work impacted the most.
But even higher-level jobs aren’t safe. JP Morgan has implemented a new software that does in seconds what large teams took 360,000 man hours to do. The COIN software parses commercial loan agreements. It is less error-prone than humans, and doesn’t ask for vacations.2
Fear not. The times are changing, and will have changed further by the time students today are ready to embark on successful careers. To help out, the Xpress Money team has researched the best careers for the future.
Head towards healthcare: Become a doctor, carer or social worker. The reasoning is simple. Health is always an emotional subject – and patients tend to feel vulnerable when seeking medical assistance. People prize human interaction in these situations. They are far more likely to trust fellow humans over a machine – regardless of how accurate the machine may be. Healthcare workers and doctors will find their job descriptions changing as learning machines help them make more effective diagnoses faster, but the profession is in no danger of dwindling. Healthcare is a broad field, so take your pick. Become a dental hygienist or a physiotherapist. As long as human contact remains essential, your career will remain safe.
Choose a career in technology: One day, we might approach the singularity where machines become smart enough to programme themselves, and other machines. That day is still far into the future. Today, even the brightest AIs require constant supervision by humans. People code them and then give them the data they need to grow. By becoming a coder, developer or machine learning specialist, you can ensure a great career while helping develop the next generation of AI.
Become a data analyst: Remember how we said the big data analyst role just didn’t exist a decade ago? Well, now it’s a booming career. The reason is simple – humans generate tremendous amounts of data. In fact, an IDC study says that every human on the planet will be adding 1.7 Mb of new data every second of every day by 2020.3 If you’re looking at a career in data analysis, the prognosis seems particularly good: In a recent World Economic Forum (WEF) survey4, thousands of CEOs around the globe across various industry sectors said that data analysts were on the top of their hiring lists.
Not only is there a lot of data being generated, but also data analysis is unlikely to become a machine-only job in the foreseeable future. Yes, learning algorithms will help sieve and sort data to gain insights. But applying those insights to broader global strategies still requires human ingenuity and the unstructured thinking that come easily to the human mind – but that machines struggle mightily with.
Think about becoming a sales specialist: This is a bit controversial, because sales roles aren’t often thought of as glamorous. But we’re not just talking about junior sales roles. Eventually, your career will take you towards becoming a sales specialist adept at establishing human connections. Humans will always prefer buying from humans, not machines. And as a professional who can take machine-generated insights and then use them to sell to other human beings, you’ll be roaring towards a successful career in no time.