Twenty years ago, when this writer was, ahem, finishing school, Facebook, Twitter and their social media buddies thankfully didn’t exist. All I have to help me remember those cringeworthy days are shoeboxes filled with grainy non-digital snaps and hazy memories.
However, the lives of our children promise to be very different. The world is changing (again) and the career landscape along with it.
The fruit of your loins probably won’t be a tinker, a tailor, a soldier or a sailor, but don’t panic – we won’t all be taken over by robots. Some of us will, sure, but we will continue to need real people for some jobs.
Healthcare will be an important sector of growth because of new assistive technologies, and also due to our ageing population. We won’t all need mad computer skills to pay the bills, either. The world will still need educators, artists, chefs and authors.
But what about the jobs we haven’t heard of yet? Take a look at the following LinkedIn profiles of tomorrow and you’ll see that, as Bob Dylan once sang, the time’s they are a-changin’.
1. Emerging Materials Engineer
With 3D printing firms now able to create just about anything, we’ll need designers to work with better, newer, more sustainable materials. They’ll create 3D printed homes, building materials, cars and just about anything else you can imagine. In March 2014, surgeons in the Welsh city of Swansea recreated the severely damaged face of a man with 3D printed parts following a motorbike accident.
2. Xeriscaper and Vertical Farmer
With fresh water shortages around the world, “xeriscaping”, or gardening using a limited water supply, will be in hot demand. More and more people are living in major cities in the world so the only way is up. Indoor vertical farming in skyscrapers could produce food crops, protected from poor weather, all year round.
3. Space Architect
What it says on the box – designing places for people to live and work in outer space. The University of Houston already offers a Masters of Science in Space Architecture. What are you waiting for? Start brokering a deal for that fat contract for the Branson Mansion.
4. Corporate Disruptor
In the future, individuals will be hired to shake things up a bit, create a little chaos and challenge the “that’s the way it’s always been done” status quo that prevails in many organisations. They will create fragmentation in workplaces with the purpose of driving people to do things better and smarter. Really.
5. Virtual Reality Artist
In March 2014, Facebook acquired Virtual Reality company Oculus VR for US$2 billion. Rumours abound that this acquisition was less about gaming than about “virtually real” experiences. Imagine relaxing on a beach in Mexico at sunset, sitting in the front row at the men’s final at Wimbledon or dancing with the crowd at Glastonbury. By creating 360 degree live action footage and 3D stereo sound, we could.
6. Personal Brander
Need help getting the word out about who you are and what you stand for? DIY branding is so 2014. No longer just for people in the public eye, soon we’ll all be outsourcing ourselves with a personal brander or even a “reputation manager”.
7. Genomic Medical Practitioner
In the future, hopefully we’ll be able to detect and treat cancer before it poses any real danger. In 2003 the Human Genome Project was finally complete and scientists now have a map of the entire sequence of human DNA. Future gene testing, even before birth, will combine with better, more targeted and tailored treatment in the early stages of diseases, or even before that.
8. Waste Data Handler
These experts will help dispose of sensitive, excess or waste data for reasons of security-slash-vanity. Need someone to remove your digital footprint from your search engines or Facebook? Call in a data garbage professional.
The potential growth in robotics is huge. Future predictors say “humanoids” will one day be walking and working among us. Nanorobots, however, are microscopic and will be programmed to perform a huge range of tasks, especially within medicine, providing things like targeted drug delivery or diabetes monitoring.
10. Virtual Banker
Digital currency Bitcoin has shown the world that traditional money models are just one way of doing things. We will continue to see changes in transaction types. New models of bankers will be needed to guide consumers and facilitate alternative transactions occurring through social media apps, with new software or maybe even with our fingerprints.
11. Megacity Mayor
The rise and rise of Asia has seen a recent explosion of the megacity phenomena, defined as a city with over 10 million inhabitants. With a projection of at least 26 megacities by 2025, up from just five in 1975, the world will need expert management of their mind-blowing infrastructure and logistical needs.
12. Straddling Bus Driver
Inventors right now are looking at innovative ways to reduce urban congestion. One cool idea is the “straddling bus”, which would roll on tracks built on stilts positioned between lanes of traffic on our busy roads. Passengers would jump on and alight from elevated bus stops.