The World Economic Forum has just released its Human Capital Report with the subtitle “Preparing People for the Future of Work”.
The report states that “many of today’s education systems are already disconnected from the skills needed to function in today’s labor markets”.
It goes on to underline how schools tend to focus primarily on developing children’s cognitive skills – or skills within more traditional subjects – rather than fostering skills like problem solving, creativity or collaboration.
This should be cause for concern when looking at the skill set required in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity are the three most important skills a child needs to thrive, according to the Future of Jobs Report.
Let’s take a moment to underscore that creativity has jumped from 10th place to third place in just five years.
And that emotional intelligence and cognitive flexibility have also entered the skills list for 2020.
Notions of jobs and businesses may soon change in the future, as the two become intertwinable due to changes brought on by COVID 19’s work-and-learn-at-home requirements. Below is a short list of tech professions, careers or enterprises young people today must be prepared now to handle in the future.
- Solar Energy Technician
Like wind energy, solar power will continue to be a major part of humanity’s transition toward a clean-energy future. In the U.S., about 22,000 solar technician jobs may become available near end of this decade. Median yearly pay for this occupation was $44,890 in 2019.
- Wind Energy Technician
With climate change threatening to severely damage the world as we know it, it will become more important to move to clean energy sources. About 13,000 job openings could be generated for wind energy technicians over the decade that ends in 2028. The median salary in this field was $52,910 in 2019.
- Nurse Practitioner
Because of an aging and longer-living population, the health care system may have trouble keeping up with the growing influx of patients. Registered nurses who get the right kind of advanced education at the graduate level can become nurse practitioners and help fill that void. In 2019, median yearly pay for nurse practitioners was $109,820. And between before 2028, they could benefit from about 169,000 job openings.
- Software Developer
Computers, robots, and mobile devices are useless without the well-engineered software that gives life to the sophisticated hardware it runs on. As the Internet grows and machines get smarter and more connected to us and to each other, the need for talented software developers will expand. Mobile app development, especially, is considered one of the best careers for 2025 and beyond. In fact, almost 1.35 million total job openings are projected to become available. The median yearly pay for application software developers in 2019 was $107,510.
- Physical Therapist
With more seniors in our communities, the need for physical therapy professionals will increase. Many seniors end up requiring some form of physical rehabilitation, pain management, mobility assistance, or therapeutic treatment as they age. By 2028, about 169,000 jobs may become available for physical therapists. An additional 165,000 jobs could open up for physical therapist assistants. In 2019, the median salary for physical therapists was $89,440.
- Registered Nurse (RN)
In total, more than 2.1 million jobs are expected to become available for RNs between before 2028. . In all likelihood, RNs will continue to be in high demand for decades to come, even if their roles change a little because of technological advances and medical breakthroughs. The median salary for RNs in 2019 was $73,300.
- Health Services Manager
The health care sector may undergo more changes over the coming decades than most other industries. Every health and medical organization will need highly knowledgeable leaders and managers to help them adapt to legal, regulatory, and technological changes while still improving the quality and efficiency of the services they deliver. Health and medical services managers earned median yearly pay of $100,980 in 2019. And about 422,000 job openings may become available in this field over the decade that ends in 2028.
- Data Analyst
Thanks to computing advances and a cultural shift toward more tracking and measuring, the amount of data that gets collected every year grows by an astonishing amount. Organizations of every type now have the ability to gather so much detailed information that it’s becoming more and more difficult for a lot of them to figure out what it all means. They need professionals who can not only collect the data they need, but also spot patterns, identify past and current trends, and forecast future probabilities. The median salary for data analysts is $60,391.1
- Digital Content Specialist
One of the major cultural revolutions that keeps getting more entrenched is the move toward more dynamic, digital, interactive, and on-demand media. Organizations in every industry are discovering that generating new digital content is becoming a major key to sustaining their effectiveness. Digital content specialists—with all kinds of different job titles and abilities—are increasingly in high demand, especially with the growing popularity of remote work and freelance gigs. To prepare for this type of position, it’s smart to get training in areas like Internet marketing, writing, and multimedia and digital arts.
- Information Security Analyst
Cybersecurity is a world-wide issue. As our modern way of life gets more intertwined with computers and dependent on information technology (IT), we all become more vulnerable to cyberattacks. By 2028, about 128,000 jobs are expected to open up for information security analysts. In 2019, they earned median yearly pay of $99,730.
- Computer Systems Analyst
The reasons for getting an education in computer science will probably continue to multiply as information technology grows more complex and intertwined with everything in our livesIn 2019, the median salary in this field was $90,920.
- Biomedical Engineer
Professionals in this field are already starting to revolutionize the health care industryFor example, many of them get to design things like sophisticated medical devices, artificial organs, bionic body parts, and biological implants. About 15,000 jobs are expected to become available in this field over the decade. Biomedical engineers enjoyed a median salary of $91,410 in 2019.
- Mechanical Engineering Specialist
Increasingly, mechanical engineers and mechanical engineering technicians are involved in the design and testing of things like advanced robots, automation equipment, 3D-printing machines, and clean energy devices. It’s projected that, by 2028, about 229,000 jobs could open up for engineers in this field and roughly 43,000 jobs could open up for technicians. In 2019, mechanical engineers earned median yearly pay of $88,430. The technicians who helped them made $56,980.
- Electronics Engineering Specialist
Like mechanical engineering pros, a lot of people in this field get to help design, test, and evaluate leading-edge technologies. They may help develop things like better computers, automated machinery, handheld medical devices, and navigation and communications equipment. Job openings are expected to total 52,000 for computer hardware engineers, 90,000 for other electronics engineers, and 127,000 for electronics engineering technicians. In 2019, median salaries were $117,220 for computer hardware engineers, $105,570 for other electronics engineers, and $65,260 for technicians.
- Digital Rehab Counselor
As more and more of our lives revolve around social media and other online activities, there’s a growing awareness that a lot of us are actually addicted to the technology we use. One of the top jobs of the future may involve helping people “detox” from their over-consumption of digital inputs. People with counseling training will likely be the best-equipped to pursue this type of job.
- Blockchain Developer
You’ve probably heard of the digital cryptocurrency called Bitcoin. But how much do you know about the underlying technology that makes it possible? Blockchain technology works as a distributed cryptographic ledger that can make economic and other types of transactions decentralized, faster, and more private. Experts believe that blockchain technology will eventually be just as world changing as the Internet. That’s why professionals who understand how to develop practical services and products with blockchain technology will probably be in high demand well into the future.
- Civil or Commercial Drone Pilot or Dispatcher
The government is figuring out the best way to regulate the use of drones. After all, people continue to dream up new ways to take advantage of their remote flight capabilities. They could be used for things like removing waste from city streets, monitoring air pollution levels, and performing routine tasks in high places that are dangerous or hard to reach. Some companies and public agencies are beginning to put together teams of drone pilots and dispatchers to manage their fleets of small remote-controlled aircraft.
- Smart-Building Technician
With each passing year, more homes, offices, and factories are taking advantage of automation technology to control various building systems such as lighting, heating, air conditioning, and security. Everyday appliances like refrigerators are also becoming part of the growing Internet of Things. In the future, smart buildings may dominate entire cities as people embrace the freedom and convenience of automated control and hyper-connected systems. But we still need qualified people to install, maintain, and repair those systems. So, tradespeople such as HVAC technicians are starting to become smart-building technicians.
- 3D-Printing Technician
Many futurists believe that we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what 3D-printing technology (aka additive manufacturing) will ultimately be capable of achieving. Hobbyists, industrial designers, biomedical engineers, and other people are already experimenting with on-demand manufacturing of things like tools, food, clothing, everyday household objects, medical implants, and aviation, automotive, and electronics components. As this technology advances, 3D-printing machines may become just as commonplace as refrigerators and microwaves. Eventually, every home and business could have one. And small, localized 3D-printing manufacturers in every town may ultimately replace large remote factories. So, technicians who specialize in maintaining 3D-printing equipment will likely be in growing demand.
- Augmented Reality Developer
Is the real world too boring? Does it need some visual enhancements that provide extra information or entertainment value? Some people think so. That’s why they’re developing ways to superimpose digital images and information onto a person’s normal perception of the world using special glasses, bionic contact lenses, or other technologies. So augmented reality developers are needed to intelligently design and plan the safe and effective use of this technology.
- Personal Privacy Advisor
As technology evolves and touches more and more aspects of our lives, it’s getting harder and harder to maintain our privacy. It’s a challenge that will only get more complex as facial recognition and augmented reality technologies become widely adopted. Soon, you may not be able to go out into public without everyone else automatically learning your identity, age, marital status, place of employment, and criminal record (if you have one). So, professionals who specialize in helping people protect their privacy—without losing out on some of the main benefits of social media or other technologies—will likely find themselves in demand.
- Personal Brand Advisor
Even among large, established organizations, hiring freelance professionals for short-term projects is becoming a big trend that may expand well into the future. In fact, many futurists foresee a time when most jobs will be done on a temporary contract basis. If that holds true, workers will need to develop great personal brands and put a lot of effort into constant self-promotion. Personal brand advisors will help their clients establish and maintain public personas and professional reputations that make them stand apart from the competition.
- Robotics Service Technician
In the decades to come, almost every home could have sophisticated robots that assist with routine housework such as laundry, cooking, cleaning, and lawn maintenance. But those robots probably won’t always work as they should. So skilled technicians may be needed to repair or reprogram the robots that get hacked, go haywire, or cease to function. In fact, robot technicians may eventually become just as commonplace as plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, and other types of skilled tradespeople.
- Remote Health Care Engineer
As robotics and communications technologies get more advanced, it’s becoming possible for doctors and other health care specialists to consult with patients without being physically present. In the future, many more remote health care engineers will develop and coordinate the use of advanced technology that allows patients to get diagnosed and treated by almost any medical specialist in the world, regardless of where he or she is physically located.
- Urban Agriculture Specialist
According to reports, the urban population on Earth grows by the equivalent of about seven Chicago-sized cities each year. In fact, the World Economic Forum predicts that, from 2010 to 2050, the global population of city dwellers will double, reaching about 5.2 billion people. In addition, many of today’s industrial farming practices are damaging the natural environment. So, for cities to be sustainable, they’ll need to grow their own food using sophisticated hydroponics and vertical farming methods. Demand for professional urban farmers will likely grow as more cities and urban dwellers realize that their survival depends on growing food locally.
- Nanotech Engineer
By manipulating matter at the level of atoms or molecules, it has become possible to imagine and develop a wide range of new innovations. For example, many people in this field envision a future in which self-replicating nanostructures are used in construction and nano-robots are put into the human body to assist the immune system and cure diseases. As this technology matures, nanotech engineers will need to ensure that their creations don’t pose a risk to the environment or human health.
- Biomech Technician
Bionic limbs continue to get more sophisticated. It’s possible that, one day, even people without any disabilities will want biomechanical add-ons in order to enjoy super-human capabilities. But the technology will probably be so complex that only people with specialized skill sets will be able to repair it, upgrade it, or tune it up.
- Genetic Engineer
Advances in this field may also lead to cures for some of our most challenging diseases as well as treatments that slow or even stop the aging process. It will be up to governments to decide how to regulate an industry that will benefit from a lot of pent-up demand.
- Tech Ethicist
Humanity still hasn’t fully learned that we shouldn’t do something just because we can. Ethicists have the job of trying to help us avoid learning that lesson the hard way. They help us examine hard-to-answer questions in relation to new technologies and their potential consequences. For example, should we allow the creation of “designer babies? Should we grant artificially intelligent robots the same rights we have? The questions are almost limitless given how quickly technology is changing our world.
- Virtual Reality Designer
Most people like to travel and explore places they’ve never been. However, you don’t necessarily have to physically travel anywhere in order to see and experience new places. Whole virtual worlds are being created, and the supporting technology will increasingly allow you to interact with it using all of your senses. As this technology matures, what’s real and what’s fantasy will start to blur together. Talented VR designers may become highly sought-after as VR developers race to fill a growing demand for more sophisticated, realistic, and imaginative virtual experiences.
- Problem-Solving Competition Director
Some people believe that solutions to humanity’s biggest problems can be discovered by creating competitions with large monetary prizes for the winners. Already in place are competitions related to challenges like adult literacy, safer communities, space exploration, global education, artificial intelligence, access to fresh water, ocean exploration, and dealing with carbon emissions. Competitions of this nature may multiply at a faster rate, which will require professionals who can produce and manage them.
- Project-Based Human Resources Director
With more companies moving toward project-based employment models, it’s likely that specialized human resources professionals will increasingly be needed for choosing and coordinating the best freelance workers for individual projects. Along with skills in human resources, this type of professional may also need a deep understanding of project management.
- Weather Control Engineer
Climate change is already being linked to many droughts, floods, and various severe and unexpected weather events. But as climate science advances, it may become possible to safely and effectively manipulate the weather in predictable ways. Geoengineering is already happening at smaller scales. It might not be able to reverse all the effects of global warming, but it could give us the tools to ensure that certain regions aren’t completely devastated by it.