Are we Preparing Our Kids for Jobs of the Future?
We now live in the digital age where secrets are shared and information is the biggest currency. When a few decades back, people chose to keep their privacy intact, now our social status is measured by how active we are on the internet. To sum up, times have changed. Our needs, our priorities are gradually changing and believe it or not our aspirations for the future seem to be changing too. Are we preparing our kids for the future too?
Let’s wind our clocks back to the time of advent of websites. A time that saw a few people who took the unconventional route and created some of the biggest companies in the world. These entrepreneurs not only proved that one can make it big in an unconventional job, but they also opened up several avenues for the future generations.
When big companies were trying to figure out a way to monetize the internet, two college coders figured out a way to use backlinks and develop a search engine thereby forming Google. During their initial stages, many companies rejected Google as they didn’t see the conventional money making methods being applied to it. Even Yahoo rejected a 1 million bid to buy out the search engine tool back in 2002. Take companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter or Apple into consideration, they were all started by youngsters who pursued their passion for computers and internet. A passion they all developed at a very young age.
It was during this period of post internet bubble when we saw the emergence of several new kinds of jobs. Many new jobs related to computer programming sprung up and quickly gained traction in the market. With the introduction of websites, came web-developer and designer jobs. Companies like IBM and Oracle introduced database and that itself became a field on its own. Social media and search engines gave rise to a whole new set of jobs in the last decade.
What we learn from the arrival of these new jobs is that as we go further into the world of technical developments, we are going to see the introduction of fields and jobs that no one has even heard of.
Your toddler who is preparing for school may not be interested in becoming an engineer, doctor or a lawyer and may choose a career path that doesn’t even exist now.
The young generation is lucky to be born in a time when people are encouraged to pursue their passions. A time when a 3 year old holds a patent for his invention (Sam Houghton). We may see a majority of population creating their own professions in the future.
Let us get back to the present and talk about why your son or daughter may not become an engineer. It doesn’t mean that engineering is going to die out completely as a profession. The conventional engineering jobs may see a drastic change.
Combination of two or more fields
Gone are the days when people were happy and satisfied with one kind of product. Be it cars, smartphones, electronic consumer products or the films we watch, they are all results of combination of multiple streams.
Our cars can drive themselves using components of artificial intelligence, smartphones can interact with almost every digital device in our home using IoT, we watch action films that use CGI and most of them are shot in a warehouse, and our home can be controlled by a single device.
If you think that only computer programming can be combined with other fields, then you are wrong. Art and architecture/engineering are two disciplines that have been combined together on multiple occasions. You want proof? Consider any architectural marvel. You will find a perfect blend of art/design with practical engineering.
In case of the cars we drive, designers combine practical ergonomics with stunning designs that are not only performance machines, but look beautiful in your garage too.
Combination of two distinct disciplines has been prevalent for a while now but the number of innovative minds was comparatively less.
Most of you know the story of Leonardo Da Vinci. The artist who gave us one of the most famous work of art, also designed weapons for his empire.
The film industry is one example that uses all kinds of distinct fields in one room. With sound engineering to cinematography, from using CGI and animatronics to make superheroes seem real, to using combination of sounds for invoking emotions in us normal folk watching the film, the industry uses all kinds of disciplines.
The music world has seen a number of innovations that are creating new sounds. Instruments like Eigenharp, Electric Violins, Tenori-On etc. create sounds that may have never been heard before. This not only opens the world of music to new genres like we saw in the 90’s with electronic music and the 2000’s with EDM, but also creates new avenues for those who are passionate about music.
One of the most controversial inventions in the music industry, auto-tune, was invented by an Oil Engineer. Dr. Andy Hildebrand developed an algorithm that used seismic waves to determine potential drill sites. The man applied his algorithm to music when he was dared at a party to hit all the notes in a song perfectly. His application to music later came to be known as Auto-tune.
Want another example? Take Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde. When the world thinks of artists as painters, sculptors or illustrators, Daan Roosegaarde combines his knowledge of architecture with his passion for art and creates marvels that belong in sci-fi flicks.
His latest venture, the Smog Free Project in Beijing has towers that suck in the polluted air with the vacuum and produce clean air. The carbon accumulated from these towers can be processed through the right conditions to get diamonds.
The big change
What we are trying to explain from these examples is that even though conventional jobs hold a lot of weightage in the market, the future is going to require some new methods and techniques. As the world around us changes, our requirements change.
Over the past couple of years, we have seen a major shift in advertising.
What started with hoardings with catch-phrases, soon entered the world of television. The internet saw advertisers shift their focus to popup-ads. Search engine and social media modified the field of advertising to digital marketing. Content and social media became an integral part of marketing consumer products and services.
Do you think the ad-man from 60’s would have predicted this future? Did you ever imagine that marketers would be collaborating with bloggers and Instagrammers for product endorsements?
The Future of Children
In case you are still stuck on the idea of sending your child to an engineering or medical institute, you may want to assess your priorities.
If there is one thing we can all learn from these internet billionaires, it is that passion developed at a young age may pay off in the future. You kid may grow up to become a musician who uses math in the notes he/she writes.
The latest hot trend in the market, big data and data mining may end up using psychology majors to predict a person’s behavior. The cut throat world of stock market is now looking at social media trends and patterns to predict the rise and fall of share prices.
If your kid is passionate about gaming, it doesn’t mean he/she will end up on a couch without any future prospects. Simulators are now used in aviation, sports, training of soldiers, designers, architecture etc.
Encouraging young students to pursue their passions may help them choose the right career path. Be it playing a sport, creating web applications or writing stories, any simple or complex passion can become something bigger in the future.
The herd mentality may come to an end if we all pursued something we all loved rather than going after what is popular at moment.
Proper use of internet can help these students manifest their hobbies into part time jobs or even full time career options. With proper guidance and an open mind, teenagers can get a better idea of their vision.
The future may hold several constructive jobs that may seem like impossible fantasies at the moment.
If one considers the exponential growth of technology as per Moore’s Law, we may not even be aware of the new gadgets that may enter our life in the next two years.
The current market depends so much on information technology that the knowledge of computers in now required in practically every field.
Everything we use in our daily lives uses some complex programming and hardware that is pervasive in nature. One concept that is quickly becoming popular in the industry is IOT (Internet of Things).
The term IOT is used to define the network created for the communication between two devices. Smart devices like smart bulbs, pet feeders, Samsung Smart Hub etc. are some examples of IOT and its working.
As IOT increases its market and consumer reach, a number of jobs are springing up and will continue to grow in the future.
- Jobs for circuit designing, microcontroller programming etc. will be integral parts of IOT.
- Big Data analysis will be another aspect of IOT that will see a rapid growth.
- Security- Since most of your devices are mostly connected these days, hacking into one device can help the hacker attack every device/gadget connected to it. So you understand how important security infrastructure will be in the future of IOT.
Another field that is related to IOT and is going to become a multi-billion dollar industry is GPS. Jobs related to development of GPS in devices like smart watches, wearables and self-driving cars.
Apart from IOT, other fields related to Information Technology that are going to rise in the coming years include-
- Programming – Coders tackle all kinds of devices and work on their development and execution. With web development being one of most sought after jobs these days, mobile application has already caught up with it and will soon become the primary job requirement for most companies.
- Online Streaming – Since most television shows, movies, vines, viral videos taking most of the internet space, platforms like Netflix and YouTube may soon see a lot of competition in the coming years.
- Database Managers – Just think about the data you put on the internet through your social media platforms. The pictures you upload, the snap stories you create, when you go live on Facebook or when you upload a v-log; all this data has to stored somewhere and with the massive population growth, you bet we are going to require some intelligent peeps to step forward create better and smarter databases.
- Social Media – The stuff you use to chat with friends, stalk the people you know and find hilarious memes is now becoming the primary tool for marketing and advertising. This has introduced the world to bloggers, content writers and social media strategists. The future of social media may largely depend on videography and graphic design as most viewers online prefer graphic material over normal text.
- Online Media – If you carefully look at your Facebook timeline, you’ll notice how it suddenly become flooded with videos last year. This happened with they decided to compete with YouTube. How is this relevant? Videos, web-series, videos that work as advertisements, designs for your product, a whole short-film created around one product; all these are slowly becoming new tools for advertisers and will open new avenues for the coming generation to work with.
Though there is no scientific way to predict the exact nature of jobs that may exist in the future, we can start by working on whatever wild ideas we have. If you feel there is a way to combine your knowledge with your passion, then give it your best shot and you will find an entire world opening up for you. Most of the jobs mentioned above will not only test your knowledge but also your creative mind. How you combine them will decide your performance at your job.
The future has already started to enter our lives and we don’t even realize it as we are mostly busy with our smartphones. If a film director can use infrared sounds in his film to generate emotions in the viewers, if a 10-year old can develop mobile apps, if students can make automobiles just by watching You tube videos, imagine what our children can do when they are encouraged to pursue their passions, think bigger and follow the path least trodden!
It all begins with how we as parents can encourage and hone their talents, prepare them for a bigger role to play in the world rather than follow traditional and redundant careers that they may or may not be made for.