|By Frey, Thomas|
Editor's Note: Significant and fast-paced change is occurring across society in general and our profession in particular. With so much confusion in the air,
The opinions expressed in this column are solely that of the author and do not in any way reflect the policies and positions of
here is no future in any job. The future lies in the person who holds the job.-
One of my primary complaints with higher education is that it tends to prepare students for jobs of the past. A midwesterner would phrase it, "they are constantly shooting behind the duck."
Similarly, whenever a column is written about the best paying jobs of the future, jobs like civil engineers, registered nurses, and computer system analysts, they are all jobs that currently exist today.
Yes, many of these jobs will still exist in the future, but every one of them will morph and change as technology and communication systems make their impact.
As an example, technology research firm IDC predicts the amount of data businesses will have access to will grow 50-fold over the next decade. As data becomes cheaper, faster, and more pervasive, the nature of our work begins to change as well.
The first wave of baby boomers has now turned 65. As this generation grays, their needs will change. Their growing numbers and increasing medical needs will require a different kind of health care professional to take care of them.
As a rule of thumb, 60% of the jobs 10 years from now haven't been invented yet. With that in mind, I've decided to pull together a list of 55 jobs that will be in high demand in the future.
Jobs Before 2020
Many of the changes we see today will cause new jobs to materialize quickly. Part one of this column deals with new positions that will likely be spawned within the next 10 years.
2. Alternative Currency Bankers: According to Javelin Strategies, 20% of all online nades are already being done with alternative currencies. The stage is being set for next-gen alt-currency banks.
3. Seed Capitalists: In the startup business world a huge gulf exists between initial concept and fundable prototypes. This dearth of funding options will require an entirely new profession. Seed capitalists will specialize in high-risk start- ups. Counter to today's investment-world thinking, if they get more than 100% return on their investments, they will be docked for not taking enough risk.
5. Locationists: People who specialize in adding the relevance of "place" to our global online communities.
6. Waste Data Managers: To insure data integrity in today's fast-evolving information storage industry, multiple redundancies have been built into the system. Achieving more streamline data storage in the future will require de-duplication specialists who can rid our data centers of needless copies and frivolous clutter.
7. Urban Agriculturalists: Why ship food all the way around the world when it can be grown next door? Next generation produce-growing operations will be located underground, often below the grocery stores where the produce will be sold directly to customers. More details at www.futuristspeaker.com/2009/11/ the-coolest-profession-on-earth-nextgeneration-agriculture/.
8. Business Colony Managers: The average person who turns 30 years old in the U.S. today has worked 11 different jobs. In just 10 years, the average person who turns 30 will have worked 200-300 different projects. Business colonies are an evolving new kind of organizational structure designed around matching talent with pending work projects. The operation will revolve around some combination of resident people based in a physical facility and a nonresident virtual workforce, with some opting to forgo the cost of the physical facility entirely. People who can effectively manage this type of operation will be in high demand. More details at www. futuristspeaker.com/2010/ll/businesscolonies-a-study-of-structure-organizationand-the-evolution-of-work/.
9. Competition Producers: One of the hottest new trends will be to design incentive-based competitions to solve some of the world's biggest problems. Paving the way has been
10. Avatar Designers: Next generation avatars will become indistinguishable from humans on a two-dimensional screen. Avatars will only live in the computer world for a short time longer, however. It is only a matter of time before they emerge from the computer and appear as visual beings, walking around among us. Once an avatar goes through the radical metamorphosis from an image that we see on a screen to a three-dimensional being that joins us for dinner, carries on conversations with our friends, and serves as a stand-in for us at meetings, we will see work start on an even more realistic avatar, one that we can touch. More details at www.futuristspeaker. com/2009/12/6-trends-to-watch-in20101 -the-turing-tes t-for-avatars/.
11. Avatar Relationship Managers: As the foibles of humanity enter the realm of autonomous, freethinking avatars, people will find it necessary to both manage and limit the often dangerous relationships that avatars get themselves into.
12. 3D Printing Engineers: Classes in 3D printing are already being introduced into high schools and the demand for printerproduced products will skyrocket. The trend will be for these workerless workshops to enter virtually every field of manufacturing, stemming the tide of outsourcing, at the same time, driving the need for competent technicians and engineers to design and maintain the next wave of this technology.
13. 3D Food-Printer Engineers: Pushing the envelope for 3D printer technology even further will be the coming age of food printers. Converting 3D printers to work with cartridges containing food stocks will prove difficult and demanding on a number of levels. Those who can solve this kind of problem will be in high demand. More details at www. futuristspeaker.com/2011/10/thecoming-food-printer-revolution/.
14. Book-to-App Converters: Over the coming months we will begin to see a form of competition brewing between books and apps. With both being information products that we interface with differently, we will begin to see a large-scale effort to convert existing books and literature into an interactive app, similar to the current effort to convert popular literature from print to audiobooks. More details at www.futuristspeaker. com/2011/09/introducing-the-perpetualself-updating-book/.
16. Privacy Managers: If you think you have lost most of your privacy already, we've only scratched the surface. We are all terminally human, and as such, we do not always make good decisions. Striking the perfect privacy-transparency balance will require far more than amateur insights. It will require a privacy professional. More details at www.futuristspeaker.com/2011/02/ the-coming-transparency-war/.
17. Wind Turbine Repair Techs: The proliferation of windmills around the world will dramatically drive the demand for repair techs who are not afraid of heights and can solve whatever new problems this fledgling new industry blows their way.
19. Smart Dust Programmers: In its simplest form, smart dust consists of a sensor combined with a wireless transmitter and some kind of power source. Many are envisioning the power to come from wireless radio frequency signals. The reason it is referred to as "smart dust" is because the technology is shrinking in size until it reaches the particle size of dust. Future designs for smart dust involve detecting everything from moisture content, to soil temperature, to chemical composition. More details at www.futuristspeaker.com/2011/10/ tapping-into-the-secret-language-ofplants/.
20. Personality Services: Talking back and forth to a computer that has a machinelike voice is boring. But being able to download specific "personality packages" will add an entirely new level of engagement for basement-dwellers everywhere. The hottest personalities to download will be offshoots of existing characters or celebrities such as being able to download a
21. Smart Contact Developers: The idea of "smart" contact lenses, the kind that can superimpose information on the wearer's field of view, has been around for a while. But the first iteration of smart contact lenses is already on the market and industry execs are beginning to generate a wide array of possible applications. More details at www.futuristspeaker. com/2011/10/tapping-into-the-secretlanguage-of-plants/.
22. Nano-Medics: The medical problems most people have can be traced to a single cell or a small group of them. Health professionals capable of working on the nano level, both in designing diagnostics systems, remedies, and monitoring solutions will be in high demand.
23. New Science Philosopher-Ethicists: Every new technology creates its own set of unintended consequences, and people who can ask the tough questions and demand deeper introspection will be in high demand. Industry sages will serve as both a conscience and a guide for decision makers everywhere.
24. Organ Agents: The demand for transplantable organs is exploding and people who can track down and deliver healthy organs will be in hot demand.
25. Octogenarian Service Providers: As the population continues the age we will have record numbers of people living into their 80s, 90s, and 100s. This mushrooming group of active oldsters will provide a demand for goods and services currently not being addressed in today's marketplace.
26. Elevated Tube Transport Engineers: The next big infrastructure project on planet earth will be a human and cargo transport system designed around a network of vacuum tubes with maglev tracks. Operating at less than 2% of the cost of today's car, truck, jet, ship, and train systems, this emerging tube transport system will be a massive undertaking that demands talented new-age thinkers for decades to come. More details at http://et3.com.
Next month's column will cover part two of this list. The final 29 jobs will be broken down into two categories: the dismantlers and jobs in 2030 and beyond. Don't miss May's column for the entire picture of these future jobs and my final thoughts.
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|Copyright:||(c) 2014 National Environmental Health Association|