Professions of the Future

August 29, 2018 0 Comment

When I was a teenager, the career I have now did not exist. Sure, there were freelancers back in the early 2000s, but the idea of any one of them solely using the Internet to find and complete work was but a mere pipe dream. Today, millions of digital nomads around the world make their livings working remotely for one or more companies.

I’m telling you all of this to make an important point: as a teenager, it’s impossible to know what new careers will exist in the future. However, there are some trends that, if they continue, will significantly impact the future of work. In this article, we’ll examine the shape of things to come.

Mobility on the Rise

My dad and granddad both spent their entire careers in offices. Even in the early 1980s, when my dad’s office received its first desktop computers, no one had any idea what this technology would mean for the future of work or the new careers it would create.

Today, millions of workers (including yours truly) don’t ‘go to work’ in the traditional sense. As companies reexamine their needs over the coming years, they may decide to continue shrinking their physical offices and replace them with digital ones. For you, that means less time commuting, more flexibility, and perhaps a better work/life balance.

But everything has a trade-off.

More Workers ‘On Their Own’

 Let’s say that in the next 10 years, millions of more workers become mobile, and you, a recent college graduate, want to take this career route. Unless things change, you will discover that you are responsible for many things that your parents and grandparents did not have to worry about, even if you work as a full-time employee for a single company. In other words, you, the worker, will have to plan your retirement and obtain your health insurance. When it comes to retirement, you can start a retirement account as young as 18. Most IRAs (Roth and Regular) require a minimum $1,000 initial deposit, but then you can add as much or as little you want each year up to the $5,500/year cap.

Considering how much the health insurance field has changed in the last 10 years, I’m not going to make any predictions for the next 10. However, since we’re on the topic of health…

Healthcare Jobs Are on the Rise

 When it comes to the ‘professions of the future that currently exist’ category of careers, look no further than the healthcare industry. Now, I’m not saying that everyone reading this article should earn their M.D.s. However, as America ages, demand for the following jobs should skyrocket in the coming years:

  • Occupational Therapist
  • Registered Nurse
  • Pharmaceutical Researcher
  • Pharmacist

So, if you like the sciences, helping others, and the prospect of a stable, long-term career, look no further than healthcare.

What About Tech?

Nowhere is the nature of work changing more than technology careers. It seems that every day you hear a story where someone makes (or loses) a considerable fortune on the latest Silicon Valley idea. As I’m a relative outsider in the tech world, let’s consult an expert in the field.

*Opens up childhood toy box.*

“Let’s see. Pogs…furbies…gak…here it is! Magic 8-Ball, will the technology industry be as lucrative in 10 years as it is today?”

*shake shake shake*

Don’t count on it.

 *shake shake shake*

 My reply is no

That’s not good. Hmmm…

First of all, I don’t think that the Magic 8-Ball is saying that you shouldn’t go into a technology-related career. If that’s your passion, go for it. However, let me relate a story that might put the Magic 8-Ball’s replies in perspective.

While listening to the radio last week, I heard a story about a Palestinian entrepreneur who had created an IT company to give jobs to Palestinian programmers. Here was the gist of his message: “My programmers are more talented than those in the U.S. or India. U.S. programmers cost $50-$100/hour. Indian programmers cost $25/hour. My programmers cost $15/hour.”

Let’s say that his company succeeds, and in its wake, a thousand more pop up in economically depressed countries. If that happens, salaries for many American IT professionals could plummet in the next 10-15 years.

In other words, technology careers may not be the pot of gold you’ve been led to believe. The same statement may apply to the work environment, too.  😉

But that’s just my educated guess, and you know what, technological advances create new, in-demand careers all the time. But always do your research before committing to an IT career path. (Honestly, this is good advice for any student no matter their academic interests.)

Final Thoughts

“Magic 8-Ball, is it possible that the professions of the future are completely different than what we’ve looked at in this article?”

*shake shake shake*

Yes – definitely.

“So, when today’s high school students enter college, should they develop a flexible skill set to be prepared for the changing nature of work and new job opportunities?”

*shake shake shake*

Without a doubt.

The Magic 8-Ball has spoken. See you later.

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