Twenty years ago, there was no such thing as an iPhone, and only in the last decade have the likes of Spotify, Instagram and Pinterest become household names.
The speed of technology advancement means that jobs in twenty or even ten years could look very different from today, but you can develop useful skills now that will stand you in good stead for whatever the future has to offer.
The demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills in the workplace is already high, and that is unlikely to change any time soon, especially with the rise of technologies such as 3D printing and the Internet of Things. There are plenty of resources in this field for all levels of education and for employers. Building up these skills will give you a distinct advantage in years to come.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
In a world where automation and artificial intelligence are taking an increasingly large role in maintenance and production, there will still be a need for people who can employ critical thinking and impeccable logic to make sense of any situation and analyse the various possible solutions. We don’t know what problems we will face in a future that is currently abstract, so mental agility and an aptitude for seeing the bigger picture will always be in demand.
Machines and software may be more prevalent, but they’re highly unlikely to be able to replace people in some crucial areas, such as offering empathy and a listening ear. Managing working relationships with the people around you will continue to be an important skill, and there is substantial research to show that displaying emotional intelligence in the workplace helps employees – and by extension, the business – achieve success.
This is another area where technology is unlikely to take over. Someone needs to create the items that a 3D printer produces, and a computer can fix a problem but won’t give you innovative ideas. And creativity takes many forms. The skills you nurture might lead you, or inspire others, to pioneer a new type of green energy or a medical breakthrough at some point in the future.
It may seem like the onward march of technology is replacing jobs, but in fact it is creating new, different ones. The collaboration between human and machine will be an integral factor in the jobs of tomorrow, and skills that complement technology will be greatly sought after. Ask yourself that classic interview question: where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
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