Last updated July 24, 2017 at 2:55 pm
Transferable skills and knowing where to use them, will take you a long way in the new job market, writes futurist Morris Miselowski.
Whatever your parents did, do the opposite! That’s my advice when it comes to career planning. Your Mum and Dad were told by their Mum and Dad that they had one chance at finding a career and the perfect job. But your choice is very different. You only have to find the right direction and best starting point.
It’s likely that in your lifetime – which could be 100+ years – you will: have at least six careers and 14 jobs; work project-and-task and not 9-to-5; use all sorts of not-yet-seen tech, gadgets and devices; and, create your own jobs rather than get jobs.
Looking for work in the near future is going to be all about having great transferable skills and identifying incredible opportunities to use them. Sixty per cent of all workplace tasks you’ll be doing in 10 years’ time haven’t been invented yet. And they’ll be in industries that don’t exist yet, with employers who are at school now and don’t even realise they’re going to be tomorrow’s next great thinkers, inventors and doers – maybe it’s you.
Tomorrow’s careers are so different from past opportunities. Who, for example, would have thought you could make a career out of playing games? But lots of people already do and more will.
Gamification is the science of applying typical game-playing behaviours and attributes to other areas of life and work. A career in this industry requires you to understand how and why humans think and act in certain ways. You’ll use the worlds of augmented and virtual reality along with a tonne of other technologies to create digital and near-real spaces in which to teach or modify people’s behaviour. And who will you be creating these products for? Every commercial pilot has spent countless hours training in a virtual cockpit. And today many surgeons already trial their operations first on virtual patients; using virtual scalpels and other instruments to make sure that when they get to the real thing they’re ready and know what to do and when. Today some teachers are even learning to control virtual students (as if!) in virtual classrooms so they know what to do in the real world. And some psychologists are already curing phobia patients by immersing them in virtual fear experiences so they can get used to and overcome their anxieties in the real world.
What about becoming an Internet of Things (IoT) puppeteer? This burgeoning industry is just starting to digitally connect all our possessions, objects, devices and ‘things’. But within the next five to 10 years it will become the backbone of modern civilisation; linking up, in real time, our bodies, homes, transport and cities. At the moment it’s helping fridges talk to toasters, cars talk to roads, wearable devices talk to medical staff. But what else can you make it do? What else do you want it to do?
Or you might like to consider adding your brain to the growing sciences of big data and artificial intelligence to solve humanity’s problems. These are just-emerging but rapidly growing technologies that have the ability to gather, sort and make sense of the vast amounts of up-to-the-millisecond relevant information and turn it into best-scenario next steps. We’re already using this embryonic technology in hospitals to assist doctors with accurate patient diagnosis and prognosis and in financial markets to model future investments and possible returns. Satellites are sending a steady stream of information to tractor robots and drones using artificial intelligence to tell them when to plant, water and harvest. These are the sorts of things we’re doing with it now. What will you do with it when you get your hands on it?
Considering a career in aged care and health? Perhaps not, but you might want to. The opportunities are likely to be way beyond what you’re thinking. What about getting involved in building some of the many carer assist robots that are springing up? Or, how about innovating the existing robotic exoskeleton that already operates like a wearable suit to give nurses the powers of super strength and ability so they can effortlessly lift patients and move them around? Why not build a humanoid carer robot that attends to patients 24/7? Or maybe you’d prefer to be involved in figuring out how we can live longer and healthier lives? As our population continues to age, the field of gerontology – which covers all aspects of aging from the social, psychological and cognitive to the biological – is an absolute star career moving forward.
If Earth isn’t big enough for you, why not head into space with one of the many government and private space exploration firms? The next few decades will see space travel, tourism and mining and planet colonisation coming back in a big way. To turn it from science fiction into science fact we’re going to need a whole lot of great minds inventing incredible things.
The trick to choosing a future career is not necessarily in knowing its job title, nor in knowing everything about where you’re headed, because you can’t … that future world hasn’t been created yet. It is instead in knowing the direction you want to head, recognising that talent inside you that’s bursting to get out and, rather than trying to squeeze yourself into one career title for life, thinking of yourself as a Life Architect, constantly searching out opportunities in which to use your skills and talents so you can imagine and build the things of your dreams and our future.
Presenter and broadcaster Morris Miselowski is a global business and education futurist. businessfuturist.com
Originally published in Ultimate Science Guide 2016. Read the new Ultimate Careers magazine and find your Ultimate Careers here.