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Studying For The Future: The Top 10 Degree Choices For Career Stability

by Lois R. Earles
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The world is changing at an alarming rate these days, and it can often seem impossible to keep up with new and emerging technologies. With computers and the internet transforming the modern workplace, it’s becoming more important than ever for individuals to consider the type of job they might want to do in the future.

Whether you’ve just left school and are looking to take your first steps into education or are thinking about taking a degree to change your career, it would be wise to consider how the employment and economic landscape of the future might look before deciding what to study.

Certainly, some relatively obvious areas should offer career stability moving forward (e.g. computer and data-related jobs) but what other sectors are predicted to have growth in the future? Below are just a few roles you might want to think about to help ensure steady employment throughout your lifetime.

1. Computer Programmer

Technology has transformed all areas of modern life. Computers and the internet have changed everything from the way we communicate to how we watch media and there is little doubt that most jobs in the future will involve some form of interaction with software and apps. Consequently, a career in computer programming will almost undoubtedly offer you a secure future.

Computer programming is required across all industry sectors and skilled coders remain in demand year-on-year to build specific apps, websites and software. The need for programmers is only going to increase as the real and online worlds converge more and more and we increasingly integrate our lives with computers.

If you want a safe bet for the future, you could do a lot worse than choose a career in programming.

2. A Career in Ethical Hacking

The internet has afforded companies tremendous opportunities to operate 24/7 in a global marketplace, however, it has also presented massive risks to firms in the form of cybercrime. The revenue generated by cybercrime already makes it the world’s third-largest economy and online criminality is expected to exceed $1 trillion in 2020 alone – partly caused by our increased use of the internet through the coronavirus pandemic.

Cybercrime presents a real and present danger to firms – and it shows no signs of slowing. Indeed, experts predict online crime could cost companies up to $10.5 trillion by 2025 – predominantly caused by hackers. As a result, ethical hacking as a career choice will likely offer sustained career options for some time to come.

The job of an ethical hacker is as the name suggests – individuals attempt to crack an organization’s security to expose potential loopholes that might otherwise be discovered by a real, malicious hacker. For companies, this can result in massive savings through the prevention of possible data breaches – so ethical hackers can also command a tidy sum in terms of wages.

3. A Job as a Blockchain Developer

Many investment analysts suggest that blockchain technology is the next big disruptor that will revolutionize not just the money markets but many other industries as well.

While blockchain is most commonly associated with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the tech has massive potential as a standalone solution for other sectors too. For example, blockchain is already being used across the car industry to record the previous owner’s history and parts records, thereby helping prevent fraud on the part of sellers.

Any market can benefit from the secure logging potential of blockchain tech so a career as a blockchain developer will undoubtedly assure good work prospects in the future.

4. Work as a Big Data Analyst

These days, data is essential for companies in all kinds of ways from understanding demand to performing effective marketing, maintaining client relations and driving efficiency. The role of a data analyst is to interpret a firm’s data to help bosses make accurate predictions for the future as well as gain a real-time picture of their productivity.

More and more of our previous real-world interactions and transactions are now happening digitally, meaning companies these days have access to huge amounts of valuable, insightful data that can be used strategically by firms to make beneficial decisions. Data analysis allows a digital translation of the world that can be studied in depth to establish patterns and make forecasts.

To get an idea of how you can break into data analysis, click here. While you will benefit from taking a specific course in data analysis, other existing qualifications will still give you a good grounding in this interesting and challenging role.

5. Take a Job in Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) has promised so much for so long – yet, until very recently, the technology consistently has underperformed and disappointed. However, things are changing fast in this emerging sector and with the likes of Facebook giving backing to (and purchasing) the Oculus platform. Predictions are that VR may finally be on the verge of coming good.

VR is most often regarded primarily as a gaming technology but, in truth, it has far-reaching possibilities and implications for other industries too. For example, VR can be used in the health industry to allow medical students to practice surgeries without harming a human patient – or in the construction sector to give prospective buyers a tour of a virtual home, before even the first brick has been laid.

Furthermore, many suspect the primary reason for Zuckerberg’s purchase of Oculus hints at Facebook branching into the market, with the prospect of new communities existing in virtual hangouts.

Whichever direction it takes, VR is here to stay and should offer considerable career stability for many years to come.

6. Work in Artificial Intelligence (AI)

For many years, scientists have predicted a fantastical world filled with intelligent robots capable of looking after (or sometimes, destroying) their human masters.

While Artificial Intelligence (AI) has mostly been considered the stuff of science fiction, it is rapidly becoming science fact. The speed and depth of progress in AI over the last decade has been truly awe-inspiring and these days machines are capable of cognitive thought. Indeed, Elon Musk has even talked of a time when AI technology could be implanted into people’s minds to create superhuman intelligence.

However, while Musk’s ideas are intriguing, the real-world applications are far more practical. AI is now being used across all markets and realms of business – from office software to intelligent manufacturing systems – and is helping to drive down costs and improve efficiency.

As AI can generate such financial savings for businesses, practitioners with skills in the discipline will be in demand for many years to come and a career in AI is one of the safest you could choose.

7. Work as a Gene Editor

The 1997 film Gattaca portrayed a somewhat disturbing future where gene manipulation could be used to control societies and produce the perfect human. The “playing-God” nature of editing genes has been controversial for many years – however, the practice also has multiple positive implications for the medical industry.

Moving away from the rather fanciful idea of choosing the color of a newborn’s eye, gene manipulation has the potential to reduce the suffering of patients and cure life-threatening diseases.

Working as a gene editor, your role will include identifying and isolating the causes of many common ailments, to find ways how we could control or eliminate diseases through gene therapy or altering their structure.

8. A Career in Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality (AR) is another area that has largely been associated with gaming, however, the potential applications for the tech are far more wide-ranging than simple Pokemon games and the like.

The uses for AR are constantly expanding and the technology is being implemented everywhere from the medical industry (to help remote practitioners) to the clothing and fashion industries (for example, with virtual online fitting rooms).

As this emerging market expands – and more industries come to understand and take advantage of the applications for the tech – so the job opportunities will continue to increase.

9. Become a Drone Pilot

Drones are already in wide use across a variety of different sectors including construction, the medical industry (for supplies), videography and delivery services. In recent years, the sophistication of drone technology has increased and substantial improvements have been made to their handling, speed and load-bearing capacities. Moreover, automated flight has been made possible with the introduction of sensors around craft and complex AI software to plot routes.

While it could be argued that piloting a drone is easier than ever with the introduction of so much added tech to the craft, there will continue to be a need for skilled drone pilots and technicians capable of flying in specific conditions and environments. As more industries begin to realize the potential benefits of employing drones for increasingly diverse uses, the future of drone pilots should be assured for some time to come.

10. Working in Mental Health

There have been considerable efforts in recent years by nations around the world to destigmatize mental health problems, leading to a huge explosion in patients coming forward for help. Unlike many future careers that face potential risks of being phased out due to AI and robots, it seems very unlikely computers will be able to take on these care roles anytime soon.

Mental health specialists perform an important and highly skilled role in assessing a patient’s particular problems and in finding ways in which they can be helped or cured. This rewarding job makes a real difference to society and the demand for skilled mental health carers should remain high long into the future.

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