How safe do you feel in your current profession or occupation? Are you certain that your field will even be relevant in the near future or that it won’t be managed by ever-smarter computers?
There are plenty of these ‘jobs growth’ lists around, but most of them still seem to do a simple extrapolation of current trends without looking at the fundamental shifts that are taking place around the world. So my list, focussing on the built environment, has a futures bent to it in that I’m predicting the boom jobs of the future based on emerging trends in today’s economy.
In no particular order, here they are;
- Sun Catcher [Solar Power Installer]: We’ll see massive automated solar panel factories teeming with robots, churning out solar panels night and day. This will include printed PVs [on paper, film and plastic], glazing integrated, building fabric-integrated and plug’n’play systems. Car assembly plants are already being re-geared to produce components. But it will be a bit longer before we don’t need humans to install the stuff because the installation sites will be so incredibly varied. Sun Catchers will be busy retro-fitting our homes and existing buildings for years to come. They’ll also have sidelines in other energy-reducing retrofits such as insulation, shading, ventilation etc.
- Woodsmith [Carpenters and Joiners]: in the property game we’re at the early stages of a timber revolution. We’ll soon need teams of skilled carpenters to build our new buildings, renovate existing, and even help design and program the automated pre-fabrication factories that are already starting to reach scale. Wood, in my view the ultimate carbon sink, will become stylish again.
- Forester [Ecologist or Conservation Biologist]: double-demand – to protect and understand our remaining biodiversity and also to restore what we’ve lost. Nature’s health is inextricably entwined with our agricultural production, fresh water supply, food supply and even our community health and wellbeing. These skills will even scale down to our cities and buildings, contributing to occupant health and healing, and urban agricultural production.
- Integrator [Resilience Planner or Urban Planner]: We’re only at the starting point of grappling with climate change, adaptation and disaster planning. As we gain momentum we’ll see rocketing demand for those who can see the systems-basis of our world and can orchestrate the synthesis of ideas. Integrators are big thinkers and will require high-end people and change management skills. In this respect Integrators will also be great Communicators.
- Sparkitecht [Systems Programmer]: we are still experiencing exponential growth in computing power and speed [Moore’s Law]. The Internet of Things; networked devices, appliances, cars and buildings; smart dust and the ubiquitous ‘net; networked and smart wind and solar farms will all require increasing levels of integration with our physical and then physiological world. Maybe the geeks will still inherit the Earth.
Whether or not these 5 jobs are indeed the highest growth areas [only time will tell] I hope they are amongst the growth areas because they’ll all be doing positive things towards a greener future.
Do any of these sounds like a good step for your next career move?
[Notes: a couple of ideas were sparked by Mother Nature Network. Go here for the article. If you really want to have your imagination stretched check out Thomas Frey’s ‘future jobs that don’t exist today’. Not necessarily green collar but maybe a sign of how different our future could be?]