We are at the beginning of the 4th industrial revolution driven by the rise of AI – Artificial Intelligence. The consequent rate of change for humanity is gathering dizzying pace. The 2020-21 pandemic has also expedited global industry-wide transformations which are having radical and disruptive job and career impacts.
Progressive technological advances and resulting industry transformations are triggering an inevitable extinction of jobs by the millions. Long-time traditional career paths are threatened like never before – there is a ‘storm’ brewing in the horizon!
However, there will also be a greater increase in new career opportunities that are aligned with emerging technologies and business models – and there is already a huge shortage of such skills. These future career skill-sets will be different … what got us here will not get us ahead going forward. So, here are the top skill-sets needed for future careers.
Depth of Expertise &
Breath of Awareness
Rapidly evolving industries on the back of AI advances will warrant a depth of specific expertise combined with a breadth of awareness of emerging technologies and cross-industry transformations.
While such approach and skills not only afford a strategic and competitive approach in one's career, it also offers insight and flexibility of cross-industry shifts during adverse and challenging market conditions.
Going forward, products and services will increasingly integrate the physical and digital worlds resulting from cross-industry expertise and collaborations.
This is keenly exemplified by the emergence of the Metaverse – a whole new ‘universe’ of 3D virtual worlds – combining progressive technologies and expertise in displays, audio, sensors, haptics, hand/eye tracking, graphics, computer vision, avatars, AI and lots more.
Our very eyes provide a cue – narrow focus, wide vision.
Clarity & Focus
With exploding information, distractions, and choices, keeping focus is progressively a serious challenge. Being busy and multi-tasking do not naturally imply creativity and productivity. Spreading our attention too thin over myriad tasks and distractions gets similar results – thin!
One of the biggest challenges in career and life is clarity of direction - what we want to do, achieve and have, in a defined timeline. Such clarity enables us to set clear goals, priorities, and plans – enable us to know what to do and importantly, ignore the remaining majority.
What follows clarity of direction more easily, is focus and discipline, which yield more effective, impactful, and fulfilling results.
Learning to focus in a technologically distracted world is a key challenge for career and self-development. - therefore, a most important skill for future career success.
With ‘college knowledge’ struggling to keep up-to-date and in sync with industry transformations, continuous learning is becoming an essential for survival.
Increasing technological advances driving industry transformations are inflicting huge job redundancies and creating new skill requirements aligned with the technological progress. Addressing these new skill demands necessitates contact learning among all career levels.
The education industry is also transforming to adapt to new learning models and skills overhaul. There is an exponential increase in online courses and focused certifications with immediate industry relevance. Fortunately, this transformation is also making education much more accessible, affordable, and focused.
Affinity for Technology
Affinity for technology is no longer just a 'desirable' - it is an essential for future careers.
The inclination to explore the latest technological advances in one’s field, constantly learn and up-skill, and practice recent technological applications is becoming critical to surviving progressive changes in industry landscapes.
For those involved in manual, repetitive, administrative, and predictable job profiles, it becomes more imperative to grow an interest and engagement in technological fields and applications – simply to avoid likely redundancy of such jobs by advanced technology.
With advancing technology, tech-applications and usage are also becoming more user-friendly, often eliminating the need for complex coding or advanced know-how to operate or create value.
A humble, open, and curious mind promotes the affinity for technology indispensable for one’s career growth ahead.
Creative Problem Solving
Re-thinking fundamentals and thinking through first principles to solve problems often offers simpler, more creative, and practical solutions than the continuing ‘business-as-usual’ ways.
There will always be growing demand for simpler and more user-friendly services and products which will need creative problems solving. With progressive technological advances, user interface and operability are becoming simpler in numerous realms.
As an example, the transport industry is experiencing a revolution in renewable energy systems, demand-responsive public transport modes, personal rapid transit modes, and therefore the re-imagination of the entire fixed infrastructure that supports all these. Such re-imagination of systems and user-friendliness require non-conventional approach with creative problem-solving.
Global issues of urbanization, resource limitations, climate change, de-carbonization, renewable energy, and equitable societies require novel and creative problem-solving at all levels, from strategic to technical.
Soft Skills - Personality Traits & People Skills
All our joys and earnings in life result from relationships with other people. That’s how important our soft skills – personality traits and people skills are for our success and happiness.
In career or business, where we provide services and products, our personal soft skills primarily determine the extent of our success.
Our soft skills imply our ‘software’ – how we are and how we behave. Our software includes our personality traits – growth mindset, emotional intelligence, welcoming feedback, values & ethics, and time management.
Our personality traits, in turn, are responsible for our expressions – our people skills and communications – involving patient listening, appreciating, encouraging, being a cooperative team player, and an empathetic leader.
How we get along with others is how we get ahead.
& Content Creation
Creativity is making or serving something new and valuable for an intended audience. This may be a physical product or service, or similar offered over internet.
Creativity involves perceiving the world in new ways, finding hidden patterns and benefits, making connections, and generating novel solutions. The foundational traits of creativity commonly include inquisitiveness, observation, enquiry, team-work, experimenting, and persistence through failures.
Creativity also implies consistent content creation. The world is hungry for new content, better products, and services each day. So, opportunities for the creative are unlimited in practically every realm.
We are at the threshold of the next version of the internet – the metaverse. Completely new virtual worlds, eco-systems, products, and services will need re-imagination and creation.
In a rapidly changing world, creators and adaptors will enjoy and encash the ride.
Leadership is the ability to socially and emotionally influence and guide other members of a team or organization towards productive goals. The intention of leading is to maximize combined efforts in an organized way to achieve established goals.
In any career or level, effective progress and results come from collaborative team-work which requires basic leadership skills in all members. These skills include effective communication, building relationships, planning and organizing long and short-term work, problem-solving, decision-making, and supporting each other. Honing these skills makes for effective team leadership.
Key personality traits of a team leader also include compassion or empathy, dedication to a greater vision or cause, confidence in self and team, effective communication of strategic vision and goals, decisiveness, and ability to foster creative environments.
Leadership is not title dependent but pervades all levels. We lead our personal goals, plans, and actions in alignment with our role in advancing team productivity.
How to Select or Re-validate Your Career-Choice
Your ideal career is at the confluence of the dynamic trinity of - Passion, Skills, and Market (demand). Combining these factors will help discover, validate, or reaffirm your career selection.
Honing in on your ideal career choice is a most significant decision that needs continuous and wider research of markets, constant learning, discussions with relevant experts, and ideally, getting your ‘hands dirty’ in the chosen field.
With the ongoing radical transformation of industries, multi-skills and multiple career changes will become the norm - and so too this exercise of re-selecting, re-validating, and continual course-correction throughout your career.
"Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change."
Stephen W. Hawking
(1942 - 2018)
British theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author