Top careers for 2020 and beyond

Career & Education

Top careers for 2020 and beyond

Sunday, January 05, 2020

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A changing world, currently exemplified by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is changing the way we experience life.

Featuring technologies such as artificial intelligence, genome editing, augmented reality, robotics, 3-D printing, blockchain, and renewable energy — which are being used to address some of the world's pressing problems — the revolution is rapidly transforming institutions, industries, practices, and people.

That includes careers and jobs, and while the argument that technology will increasingly replace human labour is valid, the changing landscape also presents a cornucopia of new and hitherto unimagined opportunities.

Using data from Birtish Council Jamaica, HEART Trust/NTSA, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, we have narrowed down to six, the major sectors which are projected to experience exponential growth over the next year and into the coming decades.

1. Social Entrepreneurship

This is defined as an enterprise established with the aim of solving social, cultural or environmental problems or effecting social change using methods focused on sustainable development. Social entrepreneurs often blend for-profit goals with generating a positive return to society.

A good local example is 360 Recycle, which makes outdoor furniture, scultptures, playground equipment, even buildings, using recycled plastics, paper and csrdboard. There are several high schools across the country which are also developing social enterprises in their schools, thanks to a Victoria Mutual-funded project being implemented by British Council Jamaica.

Professor K'adame K'nife of the University of the West Indies asserts that the social enterprise business model is crucial if Jamaica is to attain its Vision 2030 and the UN's Sustainable Developemnt Goals.

2. Green Entrepreneurship

The EU-funded GREENT project defines this as the activity of consciously addressing an environmental or social problem through the realisation of entrepreneurial ideas that have a net positive effect on the natural environment while being financially sustainable.

The example of young Zara Harris of ReBuild, who won regional recognition and support for creating tiles and pavers that facilitate water run-off and do not reflect or absorb heat, is a current example.

3. Photovoltaic Installation and Servicing

With climate change threatening to severely damage the world as we know it, solar power will continue to be a major part of humanity's transition toward a clean-energy future. The cost of solar energy keeps dropping year after year, so it's becoming much more affordable for businesses and homeowners. In cities all around the world, solar energy technicians are enjoying stable employment in a growing industry that makes a positive difference. In the US, about 30,000 solar technician jobs may become available over the decade from 2016 to 2026. Median yearly pay for this occupation was US$42,680 in 2018.

4. Wind Turbine Installation and Maintenance

Like solar power, wind energy will continue to part of the transition away from fossil fuel sources like oil, coal, and natural gas and towards clean energy. The decision by Wigton Windfarm in Manchester to go public a few months ago was a clear indication of the growth that is projected over the next few years. It means, in part, that skilled technicians will be needed to help with the installation, maintenance, and repair of those giant wind turbines. In the US, where median salary for this field was US$54,370 in 2018, some 14,000 jobs could be generated over the decade that ends in 2026.

5. Software Development/Mobile App Development

Computers, robots, and mobile devices are useless without the well-engineered software that gives life to the sophisticated hardware it runs on. As the Internet grows and machines get smarter and more connected to us and to each other, the need for talented software developers will expand. Mobile app development, especially, is considered one of the best careers for 2020 and beyond. In fact, almost 1.2 million total job openings are projected to become available in the software development field in the US between 2016 and 2026.

In Jamaica, we hope that among the ventures that will come from our talented pool of young people this year is an entire suite of Jamaican-inspired emojis. Who could say no to visual representations of jerk chicken, ackee & saltfish, fried dumplings, (medical) marijuana, jelly coconuts, and guinep? Wink, wink!

6. Digital Content Specialisation

In tandem with the cultural revolution that keeps us constantly connected to almost any kind of information or entertainment we want to consume, is the need for fresh content that breaks through the noise. Organisations in every industry are discovering that generating new digital content, and analysing customer beahviour based on their digital footprint, is key to sustaining their effectiveness. That's why digital content specialists—with all kinds of different job titles and abilities—are increasingly in high demand, especially with the growing popularity of remote work and freelance gigs.

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