As technology continues to impact our lives, workers in today’s ever-changing labor
market need to be prepared with skills to adapt and succeed in the workplace. Job
opportunities in technology are growing up to three times faster than other career fields in
the U.S. Long gone are the days of a linear education and career trajectory as
technology continues to reshape the world’s education and workplace landscapes.
Nowadays, the career paths of most individuals resemble a scaffold rather than a
conservative straight line.
Changes in the education and workplace landscape not only impact job seekers, but
educators and employers as well. It’s estimated that by 2025, we could have 20 million
jobs without enough qualified people to fill them.
Before you start thinking that there will be no jobs for humans to do in the near future,
first realize that technology has always eliminated jobs. What we’re experiencing now is
nothing new. Even in the 18th and 19th centuries, new advancements in everything from
textiles to railroads to mail delivery to manufacturing caused jobs to disappear. The
difference is that the change used to be slow. It took a long time for those jobs to
disappear, so there was time to adapt.
But today, thanks to the three change accelerators of exponential advances in processing
power, bandwidth, and storage, we are experiencing rapid change—or rather,
transformation. Because processing power is creating a digital explosion in our tools’
ability to do more with less at a faster rate, and bandwidth is increasing exponentially,
and storage is moving to the cloud, over the next five short years we will be transforming
how we sell, market, communicate, collaborate, innovate, train, and educate. As a result,
we are going to see many jobs disappear, yet at the same time, many current job
definitions redefined as technology gives us new and more efficient ways to do our old
The key is to get ahead of the curve. One way to get ahead of the curve is to ask yourself,
“Do I do a repetitive task?” Obviously, advanced automation and robotics is going to take
those jobs over quickly, if they haven’t already.
Similarly, do you have a well-defined procedure that you do every day, or do you have rule-based skills?
Intelligent systems are going to be able to do those procedures for you.
Here are a few important questions that will help you get ahead of the career curve. Ask
yourself, “What knowledge and skills can I learn that will supplement my current
strengths so that I can thrive in the years ahead? What are the new areas of learning that
will make me more relevant in a world of rapid change?”
It’s time to ask new and better questions, because we used to have a lot of time—in some
cases, a lifetime—to prepare for job and career changes. Today the timeframe to prepare
for change is extremely short.
The problem is, we live in an uncertain world, and because of the high levels of
uncertainty we all face, people of all ages and career levels are finding it difficult to know
what new skills to learn, what courses to take, and what degrees to get that will provide
them with the most opportunity going forward. Uncertainty keeps us stuck in the present.
Certainty, on the other hand, gives us the confidence to make a decision, to move forward,
to invest time and money to learn new things. Over the past thirty years, I have developed
and proven the power of the science of certainty. The science of certainty involves a
scientific method of separating Hard Trends – trends that will happen – from Soft Trends
– trends that might happen. This method is currently being used by many Fortune 500
companies including IBM, Deloitte, and Pratt & Whitney to name a few, to provide an
accurate roadmap of the opportunities that are ahead.
That’s why I’m launching a list of 12 Certainties that will transform every career, and
create new ones. By providing an accurate roadmap for anyone from CEO to sales
superstar to auto mechanic who wishes to increase their personal career relevancy in a
world of transformative change, you now have a new tool you can use to make career and
education decisions with confidence. The list highlights technologies that are here now,
and will continue to transform present and future careers. As you read through the list,
ask yourself how each one will play a key role in your industry and your personal career
1. Mobile Hardware, Software and Services will continue to rapidly evolve
creating many new careers, as all phones become smartphones and our primary
computer and tablets continue to evolve as our laptop replacement. This new level
of mobility will allow any size business to transform how they market, sell,
communicate, collaborate, educate, train, and innovate.
2. Remote Visual Communications will become a primary relationship-building
tool for businesses of all sizes as employees use smartphones, tablets, and laptops,
in combination with current video conferencing systems, to communicate at new
levels with customers, partners, and employees.
3. Social Business Enterprise Management will grow rapidly as organizations
shift from an Information Age “informing” model to a Communication Age
“communicating and engaging” model. New careers will emerge as Social
Software for business rapidly grows with applications to enhance relationships,
collaboration, networking, social validation, and more. Social Search will
increasingly shape careers as marketers, researchers and those on Wall Street
create applications and services to tap into millions of daily tweets and Facebook
conversations, providing real-time analysis of many key consumer metrics.
4. Cyber Security and Forensics careers will grow rapidly as we become
increasingly connected and dependent on computer systems and machines using
intelligent sensors connected to just about everything. Careers in data and
information forensics will grow rapidly as the need to solve cyber crimes
5. Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) will create many new careers in
manufacturing as this revolutionary technology allows any size company to
manufacture quickly, locally and with far fewer costs. Additive manufacturing
builds things by depositing material, typically plastic or metal, layer by layer until
the final product is finished. Examples of final products today include jewelry,
iPhone cases, shoes, car dashboards, parts for jet engines, prosthetic limbs and
6. Gamification of Education will create many new careers as corporations and
educational institutions at all levels accelerate learning by using advanced
simulations and skill-based learning systems that are self-diagnostic, interactive,
game-like, and competitive, all focused on giving the user an immersive
experience thanks to a photo-realistic 3D interface.
7. Cloud Services and Virtualization will be increasingly embraced by businesses
of all sizes, as this represents a major shift in how organizations obtain and
maintain software, hardware, and computing capacity. IT is rapidly becoming an
on-demand service that is rapidly transforming all business processes resulting in
a rapid evolution of current careers as well as creating new careers in every
8. Big Data and Real-Time Analytics describe the technologies and techniques
used to capture and utilize the exponentially increasing streams of data with the
goal of bringing enterprise-wide visibility and insights to make rapid critical
decisions. This new level of data integration and analytics will require many new
skills and cross-functional training in order to take advantage of new
opportunities as well as breakdown the many data and organizational silos that
9. Intelligent ePersonal Assistants using natural language voice commands was
launched with Apple’s Siri, which was rapidly followed by Google, Microsoft,
and others all offering what will become a mobile electronic concierge on your
phone, tablet, and television. The technology will rapidly evolve and soon every
profession from retailers to maintenance workers will have a Siri-like assistant.
Adding an e-personal assistant to support an existing product and/or service will
create many new careers.
10. 3D Web will transform today’s Internet experience (which is like looking at a flat
piece of paper with a few photos, embedded video, and a few hyperlinks) to a true
3D experience, similar to todays video games, where you can virtually walk into a
showroom, look around and both listen to and see the new car you are interested
in, or whatever the website is trying to show you. This will employ many new
graphic artists, designers and programmers.
11. Connected Intelligent Objects using chips, microsensors and both wired and
wireless networks will create a rapidly growing “Internet of things” sharing realtime
data, performing diagnostics, and making remote repairs. Many jobs will be
created as we add intelligent connected sensors to bridges, roads, buildings,
homes and much more. By 2020, there will be well over a billion machines
talking to each other and people will install them.
12. Advanced Robotics and Automation will take a giant leap forward thanks to
networked sensors, artificial intelligence, and Siri-like voice communications,
taking the next level of repetitive jobs from humans. This will create many new
career opportunities from design, programming, and installation to service and
maintenance, to name just a few.
You don’t have to know the physics of a telephone in order to use it. You do have to
know it exists and how to creatively use it to accomplish your goal. Don’t wait until next
year, or the year after, or until you’re laid off. Invest the time to identify what you need to
learn right away so that you will thrive both now and in the future, either in your current
career or a new one