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14 jobs of the future: what degree should you consider?

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The world is changing and changing fast, but what does that mean for your education and career? Find out which jobs are growing and what degrees those jobs need.

Whether you are fresh out of school and considering your degree options or are looking to switch careers, this post is for you. Learn what new jobs will be around for decades to come and which jobs will become extinct soon. This will help you plan your education and training for long-term benefits.

The best jobs of the future

Below you can find 14 of the best jobs of the future. Some of these jobs are already available today, but they are tipped to stay around for decades yet.

#1: Coders 

Coding is fast becoming one of the most sought-after skills for technology companies and between researcher groups. It has caused some European countries to add coding to the primary school curriculum, and here in the UK, one school has even hired a child coding prodigy to teach coding at a school in Coventry. How old do you think the new member of staff is? Well, she’s just ten years old!

There is no doubt that coding is going to pave the way for new jobs in the future. But as it may take some time for those primary school kids to reach the job market, there is an obvious gap that needs filling for the immediate coding market. Reskilling to make this career change can even increase your salary by 38%.

So, if you want to seize an opportunity, now may be the best time ever to get into coding. Start your development by searching for the best online coding courses. Whether you’re interested in learning Python, developing your Java skills, or gaining Django certifications, we have something for you.

There are so many different things you can do with programming, and with our courses, you can try anything that takes your fancy. Perhaps video game design and development or creative machine learning sounds exciting, or maybe building web applications is better suited to you.

#2: Blockchain developer

Most people not familiar with blockchain technology will have still heard about it – usually its association with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The future of finance is definitely going to be heavily influenced by the rise of blockchain technology, and you can learn about decentralised finance or innovations in fintech in our courses. 

However, blockchains are not just used for cryptocurrency. They’re standalone technologies that can be useful across industries. They are already been used in the automotive industry to record the history of vehicles to prevent seller fraud. Nobody will be able to lie about the car’s mileage or maintenance when all this information is recorded on the blockchain and 100% secure.

They have also been tipped to revolutionise the music industry as a way to allocate royalties among artists, songwriters and others who have earned a cut from the creation of a track. This will prevent people from missing out on what is rightfully theirs because buyers can easily check the blockchain to see who has any rights to a song, and then pay them for it. This will hopefully reduce the number of legal battles taking place in the industry.

Overall, the potential of blockchain is massive – and almost every industry will be crying out for blockchain developers in the future. You can gain an introduction to blockchain and DLT or learn about the applications of blockchain in our courses by UCL.

#3: Virtual reality technician

It feels like we have been waiting on the edge of our seats for virtual reality for years. And that’s because we have. Although some forms of VR are available, the technology involved is yet to be perfected. When it does finally become what we all imagine it to be, there will be so many virtual reality jobs in different areas.

From marketing departments to video game developers, virtual reality is going to be a cornerstone moment for the job market and the whole of society. If you want to get started, try our Introduction to Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality course from Lancaster University. If you already have some VR skills, our Construct a Virtual Reality Experience course might be an exciting choice.

#4: Ethical hacker

Ethical hacking is a job in the field of network security that many people do today, but this job is sticking around for the long term. The only way that ethical hackers, otherwise known as white hat hackers, will disappear is if the internet disappears and is replaced with something else. That doesn’t look like a reality in the near future, or ever, meaning ethical hackers are not budging.

If you like the thought of pretending to hack websites to see where improvements can be made, then one of our cyber security courses online may be interesting to you. You can even start with an Introduction to Ethical Hacking from Coventry University and the Institute of Coding.

#5: Big data analyst

Data analysts are going to become the new leaders in the niche of business development. And they are already taking over the department thanks to big data and the ability to analyse huge amounts of information for the benefit of their employers.

Only by looking into streams of data can they make accurate predictions and inform business leaders to make the right decisions. If you like numbers and breaking down complex information into real-life decisions, this is a current job that should bring home the bacon for a lifetime. Check out our data analytics courses, from marketing analytics with the University of Virginia to big data analytics with Griffith University.

#6: Hygiene specialists

We already have medical professionals who are experts on understanding viruses and how to mitigate their spread across society. But after the most recent pandemic which has crushed economies to the point of recession, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see governments invest more in this area.

Hygiene specialists could work with businesses to ensure that they are abiding by the safest practices, and to help identify threats before they spread. The most suitable location for these experts would be docks, airports and other border points. You can learn about food hygiene specialists in our course by the International Culinary Studio.

#7: AI jobs

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is much further along the process compared to virtual reality. With Elon Musk talking of putting chips in peoples’ heads to create superhumans, the possibilities of AI technology really do open your eyes.

But AI is not just about creating a new generation of humans. It can be about making functional robots and enhancing business processes. The developments in AI are almost limitless, which means these types of jobs aren’t going anywhere fast.

From learning about creative AI to exploring medical robots in the healthcare industry or discovering natural language processing, our AI courses will introduce you to the different career possibilities out there.

#8: Data inspector/detective

The laws around data handling and data privacy are growing by the decade. There is so much interest in our personal data because it can be used by marketing teams to help them sell, and by political departments to help them create targeted campaigns.

But on too many occasions our data is falling in the wrong hands and being misused or used illegally. This will create new jobs where detectives have to hunt down the use of data by certain companies, namely a data detective who enforces data laws.

These types of investigations have already started, as evidenced by the investigation into Cambridge Analytica and how they helped swing the USA election and even the Brexit vote, which can be explained by watching the Cambridge Analytica Netflix documentary.

The key takeaway is that more data detective jobs are just around the corner, and you can learn more about data science ethics and data privacy in our course by the University of Michigan.

#9: Gene experts/portfolio managers

Gene editing is a controversial topic because it allows us to somewhat play the role of a god. But away from choosing our newborn’s eye colour or height, there is a medical use for it. With the power to edit genes and use genetic technologies, we will be able to reduce the risks of serious health conditions and vastly improve the quality of life for many people.

But this comes with a number of hurdles and pitfalls that will need to be addressed with legislation. What can we morally do? And what is off the table? Gene legislators will need to come in to get the industry started – and they already are – and then we will need medical experts to alter the genes and manage the whole system.

Although the whole topic can be sensitive, it is undeniably a huge step for mankind. You can learn more about the future of genetics in medicine, how DNA influences health, or how genomic medicine can help diabetes in one of our fantastic genetics courses

 #10: Mental health jobs

Much of society is working hard to reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems, which has opened the door for people to seek help and use professional mental health services. But these mental health worker jobs won’t be going anywhere either. Just as people will always need doctors and nurses, we will continue to need mental health specialists to help us get through tough times.

The recent pandemic, recessions, environmental worries and even a boom in remote working could contribute to further demand for psychologists and mental health organisations. Depending on the area you’re interested in making a difference in, we have courses on a range of mental health topics, from depression, anxiety and CBT to helping students with complex trauma.

#11: Data brokers

Earlier we discussed some new jobs that data will create, and here is another. Just like brokers exist today by helping deals for commodities pass through seamlessly, the broker world will be rocked with a new type of broker – the data broker.

The idea is simple. These data brokers will be responsible for facilitating business agreements between data companies and those who want to buy chunks of data. They will make sure the buyer gets their data and that the selling company receives their money. All the while making sure that the data is not shared further, maintaining the integrity of the new data market.

If you want to learn more about working with data, we have an excellent range of data science, data visualisation, and data analytics courses available.

#12: Augmented reality developer

Did you know that the infamous Pokémon Go game was an April Fool’s Day joke that went on to make an insane amount of money? We’re talking billions.

The reason for its success was because it was completely innovative to the mobile gaming world. Combining a franchise that millennials grew up with and augmented reality was a masterstroke. Augmented reality changed the face of gaming and set a new bar, but it is proving effective in other industries like fashion, where augmented reality wardrobes enable you to try on clothes from home.

The uses for augmented reality are growing and that means there is a new call for developers with expertise in this niche of technology. You can learn more about immersive creative technology like AR in our course by NFTS and Royal Holloway, or try our Introduction to Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality course instead. 

#13: Drone expert/pilot

Drones are becoming more useful and popular by the day. They can help us provide medical supplies safely, assess building structures with ease, and revolutionise delivery services. Drones are becoming part of society’s furniture and are only going to become more present over the next decade.

With that in mind, drone experts will be needed to manufacture these machines, maintain them, and arguably the most fun job of all – fly them. If you want to become a drone engineer or drone pilot, then we have good news for you. Expect to see more of these jobs become widely available across sectors in the not-so-distant future.

It is, however, important to be aware of the challenges and legal restrictions surrounding drone use, which is why our course on drone safety for managers might be useful to you.

#14: Entrepreneur

Don’t forget that society is more entrepreneurial than ever before. Fuelled by the internet and technological advancements, the everyday person now has a better opportunity to start their own business or a small empire. With further tech milestones being met, like those listed above, these opportunities to start your own business are only going to get bigger.

If you have an idea or business dream, there has never been a better time to learn the entrepreneurial ropes and give your idea a chance to succeed. Our extensive list of entrepreneurship courses might inspire you, where you can learn anything from entrepreneurship in the food industry to building a start-up from scratch.

What jobs will not exist in the future?

Many of the jobs of today that will not exist in the coming decades revolve around the retail industry. Amazon has already opened a pioneering cashier-less store where secret technology recognises what you take from the shelves and charges it to your preferred payment type. And Forbes has reported that Amazon is now selling their cashier-less tech to other retailers. This is part of a trend where new technologies and artificial intelligence will replace many jobs.

But it is not just customer-facing roles in retail that are at risk of extinction in the near future. Smart vehicles that drive themselves may make driver jobs – including rail drivers – obsolete. This is a significant worry for governments that may have to contend with higher unemployment rates among low-skilled workers. But simultaneously, the technology involved in replacing these jobs will create thousands if not millions of new jobs that are not even comprehensible right now.

Ultimately, big leaps in technological advancements will create exciting new jobs, but it may even create a huge gap between social classes and tensions that have not yet been seen in society.

So, what degrees should you consider?

There is no question that technology is the driving force behind many of the new jobs in the coming years, and the reason that some jobs will no longer be needed. Subsequently, if you are considering a university degree today, it may be worth considering computer science and technology-related degrees.

This is the logical choice if you would like to concentrate on a degree that leads to good employment and a well-paying career – but it should not stop you from studying something you are passionate about, especially if you want to become an academic researcher in your specified field. Education should make you happy as well as securely employed.

We also offer our own degree programs here at FutureLearn. Whether you’re interested in a Masters in Business Administration, Masters in Cyber Security, or a Graduate Certificate of Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Action we have something that will kickstart your career and prepare you for the future.

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