The year 2020 is not just a new year but it is also a new decade which undoubtedly shapes the imagination of man in the 21st century.
The development of Artificial Intelligence, Human Computer Interaction, Robotics and Software Engineering, Nano-technology, Neuro-Science etc is going to alter the map of human civilisation from science fictions to science facts.
With the emergence of these unprecedented technologies, what is the future of work in the 21st century? What are the best career opportunities for our young generation? Does pursue of white colour job a solution for unemployment amongst the graduates? The work/job in the 21st century is already upon us and it is clearly defined by Technology. This implies that the work or jobs of the future belongs to those who can maximise and explore modern technologies to their advantage.
By the year 2025, which is just about 6 years away from now, a lot of jobs would have been taken over by technology, because the rapid transformation experienced in the world in the last fifty years is six times more than that experienced in the thousands of years of world existence. This means that there are bound to be job losses. But the good news is that, there would be so much more jobs only for those who are prepared for it.
We are already in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Which means that we’ve had three previous revolutions and they are:
1) The mechanized or agricultural revolution.
2) The Electrical or mass production revolution.
3) The internet or Jet age revolution.
4) The Digital Revolution.
The Digital Revolution is characterized and dominated by Robotics, Artificial Intelligence AI, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality VR, Augmented Reality AR etc. These technologies are already prepared to take away jobs and replace them. For instance, Robotics would take care of Admin/paper works, clearing, investment/financial analysis etc. Artificial Intelligence AI would take care of voice recognition, cybersecurity, biometrics etc. Machine learning would efficiently handle data science, predictive analysis etc.
Infact, Larry Page, one of the founders of Google said that AI is the future of Google Search engine. Meaning that Google search engine would simply be taken over by AI. Some of these technologies are already on us. We have seen the Drive through mall in Saudi Arabia, The Uber Air Taxi, Pepper robot by Stanbic IBTC Bank, Alexa on Amazon that has over 3,500 skills & growing, Driverless Taxi, Robotic Waiters, IBTC Sami on Facebook that can help you open your account without battling an eye lid and a whole lots more. They are already in use.
Globalization would be really diverse and fascinating because we would witness a great rise in Freelancing, outsourcing, E-commerce, Teleconferencing (Skype, VR etc). We would also experience an increase in Demography and a change in it as well.
The population of the world by 2050 is expected to hit whooping 9 Billion people. Research has it that those born in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, known as Baby Boomers does not have the kind of immunity and life expectancy like those born in the late 80s, 90s and the millennium children. While life stops and slopes downward for the Baby Boomer generations, who by 60 have to retire, for the millennial children, life just begins for them at 60. Because their life expectancy is placed at 100. It would be so because, the world is working towards low carbon emissions as well as a Green Economy.
These millennial children also have the capacity to redefine things in their own way, not to be constricted within the four walls of either classroom or that of an office.
It is very important to say that young people needs skills and experience for the 21st century and not for/of the Past. Jobs are becoming 70% Automation. Entry level jobs are disappearing. One fact that is worrisome is that 60% of Students are still being trained in Courses that will be radically changed by Automation latest by 2025.
By the year 2025, research has it that people will prefer to work from home and not from the office to avoid hassles, wear and tear. It means there would be flexible work schedule for plenty employees as well as several freelancers who have gotten the skills and needed experience.
30% of current jobs globally would fall away and be in extinction by year 2022 which is just two (2) away from now. This would be as a result of innovations, disruptions and productivity. Innovate or die.
As young people, we must become “Ambidextrous.” You must be able to do more than one thing. Be hungry for much. Don’t just stay put with that old fashioned sentence… “I’m a medical Doctor ” or “I’m a Lawyer”… My response to you is… So what can you do? You must have double digital skills. You must evaluate yourself. Don’t have less than 10 skills minimum because Enterprise skills are the work of the 21st century.
What are the best careers for the future? How will everything change? Is it possible to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow—today? Many of us would like to have definitive answers for these questions. But, of course, nobody can say for sure what the future holds. The best we can do is make a critical analysis based on past and current trends. Still, even critical analysis can help us imagine some pretty astonishing possibilities.
The world will experience social, cultural, economic, environmental and technological changes. Some of these changes can be predicted (like Brain Interface Technology, Hyper Intelligent, Pharmaceutical Artisan).
So predicting the best jobs for the future requires understanding that all kinds of variables will interact in complex and surprising ways. Many of tomorrow’s jobs will likely result from today’s scientific and technological advancement. But most jobs of the future probably don’t exist yet, and a lot of them haven’t even been imagined. In fact, according to one estimate, almost two-thirds of today’s kindergarten students will eventually have occupations that don’t currently exist.
Of course, many of today’s occupations will continue to be part of the future, but they’ll undergo changes just like everything else. And many occupations will transform into something entirely new or disappear altogether. It’s a lot to think about, let alone visualize. After all, many of us have a natural resistance to change and uncertainty. We might feel a little too safe or comfortable with the status quo.
What is the fate of Nigeria and Africa amidst the evolving of these unprecedented technologies? Nigeria has the largest population in Africa, the population of Nigeria is exponentially growing at the rate of 3.2% a year while it is not keeping pace with our departmental rate. The population is expected to double by the year 2050 according to the U.S. Census Bureau; at that rate the population is estimated to reach 400 million people in 2050 which will make it to be the third most populous country in the world. At the same time, Nigeria has the highest number of out of school children in the world which 13.2 million according to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The world is becoming more digitalised, the skill sets for that digitalisation need to be addressed and incorporated into the educational system. This is safest way Nigeria and Africa can march globalisation and at the same time solve the problem of unemployment.
The future of work in the 21st century should guide the courses you would take in the higher institution. If you are a graduate, go back to school either online or on-site and hone your skills. They would be in the following sectors and in this order:
1) Media, Entertainment and Information.
2) Consumer focused.
5) Professional Services.
6) Information Communication Technology ICT.
8) Basic and Infrastructure.
9) Financial Services and Investors.
10) Software 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.
It would be an aberration and self injustice this age to go and study Psychology, Philosophy, History, Banking and Finance, Business Administration etc. Why? Because these courses are already saturated in the Labour Market. Hence, employers are looking for something new. When we have courses like Actuarial Science, Deep Learning, Neural Network etc.
By the year 2025, Creativity skills would be 260% demanded, Presentation skills would be just 110% demanded while Digital Literacy skills would be 680% demanded. Therefore, you need to learn new things. Learn a second languages like Arabic, French, Spanish, German, Mandarin etc. Do take note, that 70% of the jobs of the Future would be Enterprise Skills.
Finally, look for skills that would make people keep knocking on your door, not the one everybody is doing. Stand out!!! Do not react to this article, rather respond to it by taking actions. don’t Learn for the past, rather learn for the future!
Shamsudeen Muhammad is an undergraduate Student of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi.
Department of Mathematical Sciences