Technology Is Evolving Fast. Is Your Career Future-Proof?

Technology is accelerating at a faster pace this century than ever before. Futurist and Google Engineer Ray Kurzweil famously wrote in 2001: “We won't experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century-it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today's rate).”

14 Jun 2021


5 mins read

Photo by Jack Dong on Unsplash
Technology is accelerating at a faster pace this century than ever before. Futurist and Google Engineer Ray Kurzweil famously wrote in 2001: “We won't experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century-it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today's rate).”

We now see Kurzweil's claim coming true in every field. For example, think of how scientists took 15 years to sequence HIV and 31 days to do the same for SARS. For the 2019 nCoV virus, it took just three days.

Computers have shrunk from the size of a room to the size of your wrist in less than a century. Technology is changing the job market too. Jobs in technology are growing exponentially, and studying an in-demand field like AI (Artificial Intelligence), Information Systems and Cybersecurity can boost your chances of future-proofing your career.

With these rapid technological changes shaping our world, how can you possibly plan for your future career? If there's anything we've learned from 2020, it's that the world as we know it can transform beyond recognition in a matter of months.

That's why it's important to understand where these technologies are taking us, and how businesses and industries are changing as a result.

The business landscape is changing, and so are your job opportunities

Gone are the days when software was restricted to computers in an office. Businesses today are harnessing the power of cloud technology and Software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers for everyday activities such as payroll, inventory, and accounting.

The allure of SaaS is that it's cheaper and easier to use than on-premise software. It can also encourage business growth by automating tasks, improving data-sharing, and integrating with various tools. The adoption of SaaS means that businesses are becoming more reliant on big data. That means they need professionals who can make sense of it all, and identify insights that help business leaders make data-driven decisions.

But as data grows, humans won't be expected to continuously analyse and make predictions based on this information deluge. That's where Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes in. Designed to think like humans, with the ability to learn and problem-solve, AI is able to process data and adapt to new data sets without human assistance.

In fact, most big data processing is done by AI, a field that is estimated to add US$15 trillion to the global economy by 2030, along with fields like robotics and automation. These technologies will touch every aspect of human life-from athletics to agriculture, fashion to finance, medicine to manufacturing.

That's why a qualification in AI from SIM Global Education, specifically machine learning, is highly sought-after, due to its future applicability in any field.

Jobs are being lost-and made-due to automation

Photo by Fitore Fazliu on Unsplash

The number of robots in use worldwide has tripled to 2.25 million over the last 20 years, according to Oxford economics, and is set to hit 20 million in the next decade. Automation can change the job scope of 60% of occupations, and can lead to the loss of 3% of jobs in the next 10 years.

It's not all doom and gloom, though. By 2030, 20 million to 50 million jobs could be created globally, focusing on the development and deployment of new IT services. In other words, automation could actually lead to more work, as higher productivity could allow businesses to make more products or focus on offering higher-value services.

Case in point: a study of job ads in 2018 found that AI created three times as many jobs as it replaced that year. This was because AI improved productivity and enabled small and medium businesses to expand.

So how can you make sure your career is future-proof? Aside from technical skills, you'll need to hone these skills during your time in university:
  • The ability to constantly learn
  • An entrepreneurial mindset
  • Creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Interpersonal skills, such as engagement, empathy, teamwork, and

These are human attributes that will be difficult-though not impossible-for AI to emulate. They'll also help you navigate career changes and industry disruptions in the future.

AI: the next dotcom?

AI isn't without its detractors, though. Unprecedented interest by venture capitalists and governments has caused AI to grow exponentially, leading some to believe it may only be a matter of time before the “bubble bursts” akin to the dotcom bubble of the 1990s. There are claims that AI's recent rapid growth has caused people to have unrealistic expectations of AI's potential, and that the technology sector is on the verge of collapse.

But fret not-much of the alarmism around AI is unfounded. According to analysts, today's organisations are larger, more robust, and more likely to survive a “burst bubble” than predecessors. AI is projected to stimulate the growth of sectors such as cybersecurity, finance, and manufacturing by US$24 billion by 2023.

Bottom line: AI is an inevitable part of our future. Whatever line of work you end up in, you'll most likely be interacting with some form of machine learning and AI.

Career options in tech

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Machine Learning Engineer and Data Scientist are just some of the top tech careers of the future. According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, nearly 100,000 jobs in business analytics are set to be created between 2019 and 2029. Software development is more than triple that number, with more than 300,000 jobs opening up between 2019 and 2029.

But you can expect jobs to become more specialised. For example, you may want to zoom in on big data or take up data science and business analytics. You can apply these courses to any other field you're interested in-say finance, gaming, shopping, culinary arts, and more.

A degree in any subject shows employers that you have the fortitude and expertise to be well-versed in a specific area. As tech careers become more specialised, companies will continue seeking candidates with at least an accredited tertiary qualification.

To explore your options for future-proof a tech career, check out SIM Global Education's IT courses from University of London, University of Wollongong, as well as University of Warwick.

Posted online, 14 Jun 2021