Several weeks ago, when I reported on growth occupations for the 2020s, I thought about the potential for new occupations to emerge. Some of us will remember there were no personal computer technicians in 1974 because there were no personal computers. Less than 10 years later, large organizations had desktop computers, and technicians that maintained them. A few of us even had computers at home by 1984.
Similarly, there were no web site designers when, according to the CERN web site, “Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist, invented the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989.” According to one recruiting web site, “The web designer workforce reached a whopping 60,010 in 2020!”
What occupations will emerge before 2030 that either do not exist today, or exist in very small numbers? The two examples of new job categories created in the last half-century are quite technical, so it’s not surprising that two of three examples of future job categories I’ll discuss are also related to technology.
The examples of new occupations I will comment on include;
- Retirement Transition Coach,
- Space Weather Forecaster, and
A word of caution: These three examples are a subjective selection based on personal interests and conversations, rather than statistical projections. The idea is to stimulate thought about your area of expertise, and the new professions you think could emerge in that field.
Let’s start by thinking about an occupation that could grow based on trends we recognize around us. Then, we’ll talk about two job categories that are, perhaps, “out there.”
Retirement Transition Coach
Hal Flantzer, a coach I worked with for several years recently completed a certification course in retirement transition coaching. He knows of only about a “half-dozen” retirement coaches in New York City now, yet millions of baby boomers will be retiring in the next decade. So, the demand for retirement coaching to guide retirees through their planning for active lives could be huge.
A professional service may not be viable, though, unless large numbers of customers will pay providers to do it.
“Yes,” my colleague said. “Baby boomers will pay for retirement coaching.” They have pensions and government benefits.
Another interesting aspect of this job category is that years of advanced training are not needed. A quick Google search confirmed that one can qualify through a 10-week online certificate program.
Our other examples of jobs that could emerge require more technical training.
Space Weather Forecaster
This occupation is worth thinking about although it is “out there” in more ways than one. According to Dr. Pamela Gay of the Planetary Science Institute, speaking on her August 13, 2021 podcast, “now that our entire economy is reliant on the satellites above the Earth, and the power grid on the Earth, we need to be able to forecast when our sun is most likely going to misbehave.” Solar storms and related phenomena disrupt power grids and electronic communications.
This suggests there will be an increased demand for specialists that will predict events which can degrade the performance of our electronic devices, and businesses, and even individuals will pay people to provide forecasts.
Although it looks like space weather forecasters could be in demand during the current decade, it isn’t an easy field to enter. According to Millersville University, a school with a certification program in space weather, it requires expertise in meteorology, earth science, environmental hazards, and other technical fields. A space weather forecaster that teaches at Millersville, and does weekly forecasts on YouTube has a doctorate in physics.
The positive aspect of this challenging skill requirement is that demand could soar as the world becomes more dependent on space-based technologies while the supply of qualified forecasters will probably remain limited.
So, if you are trying to figure out what to do with a degree in mathematics or physics or earth science, a field such as space weather forecasting could be worth investigating.
The study of life on worlds other than Earth is referred to as Astrobiology or Exobiology. A major problem with being an astrobiologist, of course, is that we have not found any life elsewhere. As a result, a chemistry professor, Dr. Lee Cronin described Astrobiology as a “fake discipline” in a YouTube interview. Put another way, this could be a profession that is “least likely to succeed” by 2030.
Nonetheless, some people are passionate about fields such as Astrobiology. They want to know how to be prepared in the event opportunities to work in the area become available.
A biologist I recently spoke with pointed out that research workers looking for life elsewhere use the tools of molecular biology and biochemistry to find molecules and chemical structures in space that are considered possible “bio-signatures,” so these may be the fields to work or study in for the time being.
Certainly, the problem with preparing to work in occupations that don’t exist yet is that, by definition, we do not know what they are. We can only work or study in fields related to those we believe will become “real jobs” during our career.
What occupations or professions do you think will emerge in your area of expertise during the next decade? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.