10 futuristic career paths to look out for

  • 27 Jan - 02 Feb, 2018
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Spotlight

We are always told to future-proof our career, but what does it actually mean? If you are looking for a job switch, you may want to consider one of these.


You know when you’re really focused on a piece of work and totally in the zone? There’ll be a pill for that, Limitless-style – and an entire industry to go with it. “It’s what we call ‘getting into the low’,” says David Woods of London Futurists. “And there’ll be drugs to get to that state more quickly.” And anyone with a psychological or pharmaceutical background is going to want to brush up on these.


As long as there have been legs, there have been fake legs. But mind-controlled ‘smart’ prosthetics are set to become common. “There will be a rise in the number of implantable devices, which will help us to navigate the world and better understand our biology.” says Professor Andy Miah, chair in Science Communication and Future Media at the University of Salford. “Skills to help people adjust to these devices will become crucial.” So physical disabilities will be managed very differently in 2027.


With 5.8 million cyber crimes a year and Facebook and Twitter incidents reported every 45 minutes, lawyers dealing with these will be a hot commodity. Rupinder Bains is the MD of internet law firm Pinder Reaux & Associates in London. “We’ve taken on many bullying and trolling cases,” she says, “and have recently succeeded in forcing Facebook to disclose details of the bullies. We were the first firm to do this, which shows the importance of social media lawyers.”


Unless you’re Donald Trump, you’ll accept that climate change is a threat. Currently, the focus is on preventing further damage, but soon we’ll have to look at reversing it altogether. A report by Fast Future, The Shape Of Jobs To Come, says a “new breed of engineer-scientists… need to apply multi-disciplinary solutions, such as erecting giant umbrellas to deflect the sun’s rays.” Reversal specialist will need to rebuild ecosystems such as rainforests and ocean beds, too.


In 2014, Amazon snapped up Twitch – which live-streams gaming – for US$ 970 million. Professor Miah says, “As eSports rise, so do the prize money and the number of events.” In 2016, the League of Legends World Championship had a prize pool of over £3.7 million. “Players are signed to world clubs, and traditional spots are looking to eSports for the next generation of athletes.” Turns out all those hours spent playing Crash Bandicoot didn’t go to waste.


With global water shortages inevitable – it’s predicted southern Africa alone will see a 15 per cent decline in wheat by 2030 – the genetically modified market is about to explode. Enter the pharmer, who uses both tech and agricultural know-how to raise carefully engineered crops and livestock to improve harvest. “Crops may also be grown with beneficial chemicals – think ‘cancer curing’ sunflowers,” says futurist Rohit Talwar. We’ll also see a boom in vertical farming.”


The days of automated ‘I didn’t catch that?’ responses are dwindling, and working with sophisticated AI, the English students of today could be the personality writers of tomorrow. That means devising complex responses and lifelike character profiles – your AI could be Natasha from Ubud who loves hiking and Ed Sheeran. “Robots could, say, distinguish between a real and fake smile, or whether someone is stressed because they’re tired or lying,” adds Woods.


‘Time banks’ isn’t a concept from a sci-fi novel. Time banking assumes time is more valuable than money, so if you ‘deposit’ an hour-say, by helping an elderly person in the community – you earn a ‘time credit’, with which you can ‘buy’ an hour of someone else’s time. “Time-banking already exists (visit Timebanking.org), but ‘time broker’ will become a serious profession as time credits become real currency,” says Talwar.


By 2030, over-65s will make up 12 per cent of the world’s population; in 2015 it was just 8.5 per cent. So the demand for elderly-care specialists will soar, along with complex supplements and memory-enhancing drugs, according to ‘The Shape Of Jobs To Come’. An “old-age wellness manager” will, it says, bridge clients’ needs for medical care, housing, transport, skills development, social care and more.