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Harnessing the opportunities provided by the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Source: Supplied.

With new technologies popping up every day and the advent of the internet, millennials are often at a crossroads when making decisions about a career or school subjects.

With a new set of careers and university courses, millennials can no longer study the same thing that students were pursuing 10 years ago – and the choices are extensive.

The advancement of technology means that more and more ‘traditional careers’ such as postmaster, salespeople, nurses, teachers and firefighters are taking the back seat as computer programming/coding, robotics and nano-science become careers of choice for the future, which millennials can apply across multiple industries.

Sure enough, we will always need doctors, dentists and teachers. But the methods of teaching and practising medicine have changed due to major technological developments.

In her latest survey, Robyn Tichauer has come up with a menu of careers of the future and what millennials can study to get involved in these careers.

Here is a sample of key careers and technologies that will drive the future:

1. Information Technology

Computer Programming (Coding)

There is a shortage of about 30 000 coders in South Africa. The opportunity for students to learn how to code from as early as Grade 8 or 9 is huge.

When your defragmentation works flawlessly! 😂

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Renewable Energy

Whether it is business consulting or working for an organisation that innovates new sustainable methods, this field is only getting bigger with time.

Big data and Storage of Information

The buzz word is Cloud. A career in big data and the storage of information is becoming larger and the need for experts is increasing.

Travel, Tourism and Hospitality

Instead of bookings made via phone calls, all it takes is a few clicks and an online credit card payment. Soon you may even get to choose the layout and design of your hotel room online.

Virtual Reality Space

This new development in technology is up and coming and it may come sooner than we expect. You can now attend virtual concerts – it feels like you’re in the crowd of a huge concert. You can feel the vibe. The only difference is you’re lying on your bed at home without the risk of a stampede.

Online Gaming

WOW, LOL, Call of Duty. These are only a few of the games which connect gamers all across the world. Online Gaming designers need vision and imagination to turn the real life into the virtual, to keep the user engaged, as well as a keen eye for what might be the next big thing in the gaming world.

Blockchain Technology

If you have an interest in the financial world, coding and being a part of something new then Blockchain Technology may be the way forward for you. Think Bitcoin.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” – Don & Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution (2016)

2. Medical and Science fields

The way doctors are performing surgery is changing – they now use robots for simpler, routine surgeries.

Gene/DNA editing

Genetic editing is a new and ethically challenging field. Major developments are going to come in this area with regards to fighting precursors of cancer, diseases and weaknesses in a human’s DNA. Gene editing (or genome editing) is the insertion, deletion or replacement of DNA at a specific site in the genome of an organism or cell. It is usually achieved in the lab using engineered nucleases also known as molecular scissors.

Organ Design

While experimental research into the 3D printing of organs is being conducted, there has been success in using a person’s stem cells to reprogrammed a stem cell to being a specific organ cell. Organ engineering is a discipline that integrates biological knowledge of embryological development, anatomy, physiology, and cellular interactions with enabling technologies including biocompatible biomaterials and biofabrication platforms such as three‐dimensional bioprinting.

Biochemistry

This is also the basis of many science fields. It involves more of the chemistry regarding what goes on inside the body or plant. Biochemistry focuses on processes happening at a molecular level. It focuses on what’s happening inside our cells, studying components like proteins, lipids and organelles. It also looks at how cells communicate with each other, for example during growth or fighting illness. Biochemists need to understand how the structure of a molecule relates to its function, allowing them to predict how molecules will interact.

Neuroscience and Nanotechnology

This field centres around the brain. A lot of research is being put into uncovering the in-depth workings of this organ and will allow potential cures for diseases, mental illnesses and cancer.

Computational Biology

This is basically coding, except you code DNA by understanding the sequencing of genetics.

3. Sustainability and Agriculture

The sustainability movement has only recently started taking huge steps in changing the way things are done in South Africa and the rest of the world.

Building Management

Building Management is where systems are installed in buildings to make them more water and energy efficient.

Technology in Transportation

Affordable, efficient, accessible and environmentally friendly transport systems are central to economic growth and crucial to human life. Careers in the transportation sector are the future.

Agriculture

New methods of farming are always being developed. This is important for food security, raw materials and job creation.

Structural Engineering, Architecture and Green Building Consulting

More eco-friendly buildings are the future. These are among the fastest growing industries in the South African sustainability sector. All you need is basic knowledge of engineering and business management.

Business Management

You can transform any business to integrate sustainability. No matter what you study, you can somehow integrate sustainability.

Robyn’s ultimate advice to millennials: “Take your strengths, whether they lie in maths, science or art, and somehow combine them with new technology. Artists and designers are still, and will always, be necessary. There is simply a shift from hand-drawn images to doing everything with the use of software on a computer.”

Robotics

Robotics is a branch of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electronic engineering and computer science. It deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing.

Industry forecasters predict massive growth and estimate the service robotics market to increase to an annual $66 billion by 2025.

What Degree Can You Get?

MSci Robotics and Intelligent Systems
BEng Mechtronics and Robotic Systems
BSc Artificial Intelligence
BEng Robotics