Take a second to consider the employment landscape today. In 2017, we have jobs like UX Designer, Social Media Manager, and even Bug Bounty Hunter (otherwise known as Ethical Hacker).
None of these jobs existed ten years ago. Even four of the five jobs on this list of future STEM careers, published in 2016, are no longer fiction and now exist. (As far as I know, Organ Designers are still not a thing... right?) And according to The New York Times, 65% of current elementary school children will work jobs we haven’t even dreamed of, most of which will be related to technology.
What will those jobs look like, and how can you prepare your youngster to fill such when-science-fiction-becomes-reality careers?
STEM Jobs of the Future
1. Virtual Habitat Designer
Virtual reality is here to stay, and it’s poised to revolutionize dozens of different fields from video games to education. So who’s responsible for creating the virtual worlds we’ll all inhabit 20 years from now? Virtual Habitat Designers. These people will imagine, design, and construct the plains of Africa for study in schools, the intricate valves of the human heart for medical students, the virtual storefront at which you do your shopping, and so much more.
2. Driverless Car Operating System Engineer
We’ve all heard of driverless cars, and whether you can’t wait to relax while your car takes you on a road trip or the idea of giving control of a vehicle to an automated system still gives you the heebie-jeebies, eventually driverless cars will probably be the norm. We’ve already got cars that park themselves and automatically brake for you when they sense an object in the vehicle’s path. Someone is going to have to design the operating systems on which driverless cars run, not to mention the traffic monitoring, emergency response, and delivery systems on which they’ll depend.
3. Sustainable Power Innovator
Trying to halt and hopefully reverse humanity’s effect on the environment is an incredibly vast challenge. Part of that challenge involves discovering and harnessing sustainable sources of energy. The power industry will eventually be redefined by future technologies, and that means plenty of job opportunities that don’t exist now.
Can you imagine what would happen if coal and fossil fuels were no longer our main source of power? Who’s going to design the next incarnation of solar devices? Who’s going to repair them? Who’s going to think outside even the solar box and discover a sustainable source of energy we haven’t considered (like body heat)?
4. 3D Printer Repair Person
Just like virtual reality, 3D printing is sweeping the globe as a technology that can dramatically change many different fields including prosthetics, helping the homeless, and even making space travel safer. Future jobs involving 3D printing will not only include the people designing and making these astounding advancements but the people who are called in to fix the printer when it breaks.
5. Ethical Technology Advocate
A sort of ambassador, an Ethical Technology Advocate will ensure that the robots and artificial intelligence applications of the future coexist peacefully with humanity. Far from trying to avoid a robot uprising, these people will set the moral and ethical rules for how much and how far robots and AI are allowed to progress. They’ll also instruct machines in the nuances of human behavior so interactions between them and humanity are smooth and safe.
Ethical Technology Advocates will need to apply these lessons to humans too, who will undoubtedly need instruction on how to overcome the cultural fear of robot overlords and embrace these artificial beings as helpers.
Ensure Your Child is Ready
The most essential way you can ensure your child is ready to tackle these careers — as well as the dozens of others that don’t exist yet — is to give them a strong foundation of skills beyond what traditional education provides.
Ayah Bdeir, founder of LittleBits (a company specializing in easy-to-use electrical engineering kits for children, kits we use at camp), says the key is invention-based learning. “Teach adaptive skills,” she says. “Give the kids inventions that are relevant to them as prompts, and then they start inventing to learn the underlying principles.”
For example, having children design a catapult with a peer not only teaches them collaboration, adaptability, and how to learn from their mistakes, but also gets them practicing mechanics, robotics, and physics in a practical, project-based way that goes beyond textbooks.
In a country where only one in four schools teaches computer programming, how do you expose your child to such innovative and inventive learning techniques? Summer camp, of course!
Whether you want your child to study virtual reality, coding, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, or any of the dozens of courses we offer, iD Tech can give your child the skills they need to fulfill the unique demands our technological future will bring. With our project-based curriculum, top-notch instructors, and industry-standard tools, a week (or two!) at iD Tech Camps can spark your child’s passions and who knows? Maybe even start them on a path to a career that only they can dream up.