Growing up, it was standard for parents to expect their children to join respected professions like teaching, medicine, law or engineering.
Today such professions, while still very respectable and necessary, are considered very traditional.
Thanks to technology young people all over the world have the benefit of exploring more “unconventional” careers, with the Internet opening up a new array of jobs that were unheard of 10 years ago.
To millennials and digital natives, high speed internet, Artificial Intelligence, smarter smartphones, self-driving cars and drones are a reality that is often difficult to explain to the older generation.
But such is the nature of technology; it changes rapidly and with each change creates new opportunities.
From Uber drivers to Airbnb hosts, here are some of the occupations that did not exist 10 years ago.
These are the guys that create, test and programme applications for computers, phones, and other electronic devices. Without them, users would probably not enjoy the millions of apps available for download that make their lives easier, more convenient and fun. From music, banking, games, food, fashion and communication, to transportation, weather forecasting and health and fitness, , app developers are making it easier for people to perform everyday tasks with ease.
Social media managers
Today, business owners and companies are recognizing the value and benefits of social media marketing – how it drives traffic to their channels, impacts sales of products and services, and boosts their online reputation. Social media managers are tasked with developing and managing content on companies’ social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. They are advocates for the company in social media spaces, engaging audiences and answering questions where necessary.
In recent years, brands have been using influencers – social media users with clout and influencer over their hundreds of thousands or millions of followers – to build reputations and push product.
Though influencers are usually celebrities or famous media personalities, there is a rising trend in the use of micro-influencers, who are neither famous nor followed by millions, but who command loyal following on social media and are able to create and change perceptions about brands.
Digital content creators – Vloggers and Bloggers
These days, anyone could be a blogger or vlogger, but only the exceptionally creative creators of digital content are catching people’s attention with their musings.
What was once considered a hobby has turned into a full-time career, with vloggers and bloggers earning hundreds of thousands of shillings from brands wishing to reach a specific target audience with content developed specifically for them.
From bloggers enticing readers with their musings, to beauty vloggers testing products and sharing makeup routines in their bedrooms and gamers trying out new video games, content creation has become a full time job. Global YouTube stars are now earning millions through sponsorships deals and advertisements.
In fact, they have become so popular that audiences prefer to watch hours of their content on YouTube rather than switch on the television.
Cab hailing services
Taxi drivers have been in existence for years but unlike this new generation of connected drivers, you couldn’t find their location on phone, pay them via mobile money or give them a five star rating.
The likes of Uber, Little and Taxify have become such a big part of city life that it’s hard to remember how tedious it was to get a hold of the regular ‘taxi guy’. Everyone had their favourite taxi driver; now everyone has their favourite taxi-hailing app and is paying considerably less for each trip compared to five years ago.
The market for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) is growing fast, creating jobs for drone operators, a profession that is quickly becoming in vogue. Drones are being used for cinematography and sports photography. They are also being used in healthcare-dropping medical supplies in far flung/unreachable areas. In Kenya, they have become essential in helping to deter poaching by monitoring and researching wildlife.
See that website you love logging into every day as you sip your morning coffee, just before you read the paper or catch up on your emails? It’s a web developer’s job to create that page that you love browsing through. While they are fluent in computer language that may be foreign to us (code), what we see as the end result is a functional and beautifully designed web page that we click away on.
Data Security Experts
There are billions of devices around the world connected to the internet and it’s estimated that we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day. With the chances of losing data or data meltdowns increasing exponentially data security experts have their hands full protecting users’ information from being exposed by hackers and other threats. In the same breath, companies prone to attacks by hackers are employing counter hackers – known as white hat hackers – to anticipate and repel attacks.
Cloud computing specialists
Not long ago, we used to save our data on floppy disks. And if the floppy disks “died” then woe unto you. Now, with high speed internet and better online storage services we are saving our pictures, videos, documents and contacts in the cloud or on computer servers. For this, we can thank cloud computing specialists.
Our society is becoming more tech driven, and with each new technology comes a new opportunity for the early adopters. Today, more than ever before, there is greater room for new jobs for those who are more interested in “unconventional careers.”
The children enrolling in primary school today will probably end up in careers beyond our ability to fathom at the moment, and we’ll be the ones worrying what happened to the good old days of chatting with your Uber driver when taxis are replaced by self-driving cars.
Mail carriers in the postal service industry will soon become redundant as email, Facebook, Twitter and other communication advances completely take over.
Travelers are using the internet to research for vacation spots and book their own flights and this, is gradually suppressing the need for travel traditional agents.
In January, giant online retailer Amazon opened its first supermarket with no checkouts, eliminating the need for tellers or attendants.
Much about the jobs market has changed in the last decade, and with the rate of innovation taking place it’s likely that these changes will take place even more rapidly. In the meantime though, let the digital natives and millennials revel in the confusion they cause while trying to explain what they do to their older relatives. They’ll soon be the ones wondering what their kids do.