Last year, non-profit research firm Institute for the Future, released a report exploring the role of emerging technologies in society and work.
The report, which was created in partnership with Dell, examined robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality, augmented reality, and cloud computing. It looked at the effect that these technologies will have on society by 2030.
Among the report’s major predictions was that "85% of the jobs that today’s learners will be doing in 2030 haven’t been invented yet".
Overall, the report, titled The Next Era of Human/Machine Partnerships, suggests that by 2030 “every organization will be a technology organization and as such businesses need to start thinking today about how to future-proof their infrastructure and workforce”.
Predictions like these are sure to give many businesses pause as they signal a monumental shift on the horizon in just a little over a decade.
According to Dell’s 2016 Digital Transformation Index, 45% of business leaders fear they might become obsolete in three to five years. A whopping 78% say they feel threatened by digital startups. And almost half of the respondents said they don’t know what their industry will look like in three years.
Education is the key to alleviating much of the angst businesses are feeling as a result of the looming digital revolution. If the Dell report is right, and today's learners will soon be doing jobs that haven’t even been created yet, institutions of higher education must begin adapting their curriculum to provide students with the tools to meet the expectations of these jobs.
This means building programs that focus on emerging technologies like those outlined in the Dell report, but it also means identifying growing industries and developing programs to help students take advantage of jobs in those industries and those still to come.
Let's now explore three ways in which schools are preparing students for jobs of the future. These educational institutions are breaking the mold and creating new models for training workers of the future. They’re giving students the tools to compete by identifying emerging markets and quickly shifting to fill a need.
Blockchain technology rose to fame thanks to the once booming cryptocurrency market. Last year digital currencies like Bitcoin were making headlines left and right as many began investing in what then seemed like a lucrative endeavor. Since then the market has cooled, but blockchain, the tech behind cryptocurrencies has maintained its upward momentum as other industries have begun adopting the innovation.
Furthermore, while blockchain jobs still represent less than one percent of software development jobs, job postings requiring blockchain skills increased by 200% in the first five months of 2018.
Recognizing the value of this technology, blockchain courses have been emerging on college campuses this fall. New York University, Georgetown and Stanford are among the those offering blockchain classes, while others like Columbia University began implementing blockchain curriculum a few years ago.
U.C. Berkeley also offers an online blockchain certification course which has so far enrolled more than 13,000 people worldwide.
Photonics is a kind of technology involving the transfer of photons. It’s the technology behind fiber optics, the innovation responsible for bringing a new kind of cable and internet into homes around the country.
The technology is also used in CT scans at hospitals, barcodes in grocery stores and even laser-guided missiles, as well as a number of evolving industries.
A 2017 report by photonics company POET Technologies predicted innovations in photonic integrated circuit technology will prompt industry growth to more than $100 billion by 2025.
In 2016, AIM Photonics created an academy to educate the current and future workforce in integrated photonics. AIM Photonics Academy, is one of 14 public-private manufacturing innovation institutes created as part of a federal initiative to revitalize American manufacturing. The federal government committed $110 million to the institute over five years.
A 2013 report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs.
Among these jobs are software engineers who create the applications most people use on a daily basis. A 2016 report by Burning Glass Technologies found that there were as many as seven million job openings in 2015 that required coding skills.
There are thousands of different coding languages, more emerging everyday, and no way to know which ones will be on top a decade from now. But any mastery of this field starts with a basic knowledge of how to code.
This explains why the soon to open Code Stack Academy in Stockton, California, is offering a new kind of software engineering program. The accelerated nine-month program features a hands on approach and is one of several similar programs that have popped up around the country in recent years.
Photo by Good Free Photos on Unsplash.