Don’t let the CAO torture you – 5 things you can do to future proof your career

A Career to Love


Change is the New Permanent – Future proof your career. 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is in full swing, the worldwide recession is easing and the future looks bright. The very nature of what we do, how we do it and where we do it is changing at the speed of light. Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing, machine learning, the Internet of Things, robotics and biotechnology are each combining to bring new possibilities to our homes, careers, daily lives and our futures. The rapid pace of change that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is bringing suggests that the types of jobs that we work in, the new jobs that available to us and how the work space is transforming means that the employment landscape will change beyond recognition over the next ten years or so. Change is the new permanent!! So when you are making your CAO choices keep in mind some of the following information that we have available to us.

65% of primary school children will work in jobs and careers that have not yet been created. The most in demand careers of the future and specialities within particular careers did not exist 10 years ago and some not even five years ago. Digital freelancers will change how we do work. We don’t have enough skilled workers to fill the number of jobs that will be available in 2020.

The employment landscape is changing at a frantic pace and the pace of that change is set to accelerate. You are the group of students who will drive that accelerated change. It is your skills, research work and blue sky thinking that will ultimately determine what form these careers and jobs will take. You are the power behind the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To fully seize the opportunity that lies ahead of you you must arm yourself with an adequate set of career skills to afford you the opportunities to change, transition, pivot and explore all of the options that are going to be available to you.

Some tips for your CAO:

  1. Keep the big picture in mind: The career spaces that are expected to see significant growth  globally include Architecture & Engineering, Computer & Mathematical, Manufacturing & Production, Business & Finance, Media & Sales and some aspects of Construction & Extraction. 3D printing, robotics, and automated production systems are set to see these industries evolving into highly sophisticated areas where highly skilled engineers, data analysts, business advisors, technical advisors will all be in very strong demand. Areas that are predicted to see the greatest decline are in Office and Administrative roles. These jobs are likely to be replaced by mobile internet and cloud based technology systems.
  2. Don’t chase trends, chase your interests: Choose a course that you are interested in and that you feel you will enjoy. If it happens to be a course in one of the areas of predicted growth super. If not then you need to be very careful. While it is very important to know about and to understand the bigger picture it is vital that you choose a course that will challenge, stimulate and engage you. Keep future employment predictions in mind but do NOT choose a course  solely on this information. If you do there is a very high risk that you will hate your course, possibly drop out and have to face making a more different decision anyway. So choose wisely!
  3. Keep your primary qualification as broad as possible. Choose the course that will afford you the opportunity to explore your area of interest in Year One and to specialise as your progress. In terms of the CAO this means that you should look at the undenominated or general entry qualifications to help you explore your chosen career area e.g. Arts, Business, Science, Engineering, Computer Science etc. Remember that approximately 50% of the technical subject knowledge that you acquire during Year One will be outdated by the time you graduate!! So it is vital that you choose broadly to insure that you can use the transferable skills gained in your qualification to the best of your ability.
  4. Think Skills not jobs: The work space of the future will prize transferable skills and the ability to use these skills adaptively above all else. What does this means for you? Employers want graduates to solve complex problems, analyse the data provided by the Internet of Things, who can work as part of a team, persuade and teach others about technical issues, use ICT to improve literacy and active learning, and to critically think about information in a creative & practical way. In terms of your CAO this means that you should choose what you enjoy, what you like and use the subject knowledge gained during your study to help your potential employers solve, come up with and create new ways of engaging with the world.
  5. Technology and Arts to combine. It is predicted that the potential for employment in STEM related careers remains strong for the future. However an interesting addition to the STEM acronym is the Arts. STEM is now STEAM implying that Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematical skills in combination are in high demand. Purely technical STEM careers are going through change as the internet of things and technological advances means that there is an increasing level of automation in these areas. What is now required is workers with technical skills who have the ability to translate and communicate information in a personable manner. Interpersonal, communication, creativity, technical understanding, logical reasoning and problem solving are part of the core skills set required. In terms of your CAO this means that you should find out what electives from other faculties are available to you through your degree, is there work experience as part of your course, is it possible to take modules from other unrelated subject areas and what postgraduate options are available to you up on graduation.
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