Living in the age of innovation, digitalization and globalization deciding which career path to take, has been challenging each one of us. The navigation of careers and mapping out the direction is tough, stressful but one of the most important decisions for success and growth as it involves uncertainty, twist and the job market changing at an even a faster rate. Heidi Grant in his article -The Key to Choosing the Right Career, published in Harvard Business Review says that choosing a career path or changing one is for most of us a confusing and anxiety-riddled experience. There are great advancements, growth, expansion, and shift in the job market and one have so many choices through his/her career making one confused and worried which one to choose. In the 4th Industrial Revolution, we are already experiencing the shift from linear and traditional career path to more protein career as people want more career mobility.

“Choosing a career is probably one of the most important decisions most people will ever make. For many, it used to be a straightforward decision – people either had their dream job in mind to start with or searched for the jobs that their level of education could get them at the time.”

Careers of the Future Report – December 2014

UK Commission for Employment and skills

The nature of work and approach to work has been changing at a rapid rate – jobs are reshaped, due to rapid technological advancements – Artificial Intelligence, Digitalization, and Quantum computing etc. and innovation which gives us unprecedented access to knowledge. “The next generation is predicted to have more complex career paths, making it harder still to know what skills they will need to acquire “stated in the Career of Future Report -UK Commission for Employment and Skills development. According to one of the reports we will lose 25 million jobs by 2025 to automation which means the future of jobs will look vastly different from what is right now because the factory worker and physical production have been majorly replaced by machines and robots. Accordingly, to one estimate almost two-thirds of today’s kindergarten students will eventually have occupations that do not exist currently and due to scientific and technological advancement will result in many of tomorrow jobs.

Can we imagine the life that actually existed before the computer, telephone, and internet? Can we think about travel before the Aeroplan and cruises? What about life without car and train? How we lived without the bank and online money transfer? What about education and knowledge without the online learning system? Do we remember what life was like before advance treatment machines for different diseases and well-equipped hospitals? Every occupation existed has gone through a transformation and every occupation existing now will go through changes and transformation in the future due to the technological, cultural, economic, political and environmental change.

The challenges in deciding the right job, are the lack of information and lack of researching a wide variety of career options and matching interest to potential future employment opportunities. Going to university and getting a degree cannot alone get you into future jobs as future jobs will require specialized skills, collaborative work, problem-solving, knowledge creation, and innovation. Through research, internship apprenticeship, conferences, workshops and training one has to scale up his/her skills and learn through practical experience to be ready for the workplace. A recent study shows that an average worker spends 4.4 years in a specific job and millennials only half of that. This choosing a career involves to know and understand what you are good at, what you passionate about, what is your skill set, and find a career that matches your passion and skills, and the most important aspect of it is one must have information about future opportunities, understand and equip self with market needs based skills and see what roles exist in the market, and what potential future these have. One has to acquire new knowledge and update his/her skills to progress in career.

“Disruptive changes to business models will have a profound impact on the employment landscape over the coming years. Many of the major drivers of transformation currently affecting global industries are expected to have a significant impact on jobs, ranging from significant job creation to job displacement, and from heightened labor productivity to widening skills gaps. In many industries and countries, the most in-demand occupations or specialties did not exist 10 or even five years ago, and the pace of change is set to accelerate. By one popular estimate, 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist. In such a rapidly evolving employment landscape, the ability to anticipate and prepare for future skills requirements, job content and the aggregate effect on employment is increasingly critical for businesses, governments, and individuals in order to fully seize the opportunities presented by these trends—and to mitigate undesirable outcomes.”

The Future of Jobs

Global Challenge Insight Report – World Economic Forum

January 2016

Along with all these changes and challenges, there are opportunities to work on getting the right education or imparting the right knowledge, an acquiring new and needed skills by identifying your career choice. The selection of career choice as explained is tough and challenging by the upcoming ways can be used by one to better understand his/herself and identify his/her career that suits his/her passion, skills set and can have potential future. While planning or choosing your career, you can ask and explore the following questions;

  1. What I am most passionate about?
  2. What I love the most?
  3. What is my skill set – skills that I am best in? SWOT Analysis
  4. What is my personality type and what kind of work environment suits my personality?
  5. What kind of lifestyle I am dreaming about?
  6. What are the different career choices available in the job market?
  7. How each career is offered by the job sector?
  8. What skills, knowledge, and experience each career requires?
  9. What changes or transformation is possible in each career and how each one will look in the future?
  10.  How obtainable each career is?
  11.  Do I know anyone who is working in the career I want to pursue so that I take guidance from him/her?
  12.  What career if I choose, I will be happy with and will enjoy the most?
  13.  Am I a job oriented person or want to be an entrepreneur or want to start my own business?
  14.  What do I think what a good career means to me?
  15.  Based upon the previously asked question which career suits me based on my skill set, passion, personality, and lifestyle?
  16.   What specialized knowledge (degree & certification), specialized skills and relevant experience I require for the career I chose?
  17.  What are the different aspects of my personal and professional development that I should improve which will improve my work performance?
  18.  Which specific industry or company and where (same city, another city or another country) to join after my graduation to start with the relevant professional experience?
  19.  What should I be learning along with my job experience that will help me be ready for future work?
  20.  When should I change the company to start with another to excel in career and advance my knowledge, skills, and experience for future and high positions?
  21.  What personal and professional/skill development courses should I attend that will advance my skills and knowledge and will help me be better in my career and have improved work performance?

These critically through light on the most important perspective of choosing the right career while understanding the futures jobs, and choosing a career that has a bright future for you. The future jobs will require abilities – cognitive and physical, Basic skills – content and process skills and cross-functional skills which include the social, system and complex problem-solving skills, resource management and technical skills.  More about the education system of the 21st century requires to equip graduates with knowledge, skills and experiential learning experience so that they are able to withstand these changes, and thrive during the next revolution, and be the leaders of tomorrow. For individuals, one should not only limit oneself to jobs, in fact, one should dream up own for his/her future career, gain knowledge and develop advanced skills and you never know you may be next million-dollar entrepreneur, businessman or businesswoman.