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Becoming Informed About Tomorrow's Jobs

Posted By Anisa Nanabhay, Digital Communication Specialist, Monday, 27 June 2016
Updated: Thursday, 30 June 2016

It is not often that I make use of content created by others. My excuse for occasionally doing so is to believe that so much good information misses us here. To remain at least partially discreet, I believe that using one article is plagiarism, but combining a few is research. Below is an interesting perspective on the development of future engineering careers, a combined creation of a number of views taken mainly from IEEE USA’s Today’s Engineer, to whom acknowledgement is given, and to some extent a distillation of my own.

At the start of the year, many of us speculate on what the next 365 days will bring, and analyze what impact these speculations might have on our careers and personal lives. No one can predict the future, but those who make the effort to become informed will be more successful than those who do not. The career-savvy individual must scan the world continuously, seeking out information from a variety of sources. Past Today's Engineer articles have dealt with various strategies and techniques for doing this and are available in the Today’s Engineer archives. From information gathering, intuition, history and experience, patterns will emerge that may provide insight into how to manage your life. 

What do futurists see as some of the emerging trends? The ''eco-economy'' will create new career opportunities in technologies, processes and services that are environmentally friendly and economically sustainable. Renewable energy and conservation/recycling projects will be employment growth areas, as will be biotechnology and nanotechnology. In addition, increasing workplace diversity will require all employees to be respectful of other nationalities and cultures. Digitization is evolving rapidly across all functions.

Continuing education will be the norm for all workers and will create additional opportunities for older, part-time learners. Employees will market themselves virtually as individual goods and services providers to employers locally, nationally and internationally, as Internet use and telecommuting options grow. Further, employers will use the Internet as their primary tool to find the most qualified employees, and employees will seek out and apply for jobs on the web. Professionals will blend skills from two or more disciplines to create new professions. Service industries and professional specialty occupations will grow as well. Finally, as health and wellness continue to become more popular, so, too, will career choices in such areas as recreation, nutrition and the design of healthier homes and workplaces. The more knowledgeable you are, the more successful you will become in life and your career.

Hence the importance of the process of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme being required by ECSA here in RSA for our Engineering resources to qualify for on-going registration, recognition and ultimately sustained competence.

Despite the difficulty in making the decision, more people are making significant career changes and in addition are moving jobs more frequently. However, it is possible to make a career change and remain in the wrong career. This happens to those who don't use a good method to manage the change. There are many articles posted on the internet providing processes to guide this.

Engineering degrees are now increasingly being touted as stepping stones to other professions. IEEE-USA Today’s Engineer points out that engineering graduates automatically have a foundation that can be applied to most other professions. Engineering graduates have usable knowledge in mathematics, physics, chemistry, software, humanities, English, speech, social studies, history and economics as well as in engineering, giving them more breadth and depth of knowledge than most other disciplinary educations.

That diversity can help engineering graduates migrate to other professions, such as medicine, law, business management, and computer science.

The current economic recession in SA is threatened to persist as long as we cannot find any growth initiatives to replace the dependence we had on mining and commodities sold in the raw state with little beneficiation. Many of the engineering resources that have developed in that industry and its downstream businesses will be forced to consider new directions.

As engineering as a discipline is probably the most adaptable skill world-wide due to its scientific basis (the rules of science are the same everywhere), so our own Engineers will need to keep up to date and become global. It clearly is now a knowledge world.

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