The job market has changed significantly over the past decade. Today, the scenario keeps changing faster than ever before. There is an industrial revolution bound to happen and new technologies will have a growing and disruptive impact on the employment landscape. In particular, engineers, who are right at the center of this change, will face implications due to the evolving marketplace.
Some of the disruptive technologies that have already had an impact on almost all the industries include machine learning and artificial intelligence, quantum and cloud-based computing, nanofabrication and additive manufacturing, robotics, and advanced automation.
How will automation impact employment?
There has always been a concern about the loss of jobs because of automation, and there is a good reason behind that concern. However, technologies such as these are also expected to open up entirely new fields of study. As such, there will be employment opportunities in fields that haven’t even been conceived yet.
Over the next decade, millions of jobs are likely to disappear completely. Significantly fewer jobs will replace these positions and there will be a requirement for highly skilled workers. In the future, jobs won’t require a large workforce with a limited set of skills. There is a belief that computers can be trained for most things the majority of workers are trained for. In the fields related to engineering, the technical positions are bound to see a lot of changes and will require new candidates from emerging and existing fields.
Importance of uniquely human skills
A lot of the jobs in the future will be in technologies and fields that didn’t even exist until a decade ago. Some of the possible future careers that are beginning to emerge now and are expected to be widely available in the coming decade include technology advocate, autonomous transportation specialist, human-technology integration specialist, and augmented reality developer.
Currently, it is the best time for individuals who have the right set of skills with the right education, as there are tremendous opportunities for such individuals. At the same time, it is the worst time to be someone with ordinary skills as well as education. With basic machine learning and automation starting to become commodities, there will be an immense value for uniquely human skills. Some critical job skills will be in demand for the future job market. Some of these skills are particularly relevant to the technical marketplace, which is why they are relevant for any aspiring engineer as well.
Complex Problem Solving
The core of engineering is to solve problems. One of the most essential tasks an engineer does is finding a problem, breaking it down to understand it and then applying existing knowledge for creating a system, process, or device that solves the problem. That is why problem-solving is the most important skill engineers will need in the future. Engineers learn how to approach and solve different kinds of problems through experience education, including:
- Fixing something broken
- Improving efficiency and performance
- Addressing and examining risk and safety
An engineer with advanced skills in problem skills will be needed to assess the rewards and risks of new technologies and their effect on people, cities, and the environment. Integration of technologies will also result in new, more complex problems that will require complex solutions.
Critical thinking is a skill that needs practice. It involves analyzing a situation or concept to reach a sound, valid, and objective conclusion. Critical thinking needs to be based on facts and not on an individual’s biases, interests, and emotions. Engineers need to be critical thinkers to ensure ethical performance.
Outside the box thinking
In the future, there will be many problems that haven’t even been tackled before. So, how to solve a problem that you haven’t seen or anticipated before? That is why your employability depends so much on how you can evaluate problems and develop quick solutions. If you are capable of thinking outside the box, it is all the more welcoming in the current and future job scenario. Being able to solve problems independently without much direction and supervision makes you valuable to companies.