When you think of the robot apocalypse, usually the last thing on your mind is how safe your job is. But the future is fast approaching, and the real robot takeover is the increasing amount of automation in many careers.
It’s happened before, from the industrial revolution of 18th century Europe to software replacing many tasks in various industries in the last few decades.
Robots are smarter than ever now, and are ever closer to being able to do jobs that require actual intelligence rather than just making repetitive tasks effortless. Don’t despair though – while it’s thought by some that robots may cause unemployment to rise, if you get into the right industry now, you can expect a prosperous future. There are a variety of tips and tricks you can employ, and careers you can move into, to help you stay ahead of the game.
Weathering the Storm
Two thirds of CEOs say that the availability of skilled workers is a high priority for their organization in the coming years, and transferable skills like creativity and problem solving are key. Training those skills is incredibly important: like upgrading software is the maintenance of robotic and computer technology, skills training and education is the maintenance of humans. So if you want to stay one step ahead of the robots, investing in your own education and training – and making sure that your current and future employers are investing in you – is crucial.
One way to do this is with online technology courses, which can quickly bring you up to speed with the latest skills that employers are demanding. If you want to keep your job and show that you can out think the robots, at least in the short term, then brushing up your skills to the point of excellence should be your first priority. However, it’s also worth thinking about the medium to long term, as the robots march inexorably onward, so along with the skills that employers are demanding now, you should be thinking about the kinds of careers that will be the most robust in the face of the robot revolution.
Hard (or Soft) Wearing
So what kinds of examples of jobs should you be thinking about? What you need to prioritize is the kind of employment that won’t be so easily taken over by machines. Job roles that are expected to still be in high demand are in areas where people are needed to develop and service technology, as well as roles that require a great deal of creative thought and interpersonal skills. Computing, engineering, science, skilled management, arts and media, law, education, healthcare and financial services positions are likely to be the safest jobs. We’re going to focus on engineering, whether it is hardware or software, as the maintenance, repair and programming of robots will become an increasingly important necessity:
If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you might consider being a robotics technician. Robots will always break down or need to be serviced, and until the advent of specialized repair bots they will need humans to fix them. You’ll be dealing with heavy steel components, and you might benefit from cross training from trades such as pipe fitters, machinists and electricians.
Another possibility in this vein is the electromechanics technician. You would specialize more in the application of electronics to robotics, rather than the more physical work of the robotics technician. Your hands would still probably be a little greasy at the end of the day, though.
Going a little further toward the electronics side of things, an electronics technician focuses more on the circuits and digital electronics required to make robots run correctly. This is lighter, more delicate work and in this case your hands should be clean at the end of the day.
Finally there is a job as a PLC Programmer at the other end of the chain from the robotics technician. PLC stands for Programmable Logic Controllers: working entirely in software, your role would be to test and debug the code that would be implemented in the robot’s systems, and you would pretty much be working at a desk.
So no matter how soon the job crunch comes, it’s good to be prepared and there are many opportunities available. Just make sure the advance of the robots doesn’t take you by surprise.