Whether you are a school leaver or are looking for a career change, it helps to know that your options are growing by the day.
As our world changes, each year brings with it a collection of new career paths to follow, all of which fulfil a specific need.
The working climate is changing all the time.
There are job titles on the market today that meant nothing last year; similarly, there are new professions on the horizon that will serve purposes we aren’t even aware of yet.
This can be daunting, but it can also be exciting; especially for those with the foresight to prepare for these developing professions; most of which require some understanding of digital skills to be able to do.
So, to help you make the leap towards your next big adventure, let’s discuss a few of the most in-demand professions for 2020.
Before we do, however, let’s take a moment to speak about the roles that digital skills will play in these specialised roles.
Digital Skills in a Changing World
The professional world is getting more and more digital-centric by the day, and there can be no doubt as to the importance that digital prowess plays to a number of existing professions.
But as our world gets more specialised, these skills need to be refined.
Fields like big-data, research into artificial intelligence, marketing, privacy and even law are already dependant on a sound understanding of how the various fields of digital work; making their related skills essential for anyone looking to build a future for themselves in our information-rich age.
Of course, the term ‘digital skills’ is a fairly loose one that describes a lot of different practices, some of which are highly specialised and unrelated.
Digital skills could simply describe:
- an aptitude for information technology management
- graphic design
- software and mobile application development
- web design
- managing security and privacy
- working with digital law
- social media marketing
- search engine optimisation
- virtual and augmented reality development
- artificial intelligence development and research
These skills represent just the tip of the iceberg for the modern job market, and they are being expanded on all the time.
With this in mind, it is easy to see that almost all areas of business require some understanding of the digital world.
The professions that we will discuss next, those that will be most popular moving forward from 2020, are no different:
Application & Software Developers
There is a constant growth in the need for software and application developers, particularly in South Africa. This has become all the more prevalent thanks to a lack of skills in our local market.
The thing that keeps the market open for developers is that these skills are highly specialised, with different developers understanding different approaches and coding languages; some of which are more sought after than others.
At its core, this profession is an essential component of the modern working world, with apps and software moving away from the realm of usefulness, into that of being essential.
Businesses that use software to properly manage their processes need custom software to do this; those looking to get better interaction from their prospective clients, or to add more value to their services, often do this through a mobile application developed specifically for these needs.
In 2020, the field of application and software development is expected to grow at a rate of about 31%, which means that developers are about to become in high demand.
Building these skills is important for anyone engaging in these industries, even if they are not developing themselves, but are rather managing the teams that are doing it.
Database Architects & Data Analysists
Database architecture and analysis is not the most glamorous of tasks, but they are utterly essential for corporate success in the modern world.
This is also somewhat of an umbrella term that describes the handling and translation of raw data into usable information, for a range of needs.
Databases need to be built:
- to make the software work properly
- to understand the behaviour of consumers
- to predict and control traffic
- to start new businesses
- to refine marketing approaches
- for a range of engineering tasks
These are just a few of the essential tasks handled by those who specialise in database architecture.
Because of the growing importance placed on these professions, as well as a severe shortage in skilled personnel, interest in these industries can be expected to grow by about 34% in the coming year.
Information Security Analysts
Information security is becoming ever more important in the modern age. The online world is filled with opportunities for people to steal data, personal information and content. When a successful heist occurs, the losses can be in excess of millions of dollars.
Then there are also the implications of compromised data. Newsfeeds over the past few years have proven this time and time again.
Think about the Ashley Madison leak in July 2015 that exposed the extramarital affairs of some 30 million people all over the world; many of which were notable politicians and CEOs of massive corporations.
The implications of these leaks were substantial, with many of Ashley Madison’s users having their personal lives ruined. This cost Ashley Madison a total of $576 million in class-action lawsuits.
This is just one example out of hundreds that prove the importance of information security as a specialised profession.
It is also one that requires a keen understanding of digital processes to improve online security, to protect both users and companies from outside attacks.
Sales & Marketing
Sales and marketing are both age-old professions that have both adapted beautifully with the times.
Having said that, they both fit squarely into the realm of digital in the modern age. Every time you read an online article like this one, visit a website, click an ad on Facebook, skip those ads on YouTube or Google the location of a nearby restaurant; someone’s efforts in digital marketing are paying off.
By 2020 there will be an estimated 2 billion internet users worldwide who are giving more of their attention to online content than they are to billboards, TV ads or radio ads; which speaks for itself in terms of the demand for skilled digital marketers.
Being a digital marketer means specialising in one or a few of the following fields:
- Website and mobile app development
- Graphic design
- Online content creation
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Email marketing
- YouTube Video Production
- Social Media Marketing
Market Research Analysts
The abovementioned digital marketing skills work best when marketers have informative insights into the people, they are marketing for.
Understanding consumer behaviour, how they react to advertising, what their desires, interests and pain-points are, are all essential parts of planning a marketing campaign of any type.
Because of this, marketing analysists will hold some of the most valued skills in 2020 as we see an increase in demand for these professionals by about 41%.
Market research analysists don’t simply look at who they are marketing to, however. They also assist businesses with developing products that genuinely meet the needs of consumers.
Besides an understanding of consumer psychology, these professionals need to be able to listen to what consumers are saying, understand what they are feeling, know what type of content they are engaging with, and how their needs can be met effectively.
This requires them to have solid social listening and market research skills, both of which are reliant on a solid base of digital skills.
Digital Law Attorneys
Technology, for the most part, is developing more quickly than society can keep up with it.
This presents a bit of a challenge for the legal side of digital.
How does copyright infringement work, especially in the case of memes?
What constitutes as an invasion or breach of privacy?
What kind of online content is considered unlawful, misleading or dangerous?
These are but a few of the key concerns that need to be looked at by those who specialise in digital law.
This, of course, requires a legal background that can only be obtained from law school; but it also requires a keen understanding of the processes, ethics and skills that make up a variety of digital industries.
It is also important to remember that policies and laws change from country to country and state to state, which makes the profession all the more complex.
Because of this, and the importance of the role played by legal practitioners who specialise in digital cannot be understated, forcing an increase in demand for these skills.
Artificial Intelligence Researcher
Artificial intelligence makes incredible strides in its development each year, and it still has a long way to go.
There is an incredible shortage of artificial intelligence experts all over the world which poses a problem for us in two ways.
Firstly, the road to a general-purpose AI is a long and difficult one with many hurdles and breakthroughs that can only be successfully accomplished with the right people behind the research and development processes.
While strides are being made all the time, they can only be done through a sound understanding of the digital world, our place in it, and how AI can help us improve things.
The second concern for AI development is based on ethics and best practices. It is widely acknowledged that AI could pose the single most devastating threat to humanity as we know it, which means that the road forward must be navigated with exceptional care and foresight since mistakes could be devastating to the human race as a whole.
This means that we need experts with a sound understanding of the implications of each development in AI technology and how to avoid the pitfalls of creating an intelligence that outstrips the capabilities of even the smartest humans.
We are, admittedly, a long way off from becoming batteries for a race of robot overlords; but it is never too early to start trying to avoid it.
A Few Honorary Mentions
Not all of us are cut out, or even interested in becoming world-leading AI experts, practitioners of digital law or big-data gurus.
Still, the digital realm has birthed a number of ways to help people find alternative ways of making a living, or better yet, building a successful career.
The Digital Nomad
Digital nomads are those freelancers who make the most out of the power of the digital industry. There is no one skill that is attributed to this profession, but rather a way of working.
Digital Nomads often work with digital materials, across digital media, to be able to get more flexibility in their lives.
This includes being able to work remotely over online freelancing platforms and mail while travelling, taking advantage of flexible working hours, or even making a secondary income by working online.
Digital nomads are most commonly associated with the digital marketing industry and so generally hold the skills described above.
Whether streaming video gameplay on platforms like Twitch or making niche YouTube videos, people from all over the world are finding fun ways to monetise their interests.
We are living in the age of the streamer, where amateur content creators are making a killing doing what they love.
What is it that sets the successful streamers apart from the others? Apart from sheer dedication, their understanding of how to leverage these media through carefully honed digital skills is what makes the difference.
Contact the RCM School of Excellence Digital College to Grow your Skills
Engaging with the opportunities offered by the digital world is an excellent way to build a future for yourself in an ever-changing professional world. Of course, to make the most of these opportunities, you will need a carefully crafted set of digital skills.
If you would like to know more about how we here at the RCM School of Excellence Digital College can build these skills with you, speak to us about our range of online, part-time and full-time digital marketing courses, or visit our website today for details.