To what extent can your diploma take you? Students like you may be baffled by this question concerning your future. You enter the workforce in search of purpose and success. But is education and the demand for jobs considered a perfect match?
Time has enabled learning to merge with technology. This resulted in innovations like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and software, among others, that spark efficiency, creativity, and productivity. However, there are more technical and practical skills needed by most industries in the near future that are underlooked by institutions. The World Economic Forum hints that “many of tomorrow's jobs will likely result from today's scientific and technological advances, and almost two-thirds of today's kindergarten students will eventually have occupations that don't currently exist.”
This perpetuates the gap between what the “real world” is looking for and skills that students acquire. There is no other way to respond to that change but by adapting. But what will the future careers look like?
Below are the top careers and industry demands that give future-ready students, practitioners, and mentors an edge above the rest.
Mobile Application Developer
Technological breakthroughs are flourishing, and hand-held devices are a manifestation of that. Forbes predicted that “87% sales will be of the connected devices by 2018 will be for smartphones and tablets. These devices are rapidly redefining the market. With the changing technology, mobile app developers need to keep themselves updated with the latest trends.”
Job search companies such as Indeed and the U.S. Labor Statistics Bureau also predicted that that Mobile Application Developer is one of the world's fastest-growing occupations. “The demand for new and innovative mobile apps is growing at an incredible speed. This increased demand translates to one of the largest IT skills gaps ever realized – there are simply more mobile application development job openings than skilled developers to fill them.”
Graphic Designer and Illustrator
A colorful outlook for those who want to pursue a career in graphic illustration and design awaits Game Changers.
According to Rasmussen College, a graphic illustration and design professional “can become an art director for films and animation studios, creative services manager, an information architect, a motion designer, or a user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designer.” Employers also prefer candidates to have a degree in design and illustration as this makes them more legible in the field of design. Not only graduates will stand out but they will also be professionally trained by professors who are also industry practitioners.
The industry “will move beyond screens to physical surfaces and augmented or artificial environments, and designers will occupy more positions where they are directing or consulting on larger and more complex systems of experience. The design is already less visual and more collaborative, and will continue along that trend.”
Psychology and Human Resources Practitioner
There is a growing appreciation for psychologists’ expertise, including the research they do to understand human behavior and the treatment and insights they provide to improve health and well-being. In 2026, specialized psychology and human resources professionals will be needed for choosing and coordinating the best workers.
According to the American Psychological Association, some trends related to the profession include the “growing popularity of psychology as a degree; psychologists standing up for science; zeroing on the costs of unhealthy workplaces; integrated health training on the rise; technology revolutionizing the practice; gender equality and women empowerment, and embracing open science.”
Audio Producer and Engineer
Currently we are separated by physical barriers — big consoles, big speakers, large acoustically designed rooms, outboard racks, patching bays, monitor screens, mice, and keyboards. Tape Op, one of the biggest creative audio and music recording experts, says that “the way we record, edit, mix, and master audio will be transformed entirely from the processes we use today. Within three decades, that wall will all but disappear. Audio engineering will become virtual and immersive.”
From recording, mixing, and mastering audio, life beyond the studio for an audio engineer and audio producer tackles live sound, corporate media technology, animation and motion picture sounds, mixing engineering, post-production specialist, sound design and effects, and audio forensics, among others. But how will students be equipped to secure a better future in Audio Production? According to the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences, “to become a music engineer, one must have learned the entirety of how the Professional Audio Industry works, and have a knowledge-base that extends beyond the sound and science of music. A “complete” knowledge is the most powerful tool you will have obtained upon leaving audio recording school, leaving you prepared for the music world, beyond the limits of a recording studio control room.”
Robotics and Automation Engineers
Things that used to be science fiction are quickly becoming science fact. We may soon live in a total “nerd utopia.” One of the drivers of this change is robotics.
McKinsey&Company agrees that robotics and automation get a lot of attention--in a good way. Wharton University suggests that “work will shift from repetitive tasks to more creative tasks” due to man-made machines that will emerge in the near future.
Based on current technologies (as of 2017), about “half of all economic activities in the U.S. could be automated by 2055 or possibly as early as about 2035. And roughly six out of every 10 occupations are prone to having 30 percent or more of their tasks automated. Anything that involves physical activity in a controlled environment is at the greatest risk of being automated. But many futurists expect robots or intelligent machines to eventually take over an abundance of office and white-collar tasks as well.”
Is your future bright enough to thrive in the next years to come? Which career path would you like to take?