Information Technology

Jobs of the future

By Cognizant
Information Technology
Published: 16 January 2018

Almost every day, an academic, researcher or technology leader makes a statement that in a world of automation and artificial intelligence (AI), workers will increasingly be surplus to what businesses need. AI is already driving cars, diagnosing patients, and is at the heart of the global financial system. When machines do everything, what work will be left for humans? In new research from Cognizant, 21 jobs of the future, a guide to getting and staying employed over the next 10 years, leaders from Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work use analysis and real-world examples to identify some of the possible types of jobs that will become crucial for companies and society as a whole over the next decade.

The road to 2028
The 21 jobs presented in the report are not science fiction – they are jobs HR departments will have to fill in the next decade. Some are highly technical, such as the master of edge computing, while others, such as the personal memory curator, will not require much in-depth technological knowledge at all. Although some may insist that one day all jobs will be technology jobs, the research paints a different story.

New jobs created over the next decade include:

  • Data Detective: investigating organisational data across a company, generating business answers and recommendations based on examining information from a variety of sources
  • Digital Tailor: visiting retail customers’ homes to perfect the fit and finish of their ecommerce-ordered clothes
  • Personal Memory Curator: helping combat memory loss by creating virtual environments for elderly customers to inhabit
  • Ethical Sourcing Officer: ensuring the allocation of corporate income aligns with the standards set by customers and employees, codified through the corporate ethics board
  • Walker/Talker: acting as a conversational companion to elderly people, connecting with seniors through a platform similar to Uber
  • Master of Edge Computing: defining the IoT roadmap, carefully evaluating the technical requirements and assessing the feasibility for establishing the edge processing unit, whilst measuring the return on investments
  • Cyber City Analyst: ensuring the steady flow of “healthy” data around cities including bio data, citizen data and asset data – making sure all technical and transmission equipment functions without being compromised

A focus on the human touch – the 3Cs
The 21 jobs cited cover a variety of disciplines, markets and technologies; however, they all share three common themes:

  • Coaching: helping people improve when doing certain things (e.g., managing their finances, managing their weight)
  • Caring: improving people’s health and wellness
  • Connecting: man and machine, the physical and the virtual, commerce with ethics and traditional IT as well as shadow IT, where solutions are built and used inside organisations without approval, such as personal smartphones.

These 3Cs show us that no matter how technological our age becomes, ultimately, people want the human touch. We want technology to help us, as a tool, but we do not want technology for technology’s sake.

Euan Davis, European Lead for Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work, explains: “Work and the skills required have always undergone change over the centuries and the jobs in Cognizant’s latest report reflect that technology is a means, not the end.

“The complete list of 21 jobs in this report will form the basis for some – although not all – of the 21 million new jobs we are confident will be created over the next 10 to 15 years. Many of the jobs of the future are the jobs of today. For example, teachers, doctors and policemen are not going anywhere soon but many of their roles will change due to technology available. Jobs from our parents’ generation may in time seem ridiculous to our children.

“Technology will upgrade every aspect of society. We are not facing a cyber dystopia – a grim, dark singularity – rather, a recognisable world in which technology has improved things for humans, not robbed us of what we value most: our very humanity.”

This is an edited extract from “21 jobs of the future, a guide to getting and staying employed over the next 10 years,” by Ben Pring, Robert H.Brown, Euan Davis, Manish Bahl and Michael Cook.