In the past, young people would have answered "teacher", "doctoral" or "nurse" when asked what they wanted to do when they grew up.
As more opportunities became available, there was a shift in the way people responded. Engineers and pilots were now more popular options. However, things have changed in 2021. We've seen a significant shift in the career options for our children, including game developers, content creators, and drone pilots.
Kader Ncube is just 10 years old and has already created his own videogame, programming it from conception until the point where he feels it's "perfect." He hopes to become a game developer. His father taught him coding at the age of eight, and he has been using various design software like CorelDraw and Photoshop since he was able to use a mouse to navigate.
However, it is not just the career consciousness of young people that is changing with the passage of time. Adults are also reimagining their career paths.
Jonson Ncube, a former graphic designer and brand strategist who is now an app developer, said, "When I was in high school, I couldn't have guessed that 17+years later, I would be a developer of mobile apps."
"Programming and Software Engineering are not new jobs, but the introduction of smartphones, mobile apps, and other technologies created a new career path, which I am in today -- an extremely lucrative profession, I might add."
Other lucrative career options have emerged from the development of mobile apps like Instagram and TikTok, though they are sometimes misunderstood.
Sibulelo Manamatela, writer and content creator, explains why it is often misunderstood. "The job title 'influencer' simply refers to what the job is really about. She says that it's more than influencing people to purchase certain products or live a certain lifestyle. The primary job is content creation. "I am basically the editor, copywriter, photographer, and talent for my personal brand. Content is my occupation. 'The influence' exists only because of those who enjoy and receive the content I produce.
Through her content creation, Manamatela has supported major brands such as Lego and Lindt. It is important to see it as building a community. You need to build relationships with people to make your personal brand successful. A niche is also essential for monetization. Brands will find you easily if they know what your community has in common.
"If you love and need certain products, many people in your community will also like them, and that is how brands make sales and get into business with them. You need to find out what your customers like and offer that to them. The final thing is how everything looks! Learn the art and science of aesthetics.
These are the careers of tomorrow? Are digital careers the end of traditional jobs? The fourth industrial revolution has brought new realities to all industries, and the landscape of work is changing rapidly.
According to the World Economic Forum, 75 million jobs could be lost due to structural changes and the adoption of new technologies. It is a frightening thought until it was confirmed that 133-million jobs will be created simultaneously. The key to creating a career path that is irreplaceable and aligned with these technologies seems to be the key.
Nonso Kana is a nuclear scientist and 4IR Commissioner in the Presidency. He says that "The future will be driven by our behavioral patterns, and how we do work." By being proactive and responsive to market needs, companies are now able to extract value from the market.
"The future of work will include more digital-inclined skills and creative thinking, as well as epithetical ways to deal with marketing needs. This includes the gig economy, digitized-entertainment industry, and more Stem professionals with a high aptitude for product development and digital applications development (mobile with AI models)."
Every era seems to have its own career aspirations, with a variety of variables influencing everything from sociopolitics to economics and the advancement of technology.
A time was when Black women, regardless of race, couldn't dream of becoming doctors and Black men couldn't picture themselves as pilots. We have scores of black pilots today and even a reconstruction about what a pilot is.
Sikhumbuzo Nalapo was born in Soweto and currently resides in Northcliff in Johannesburg. Nhlapho, a drone pilot certified by the FAA, works mainly in the film industry. After years of experience as a film editor, Nhlapho bought his first drone in 2017 and enrolled in aviation school.
"Bookings began flooding in as soon as I received my license because the work was in high demand. He says that the job involves a lot of travel, which increased my income to the point where it became my main source of income. "The beauty of it all is that it transcends film. As a drone pilot, I was involved in a court case that saw a family get their land back. This made me realize that it can even make a difference in lives.
Nhlapho's path is something most people wouldn't have imagined a decade ago. But, is this a sustainable career? Kana says that the rise of big data and the multitude of devices connected to the internet has created job security for many data-management professionals. Professionals in aviation can be benefited from new careers like drone operators. Programmers are also entering new industries and bringing new business models into existing ones.
Drone pilots can tap into logistics in the film, mining, and agriculture industries, while software developers are getting into machine learning and artificial intelligence to build models related to fintech, agritech, and telemedicine. These types of careers will continue to be around for a long time."
The digital age is creating new and viable careers as well as transforming traditional career paths. Every job that is lost is replaced by a job that is more rewarding, less repetitive, and, on average, higher-paying. It seems that our job is to accept this change and move along with it.