As a former Boy Scout working on my marksmanship merit badge, I learned that when you want to hit a moving target you have to anticipate where the target will be and then take your shot before the target is in front of you. Today’s job market requires the same mind-set; anticipating where jobs will come from and then positioning yourself to meet the qualifications.
The best example of this strategy can be found in automation as it relates to robots, a rapidly evolving trend in manufacturing, medicine, food service and knowledge-based jobs. Many people continue to look for jobs similar to what they had, however the real opportunities will come from preparing yourself for where new jobs will evolve.
Years ago, 70 percent of U.S. workers lived on farms. Today automation has eliminated 98% percent of their jobs, replacing them with machines. Farmers became web developers, factory production workers and software engineers taking jobs that evolved from work eliminated by automation. This transition to automation is already happening with machines that utilize mass produced sensors, artificial cognition, machine learning and algorithms that anticipate preferences and suggest options.
As manufacturing costs are reduced because of robots, the cost of transportation will become a more important factor than the cost of production, making localized production the next trend in product manufacturing and delivery. Take a look around you and you will see that automation is already shaping a radically new job market.
Consider Kiva. They make robots that scoot around warehouse floors and pick up items from shelves to help fulfill customer orders. Amazon is already a customer, along with Staples, The Gap and Crate and Barrel. Some bots can lift 170 pounds retrieve boxes, sort them, and load them onto trucks. Pharmacies are also using pill-dispensing robots to fill prescriptions. Narrative Science sells software that writes stories about sports events just using game statistics and other applications that can generate a synopsis of a company’s stock performance from related text found on the web. Even surgery is becoming increasingly robotic. In 2008, NYU became the first medical center in New York to use the Da Vinci Si, the world’s most advanced computer-assisted surgical system. Even a non-technical job as a Bartender may be changing. Bartendo is a lightweight and portable machine that can make a perfect drink in 10 seconds and serve 200 drinks in an evening. You can even view reports on a tablet or smart phone of the drinks made and the quantities of ingredients used.
As software makes automation a common reality, many professions will evolve that will open up a strong demand for people who can design, program and work with robots. If this industry interests you, now is the time to explore this market if you want to make yourself more marketable and get a lead on your competition.
Automation is just one of many professions that are evolving as fresh alternatives to re-inventing yourself to be more marketable and offer career-broadening options. Take the time to explore evolving technologies that interest you and then build a bridge to architect a job that will be in demand and offer you new challenges. If you’re a teacher, considering expanding your expertise in on-line learning. If you’re a desktop computer support specialist, look into becoming an expert on mobile phone apps or focus on cloud computing.
The bottom line is: Go after what you WANT, don’t just look for what’s AVAILABLE.
Have a “target career” and then develop yourself to be remarkable in that profession.
Most investors will tell you that anticipating opportunity in the stock market will make you the most money. Invest in your career by looking for opportunities not just jobs.
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