The world has changed in the corona pandemic – and not just for the worse. The rapid technological progress in the crisis also offers opportunities for students and young professionals. Our columnist here reveals which ones they are.
All students and young professionals are looking for jobs with a future. Our New Work columnist reveals the areas in which they can be found.
The years 2020 and 2021 will be remembered as the years of the corona pandemic. However, they were and are also a breakthrough time for many technologies. A few days ago we received spectacular panoramic images of Mars, which the NASA rover “Perseverance” took several hundred million kilometers from Earth.
Our world has changed rapidly in the corona pandemic
However, you don’t have to wander far away, even on earth a lot has changed: In more professions than we could ever have imagined, working from the home office using video telephony and clouds has become normal. The use of robots and other automation technologies has accelerated in factories. The global lockdowns have led, as the Israeli historian Yuval Harari recently wrote, that more people today live in a physical and a digital world at the same time in their private lives – and can switch between these two worlds as needed.
Most of the technological breakthroughs are yet to come
Many of the changes will remain and affect our lives in the long term. The developments of the past few months also show that, contrary to the idea that most relevant things have already been invented, many technological breakthroughs are still ahead of us. Young people in particular who are wondering which course to study or which profession they want to take up should now look to the areas in which the next technological breakthroughs can be expected. Because this is where some of the most exciting business models and jobs will be created.
Jobs with a future: You should pay particular attention to these technologies
Future field 1: Living, learning and working from anywhere
Many things that have moved a little further into the digital world in the pandemic will stay there. In addition to location-independent work, there will also be new offers in the areas of learning and health, and thus new job profiles. Distance learning will have completely left the niche and become the norm. It will become more and more common to complete an additional course completely online or to get support from online tutors during your studies.
Medical services will of course continue to have a physical component, but telemedicine offerings will continue to grow and mental and physical health apps will flourish.
Future field 2: Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence was one of the most hyped technologies in recent years. It unfolds its potential all the more the more we live and work in the digital world. Only then does the data arise that make the algorithms smart. In this sense, the months in which we spend much more time than usual at home in front of our displays are a big boost for development in the field of artificial intelligence.
The currently leading systems have great strengths, but also great weaknesses – and will therefore require a lot of human work and wisdom in the coming years in order to function well in our complex world.
Future field 3: data
Do you read an app’s terms and conditions before downloading it? In the vast majority of cases, probably not. We are all moving more and more in the digital sphere and yet mostly do not know what is happening with our data. I believe that we will see many new innovative models of handling data in the years to come.
For example, data trustees who manage our data for us. Or data cooperatives to which people or companies come together. The more our world is being dated through precision agriculture, deliveries by drone or self-driving cars, the more business models and professions there will be that deal with data.
Future field 4: Biotechnology
After just a few months, mankind has managed to find a vaccine against the coronavirus. The fact that this happened so quickly is due to a great stroke of luck: the technology on which the best vaccines are based, including the vaccine from BioNTech in Mainz, was ready for use at exactly the right time after two decades of research.
These so-called mRNA vaccines will still have many applications beyond Corona. The example of mRNA shows the social and economic importance of technological breakthroughs in the field of biotechnology and biomedicine. That makes this field a candidate for the most exciting jobs of the future.
Future field 5: Energy and climate
At least since the USA rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, it has been clear that the world is serious about trying to stop climate change. But that means at least 20 years of restructuring industry, mobility and the way we live and eat. Climate neutrality can only be achieved with a whole series of technological breakthroughs.
Self-driving electric cars for the general public will only be available when new generations of battery technology have been developed. The production of steel or chemicals can only become climate-neutral if it is operated with hydrogen. Massive upheavals are imminent here, and many young people with new ideas will need many young people with new ideas to implement them.
Students and young professionals can look to the future with optimism
For all those who started their studies last year and looked forward to exchanging ideas with fellow students and student parties, the past few months have been depressing at times. At the same time, current developments offer our world every reason to look optimistically into the future: We are currently experiencing everything that is technologically possible. It is not as if the most important inventions were all made by previous generations.
Our world is facing great challenges. Technology, research and entrepreneurship will play a major role in meeting this challenge. Anyone who decides on a degree or a first job today that has one of these solutions on the subject will have an extremely exciting professional life ahead of them.