Career Education for 2021 and Beyond

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Careers will continue to evolve in the years to come as technology exponentially rises in use and sophistication. As a result, the philosophies, methods, and target goals of education will also change. Some jobs or careers that are popular and in-demand today may no longer exist a few years from now.

For example, in the old days, being a pinsetter in a bowling alley was an actual manual job. The introduction of machines in bowling alleys made the pinsetter a distant memory. During the Victorian Age, there were people hired to serve as lamplighters, or those in charge of lighting candles on street poles. The advent of wired electricity and the invention of the light bulb made the lamplighter redundant. Only just a few decades ago, the switchboard operator was an important job in any company or large establishment. Communications technology such as the PBX (Private Branch Exchange) telephone system made those operators a thing of the past.

Jets are Done, Drones Have Come

“The fighter jet era has passed.” These were interesting remarks made by billionaire Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX. His words were shocking since he said them before a packed audience of experienced Air Force pilots and officers during a symposium last March 2020. Musk added that the future of air warfare would involve drones that are either remote-controlled or enabled with Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Aside from the military applications of drone technology, these flying machines are now being studied closely by legal experts and policymakers to address concerns about their potential unlawful use or prohibited applications. Unregulated drones can be used by unscrupulous individuals for voyeurism and other privacy law violations, and worse, as a weaponized flying object that can be detonated via remote control. A less sinister hazard of drones is their unintentional collision with commercial or passenger aircraft. For these reasons, hobbyists and recreational flyers have hired professionals who use laser etching machines to label their drones, which is a strict requirement of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

If what the billionaire genius is saying is right, what will happen to pilots and fighter jets? The cost of basic training for one pilot of an F-16 fighter aircraft is an average of $5.6 Million while each pilot of the more advanced F-22 fighter jet has a training budget of $10.9 Million. Each F22 fighter aircraft costs $339 Million while an F16 jet ranges between $16 Million to $18 Million depending on the variant model. If drones indeed replace these jets and pilots soon, these might be investments that will no longer yield any return for the US military.

Whether by coincidence or not, actor Tom Cruise gave a preview of his upcoming movie “Top Gun: Maverick,” which showed him as an ace fighter pilot trying to evade weaponized drones. Musk must be really on to something.

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For military analysts, the use of drones and Artificial Intelligence greatly reduces the potential of human error and, more importantly, the risk of losing human lives. Only recently, the US military increased its budget for its Space Command, a unified combat force specially organized for military operations in outer space. With this development, the need for non-human military equipment and platforms will steadily increase in the years to come. With that, a major transformation will occur in terms of military doctrines, strategies, personnel development, education, training, and other vital aspects of the organization.

Careers of the Future

Outside the military, new disciplines and careers are also sprouting. In recent months, there has been a great demand for Data Scientists who specialize in the analysis and organization of large amounts of data and other information. They are relied upon to make sense of large bodies of unstructured data that will be useful in many fields. A data scientist is a combination of a mathematician, analyst, statistician, and computer expert.

The goal of mainstreaming the use of renewable energy from the sun and wind will also increase the demand for Solar and Wind Technicians who possess expertise in the manufacturing, use, repair, and upgrading of solar and wind technologies.

It also within the realm of possibility that a career in Outer Space Agriculture is in the offing. Once again, it is Elon Musk who predicted that humans would someday colonize the planet Mars. His company, SpaceX, is all about building rockets and spacecraft. He has plans of being the first company to bring people deeper into space and later assist them in colonizing other planets starting with Mars.

As innovation progresses, education and the types of occupations also need to advance. Other areas of endeavor are slowly changing as technology upgrades, and the human vision is further extended beyond the confines of the Earth.

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