21 Careers for the 21st Century - Student Research Foundation

21 Careers for the 21st Century

Studies conducted by The Student Research Foundation before the Covid-19 epidemic struck showed that many CTE-oriented high school students were thinking about pursuing careers in engineering, computer science, the health sciences, and manufacturing.

We expect that those careers are still of interest to STEM-oriented high school students today. However, it doesn’t take extensive research to observe that the demand for certain professions has increased dramatically in response to the pandemic over the last few months.

In today’s post, we will take a look at careers that have become more in demand, and which could be poised for growth in the months and years ahead.

  1. Learning technology and design. We have rarely seen a time in which learning technology has evolved so dramatically, and in such a short period of time. Colleges and other institutions of learning have quickly discovered the need for skilled course designers and learning strategists who can help develop courses for online delivery. If you have students who are interested in both teaching and technology, this is becoming a career trajectory to consider.
  2. Journalism and reporting. Suddenly, there is a growing need for technology-oriented journalists and reporters who have the skills to articulate and communicate complex trends and data to a non-technical audience. For example, we have recently watched news programs that have covered how vaccines are being developed and tested. If you are teaching students who write well and are interested in medicine or public health, this new kind of technical journalism could be a promising career path for them to pursue.
  3. Scientists who can analyze and communicate how diseases spread around the world are now among the most valued members of the scientific community. The message is, epidemiology is a field in which your students can exert a positive impact on world health in the future.
  4. Transportation specialists and city planners. Concerns about transportation and commuting are suddenly on everyone’s minds. So are issues of planning cities that are safer and less prone to harbor pockets of disease.
  5. Statisticians – People who can gather, analyze, and understand complex data have seen their value increase dramatically over the last few months. The insights they deliver do more than help people understand more than the number of new Covid-19 cases around the world. They slice through data to understand how many people in distinct subsets of people (younger people, older people, people who live in different parts of our country and the world) contract and communicate the disease to others. They aren’t just number-crunchers, they are in the process of saving lives. New opportunities await your students.
  6. Chemists – The demand for chemicals and processes that can be used to clean and disinfect offices, public areas, trains, and other locations could increase dramatically in the future. Your strongest chemistry students could see new careers and opportunities emerge. And as new vaccines are developed, the value of chemists can only increase too.
  7. Architects and building engineers. During the pandemic, for example, we learned that many older buildings harbor disease and allow it to be passed from person to person through air ducts, uncleanable surfaces and other design flaws. We could be entering an age where your students can help the world move from “smart buildings” to “safe buildings.”
  8. Telemedicine developers. More and more consumers of medical care have started to value the option of having virtual telemedicine appointments with their caregivers. Opportunities are growing for professionals in a number of telemedicine professions, including app development and marketing, smartphone communications technologies, computer graphics, and more. If you have students who are oriented to both business and technology, this could be a fertile time to consider telemedicine as a career choice.
  9. All health care and health support professions. It might seem obvious that the demand for physicians, nurses and other highly trained medical professionals will remain strong in the years to come. But it is also true that the demand is growing for trained personnel in other areas that include medical transport, radiology, and testing specialists, and more. Students who are interested in all health care professions – from physicians to physician’s assistants – will take on more importance in the health and future of our country and the world.
  10. Broadcast and theater technicians. More and more performing arts organizations – from community theaters to opera houses and everything in between – are already streaming their performances. And they will continue to do so in the future. That will require specialists who know how to design performances for broadcast, as well as technicians who know how to disseminate those performances over cable TV, online, and other conduits. Students who love performing arts and technology can be encouraged to study theater arts and theater technology in college.
  11. Communications and virtual meeting specialists. Over the last few months, many professionals have been spending more and more time in virtual online meetings. Virtual meetings have not been a temporary craze, they are here to stay. Students who learn the right technical skills could be poised for solid new careers.
  12. Mental health professionals. Many studies, including one recently completed by the NYU Langone Medical Center, have found that levels of stress were increasing dramatically, even before the pandemic struck. Now, even more people are dealing with grief, loss of income, disrupted domestic relationships, and a wide range of other problems. If you have students who are interested in becoming psychologists and other mental health professionals, this could be a good time to encourage them.
  13. Gaming and computer entertainment developers. Many people who were sheltering at home during the pandemic turned to playing computer games. According to Somagnews.com and other companies that monitor the gaming industries, sales of electronic games increased by 11% during the pandemic period alone. If you have students who have good computer skills and who like gaming, the career outlook is good for game developers.
  14. Geneticists and genome analysts. The Digital Health Revolution, a new book written by Kevin Pereau, states that one of the most important health care trends today is the increasing use of individuals’ genetic data in their health care. Armed with an individual patient’s genome, for example, a caregiver can better predict which medicines are most likely to achieve good or negative results, which diseases are most likely to affect a particular patient, and more. It seems certain that the study of genetics will lead to new career options.
  15. AI-oriented computer scientists. Artificial Intelligence that is used in predictive diagnostics (the ability to predict the diseases that a patient is likely to contract, for example) is taking on a greater role in health care today, and this technology seems poised to grow in importance. As an educator, explain the value of studying AI to your students.
  16. Museum and display design and planning. During the pandemic, museums and art galleries around the world have found innovative ways to offer virtual visits to patrons. Still others have been digitizing their collections and putting them online. The entire world of museums is evolving fast, thanks to the challenges posed by the pandemic. We expect to see ongoing growth in the field, which could be attractive to computer-oriented students who are interested in pursuing careers in the fine arts.
  17. Fundraising and development. This is not a CTE-related career path per se, but it is poised for growth because colleges and cultural institutions are developing new strategies for raising funds so they can continue to operate in an environment that has changed dramatically due to Covid-19.
  18. Hospital and eldercare administration. Due to the pandemic, members of the general public have never been more aware of the need for skilled hospital and eldercare administrators. And because of the changing landscape of health care and medicine spurred by the pandemic, the scope of hospital and eldercare administration will probably change dramatically in the near future. In years past, for example, a successful hospital director was one who was able to keep the majority of beds filled in a hospital. Now, success is being judged by a range of new criteria that includes the ability to help members of a community avoid disease (and therefore avoid occupying those beds), of serving a community, and other abilities that appeared not that long ago to be of secondary importance. If you have students who are interested in becoming physicians, you might serve them well by pointing out the growing importance of hospital and health care administration. It is a field that will become more and more important in the years to come.
  19. Crime prevention, forensics, and cybersecurity. Although many people have risen to the challenges of helping other people during the Covid-19 pandemic, the sad fact is that other people have utilized this period to victimize people who were suffering financial setbacks and other problems. Cable news programs and local news sources are carrying more and more reports of phone scams, petty theft, and other crimes. This is a sad truth, but it also offers opportunities for individuals who want to help people who are at risk of being victimized.
  20. Yes, people were studying to be lawyers before the pandemic began. But the range and scope of being a lawyer has just been transformed because of new trends in fields as diverse as real estate, intellectual property, media rights, and much more. If you have students who are already interested in entering prelaw programs in college, it is worth pointing out to them that this is one of the most exciting times ever to do so.
  21. Banking, financial planning and investing. It’s not pleasant to think about the fact that people have died during the pandemic. Other people have become chronically ill. The result is that financial planners have taken on more responsibilities over the last few months. Helping people manage their financial assets is an opportunity to help people who have entered periods of financial uncertainty over the last few months.

Career Assessment Tests Can Help Schools and Educators Match Students to these Growing Professions

One way is to line students up to pursue careers in these growing sectors is to encourage them to take one or more of the free career interest assessment tests that are widely available online. You will also find helpful tests online by searching for terms like “career interest test.”

The world of work has changed during the pandemic. Part of an educator’s job is to help students understand their options and prepare.

We Invite You to Explore Your Career Options with Us. . .

Participate in the National Career & College Pathway Study to gain new insights about making educational decisions that align with your interests, passions, and aptitudes. Participants will receive information on college and career opportunities that match their interests.

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