3 Promising STEM Careers in Today’s Technology Revolution
Intelligent robots, self-driving cars, neuro-technological brain enhancements, genetic editing—whether we recognize it or not, technology is evolving exponentially. Called the “Fourth Revolution” by professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, we’re in an era where technology is blurring the lines between physical and digital spheres.
With this in mind, we must ask ourselves: What can we expect from a future that will be largely influenced by and integrated with technology? Below are three emerging STEM careers to consider when mapping out a career plan for the future.
Big Data Analysts
Referred to as the next frontier by the McKinsey Global Institute, businesses around the world are beginning to understand the true value of big data analytics. From pinpointing the needs of customers and protecting against cybersecurity threats to streamlining operations and capitalizing on revenue opportunities, accurate data analysis transforms companies into agile decision-makers.
The role of a big data analyst is to draw meaningful conclusions from large pools of complex datasets. Using these insights, analysts then inform companies on customer and competitor behavior, market trends, security threats and possible system vulnerabilities. Big data analysts typically have strong backgrounds in statistics, modeling and computer science. Nowadays, more universities and coding academies are offering big data analytics degrees and certificates to fulfill the need for skilled experts. Job demand in the big data industry is also promising; according to the Society of Human Resource Management, a staggering 4.4 million data positions will open in 2016.
From assisting search-and-rescue efforts with rapid scanning to monitoring farm crops for pest damage or irrigation problems, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have astounding potential. This is why many industries are embracing the advantages of these machines and exploring new applications for drones.
Given the untapped potential of the field, we’ll need more experts on the ground who know how to develop, program and repair these UAVs. Arguably the most exciting recent development in this field is the update of federal restrictions on UAVs; with loosened regulations, the U.S. can expect to see 100,000 new jobs and an estimated $82 billion economic profit, according to industry estimates.
Virtual Reality Designer
“Oculus Rift,” the virtual reality device once depicted in the movie “Inception,” is a smashing hit for avid gamers. But virtual reality doesn’t stop at gaming; the technology is gaining a foothold in industries like health care, education, military and automotive.
For example, in space exploration, virtual reality is used to help scientists at NASA search for life on other planets and simulate the demands of space on astronauts. With cutting-edge VR technology, scientists are also able to control and maneuver robots on Mars. In NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, researchers use motion-detecting equipment from the Kinect 2 Xbox console and Oculus Rift to build a configuration that may one day be used to control rovers in space exploration.
In the past decade, the technology industry has demonstrated its staying power and versatility, even in wavering economic climates. During the 2008 financial recession, technology jobs were largely untouched and the industry stood resilient. For professionals looking for careers that offer stability and growth opportunities well into the future, these technology career paths are worth consideration.
Kyle Martin brings 11 years of storytelling experience to the content coordinator position at Florida Polytechnic University. In this role, Martin develops original content showcasing the University experience as a way to attract new students and faculty. He also lends editorial direction to University departments launching new projects and campaigns.