Why you need to dream a new career, High Schoolers!

It was just like yesterday when I left the corridors of high school for the university — sadly not aware of the ironic realities of the fast-evolving world- that dreaming to become a doctor, lawyer, engineer, Journalist and even a teacher, was never enough. Having good grades was never also enough! Then ask me; what would be enough?

Image source: iAfrica.com

Well, these should be enough:

As a young person in today’s world, there are certain realities you need to be aware of before making a decision about your career or your future. I have taken time to cite a few salient points here, you may read more to update the list:

  1. The changing nature of jobs:

Most of the job roles available now were never in existence 15–20 years back. The growing sophistication of computing power combined with the strength of artificial intelligence and Machine learning is changing the way we study, learn, relax and study. Today we have roles like Machine Learning Engineer, Data Scientist, Front -end developer, SEO Expert, Social Media Manager, Social Media Analyst, Email Marketing Manager and many more.

The World Economic Forum has stated that more than two-thirds of the children starting school currently will end up working in jobs that don’t exist presently. Lifelong learning is a necessity for economic survival; and one thing that works to the benefit of millennials is that a lot of learning is digital now. 

It is believed that 35% of the skills required to succeed in a job today will be different five years from now. This implies that the career you are dreaming of now would eventually become obsolete or less important before you are even out of school.

2. You need to prioritize lifelong learning

It is predicted that machines would take over most routine and manual operations by man. According to a report by Oxford University, some jobs would be completely displaced by robots. Some of these jobs include Data Entry Keyers, Library Technicians, New Accounts Clerks, Telemarketers, Insurance Underwriters, Tax Preparers to mention a few.

The key to staying relevant and being atop is to focus on learning to learn. Alvin Toffler, the famous futurist; said that the illiterates of the twenty-first century are those who have not learnt to read or write, but those who can not learn, unlearn and relearn. This means that we have to keep learning new skills to be ahead and more importantly, to be capable of taking up new jobs.

3. Academic success and classroom knowledge are never enough

A school is a place of learning, but the bulk of the learning you need to succeed in today’s world would be acquired out of the four walls of the school.

Image Source: Pinterest.

By default, most school curricula do not include the teaching of requisite 21st-century skills required for survival in the new industrial era. There is rather much focus on academic excellence — largely arithmetic and literacy competence — whereas, students need technology literacy, data literacy, social and emotional literacy, financial literacy, entrepreneurial literacy and other relevant soft skills.

4. Get Future-proof skills

The previous point stated briefly, some new industry skills required for success in today’s world. These skills are numerous. According to the World Economic Forum, today’s job candidates must be able to collaborate, communicate and solve problems — skills developed mainly through social and emotional learning (SEL). Combined with traditional skills, this social and emotional proficiency will equip students to succeed in the evolving digital economy.

Image: World Economic Forum, New Vision for Education (2015)

Good leadership skills and also curiosity are other very important skills students should learn to be future ready.

The Forum equally share a list of skills that would be required at the workplace in 2020.

We all need to acquire essential social and emotional skills to become relevant in a fast moving and changing world.

5. Internship and Volunteerism

It is believed that one can acquire a great deal of knowledge and experience interning at a reputable organization and/or volunteering for a cause one is very passionate about. What this does for you is that it helps you jumpstart your way to learning some work wisdom that may never be taught in class or any paid course. You learn from accomplished people and you do so with full confidence, you are allowed to make big mistakes which you can easily learn from. As a student, use your holidays to volunteer or intern at any company of choice, there, you can learn important organizational culture and dynamics of working with people and taking key decisions.

To you high schoolers, it is never one size fits all, you have to demonstrate a great thirst for learning new skills and always keep your eyes on the next big thing to happen. The internet is the new university, explore new knowledge and opportunities therein. When you have the right information, then, you can dream, choose and decide a new career.




Posted On: 26 February, 2019