The 21st century is now 15% over. For those of us of a certain age, that’s hard to fathom, since we were brought up in a world where “2001” was a movie about a distant future we could scarcely imagine. But if this first part of the century is any indication, its primary attribute will be technology that changes so quickly, it’s hard to keep up.
Ann Lewnes, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Adobe, said the rise of new technologies has affected every industry, even her own.
“The rise of new digital technologies has caused upheaval for many industries and the marketing profession has been in the eye of that storm, too,” she said. “When we surveyed marketers about this recently, they told us they’ve seen more change in the last two years alone than in the last 50. What’s more, 80% said they expect their own job role to change in the next few years.”
Lewnes’ words constitute a stern warning that whatever you do, you’d better be prepared to get with the program, because it could all change tomorrow. That said, what sort of jobs are people going to perform in the coming years? What skills and positions will be most in demand in this young century’s job market?
Online reputation manager
A negative Yelp.com review can destroy a business’ reputation in just a few keystrokes. Katie Bisson of Technology Seed, an IT service provider in Salem, New Hampshire, said that online reputation management will play a key role for businesses for as long as this is the case.
“Current iterations of social media and online review sites make it very simple for one disgruntled customer to damage the reputation of a business,” she said. “The ability to uncover complaints and deal with them professionally will be a valuable tool to protect a corporation’s reputation.”
A leaked e-mail is now all it takes to topple an executive off his or her perch at the top of the corporate totem pole. For this reason, Bisson also said that companies need to defend their data with a dash of biblical, eye-for-an-eye justice. This is where the ethical hacker comes into play.
“Sometimes the best defense for these attacks is a great offense, and going on the offensive against hackers by using their own tools to uncover weaknesses in security before they are exploited might prove to be the most valuable resource in the effort to keep IT secure,” she said.
Mobile applications tester
The mobile app has become an irreplaceable part of our everyday lives in a remarkably short amount of time. Consumers already expect a lot for their 99 cents, and Experitest is here to make sure that every app they test is up to snuff.
"For someone interested in a profession with lots of potential and steady work, a mobile applications tester is a great opportunity,” Experitest CEO Tal Barmeir said. “The possibilities are as vast as the test universe he needs to navigate to guarantee top quality of tomorrow's mobile app."
Director of social marketing
Len Kendall, director of social marketing for the Havas Worldwide Chicago advertising agency, graduated from college 10 years ago. He said that he had no idea that the world of marketing that he walked into back then would change as it much as it has.
“My specific job really didn't exist until 5 years ago, but has quickly become one of the most critical roles for any brand or marketing firm,” he said. “With digital media and social networks, you need to take a single creative concept, chop it into hundreds of versions, and target those specific versions to the right people, at the right time, on the right device.”
Social customer care strategist
Facebook isn’t just a place to find out that your old high school boyfriend is now fat and divorced. It’s also a place where ample opportunity exists for a career in social customer care, according to leadership speaker Karin Hurt.
“With over 1.3 billion active users of Facebook and 500 million tweets going out each day, customers are now demanding companies develop a social customer care function,” she said. “Call centers will lose the tiresome ‘your call is very important to us,’ and service will play out on a very public forum, requiring skilled strategists and empathetic tweeters."
Cloud community advocate
It was not that long ago – like, really not that long ago – that businesses considered the cloud a self-contained place to do business. But according to Keith Craig, PR Manager of the cloud hosting company LInode, virtual companies need actual people to engage its community in real time and on earth.
“To take ‘virtual’ and make it actual demands boots on the ground,” he said. “For LInode, its cloud community advocate is charged to perform outreach and educational tasks... But those efforts are performed through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, online forums and even direct email, most channels of which did not exist 16 years ago.”
3D scanning and printing
The military has been using 3D scanning and printing for a few years now, but its applications have too many possibilities to remain limited to just one field. Jesse Tutt,
founder and president of 3D Scan Experts in Alberta, Canada, sees the technology being incorporated into a multitude of businesses, and already knows of businesses which use it to scan landscapes, clothes and more.
“My company uses cutting edge 3D scanning technology to creates 3D models of real estate so potential buyers or renters can fly through a property from the comfort of their homes, whether their home is in another area, city, state, province or country,” he said.