The future of artificial intelligence is bright and barrelling straight toward us. The AI market is set to reach $407 billion by 2027—a big leap from 2022’s revenue of $86.9 billion, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets. At the same time, over 75% of consumers are not fully on board. Questions surrounding digital identity protection and whether people’s hard-earned jobs will be replaced by robots remain top of mind.
Shivvy Jervis, one of the globe’s most trusted voices covering human-centered innovation, is no stranger to the intimidation factor AI can conjure. “The vast majority of people aren’t technologists and just want to understand how these tools will actually enhance what they are doing—whether it’s their jobs, their health or protecting their families online,” she explains. Taking an approach rooted in research and evidence, Jervis is an expert at demystifying all these seemingly complex innovations for the mainstream. She places extra emphasis on tools that are both attainable and accessible.
The 4 most in-demand tech jobs of 2024 and beyond
Although it might feel like AI is out to replace us, Jervis asserts that it’s, in fact, the opposite. “The reassuring news is that we will still very much be valued for the skills that come to us naturally as humans and that AI can’t replicate—empathy, motivation, persuasion, intuition,” she notes. When it comes to jobs, Jervis sees these digital advancements augmenting our human intelligence rather than displacing us completely or taking over. From her experience working with brands around the world, most organizations want to keep people in the equation.
Integrating AI into daily operations enables people to do their jobs faster and more creatively.
Having a basic level of digital fluency will become a prerequisite for many roles. When looking forward, Jervis believes that organizations should regularly upskill and rescale their employees. While most roles will involve at least some interaction with AI tools, there are four emerging high demand tech jobs that Jervis foresees being invaluable to the tech industry at large and the skills needed for each.
1. Digital Ethicist
Keeping in mind that all tools are built by people and, therefore, not infallible, there are certain biases built into them that get passed on to the user. Jervis explains that, when it comes to some AI, there are problematic issues around the originality of the content and the intellectual property, and it’s up to a digital ethicist to determine who owns the content when it’s a mix of different original works and whether the content is accurate.
The Ideal Candidate: Someone who is well-versed in AI and has some understanding of the legalities behind technology and AI will be a good fit for this role.
2. Augmented Reality (AR) Communications Professional
Augmented reality is already a part of our everyday lives; we use it to change the background on Zoom or to apply filters on Snapchat. In the workplace, augmented reality can be a compelling learning tool. For example, it’s an effective way for medics and the engineers of the future to train without jeopardizing lives. It also lends well to remote or hybrid work environments. A company might recreate their work campus in the metaverse so that workers can feel like they’re really there—regardless of their physical location. On the more technical side, an AR communications professional might be the one creating visual content for the metaverse.
The Ideal Candidate: AR communications professionals should have some training in immersive reality or, at least, understand the medium. For example, in creating a storyboard, a person with a great imagination or a background in content creation could succeed in this role.
3. Predictive Data Specialist
While data science professionals have been around for many years, Jervis predicts that we’ll begin to see an increase in what she calls “predictive data specialists’’ for organizations and even governments. This is a role that is very analytical-heavy and revolves around making sense of patterns and information and being able to make predictive inferences from there. In short, these specialists are there to almost preempt situations before they become a problem.
Take the field of health care, for example. It’s possible to put a patient’s detailed health information through an AI system and find patterns from the data—things like blood work results, biological markers and symptoms—and make predictions from there.
The Ideal Candidate: This would be someone who’s technically trained on data dashboards and has a very clear background in data science itself.
4. Adaptive AI Specialist
Jervis says the next era of chatbots will be more adaptive and customized to the individual user. Instead of the stilted back-and-forth responses we’re used to, adaptive AI flexes to the very unique needs of the person using it rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. “It’s software that can read our moods, our emotions, how we’re asking something, and understand the situational context of what we’re asking it to do,” she explains.
The Ideal Candidate: Different types of specialists will contribute to building adaptive AI systems, including engineers and experts in languages, psychology and communications.
Necessary skills to land the most in-demand tech jobs
A big shift that Jervis is seeing in the tech industry is a demand for specific skills. “Those who have some understanding of the digital world will be more in demand,” she explains. That said, she stresses that it’s also vital that organizations place equal value on traits that are innately human. “We don’t all need to be digital technologists, but we do need a comfortable level of digital fluency,” Jervis says.
Even as automation is becoming a part of our daily lives, the demand for “soft skills” is surging. Some in-demand soft skills for high demand tech jobs include:
Social intelligence: having emotional intelligence in social situations
Creative and design mindsets: the capability or talent for generating new ideas and innovations
Persuasion and negotiation: skills that require cross-cultural competency, problem-solving and awareness of self and others
Empathy: the ability to understand and care for the well-being of others; integral in building business relationships
Judgment and decision-making: a set of skills that also requires intuition, context and critical thinking
On the more technical side of things, certain “hard skills” will be very valuable for the top tech jobs, such as:
New media literacy: a healthy grasp of new digital and social media tools and services and how they can be applied to grow any type of organization
Forecasting: an ability to anticipate market trends, foresee bottlenecks and map out predicted outcomes
User experience (UX) knowledge: the creative process that goes into making meaningful experiences for users, encompassing all touchpoints of the user’s engagement with an organization
Cognitive load management: the ability to discern which information is most important and learn how not to overload our brain capacity so as to leave space for new learning to “register”
Edge computing expertise: the ability to understand and deploy edge computing (i.e., computing that takes place at, or near, the source of the data, bringing cloud services closer to where it’s needed)
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2024 issue of SUCCESS Magazine. Photo courtesy of Shivvy Jervis.
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