Considering as far back to the times when conventional jobs included blacksmithing, Pony Express rider, and scrivener, we realize that over the generations, there has been quite an assortment of occupations now relegated to the history books. Of course, it’s only natural that improved techniques will eventually replace less efficient or accessible ones. One example is the printed newspaper which has been experiencing a time of significant “negative growth” in recent years, due, not surprisingly, to surmounting digital trends.
Early Internet and the Workplace
The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) “internet” began away back in 1983 with ARPANET. It was a system of networks that allowed communication between universities involved in research. It wasn’t until 1992 that “ordinary” people could use it.
Legal wording was changed by Congress and “all of a sudden” (10 years after its invention) regular-folks were permitted to access IBM’s “Internet Backbone”. There were some rudimentary techniques to query databases (cf. ARCHIE, VERONICA, and GOPHER) and request files, but it was fairly complex, and required specialized knowledge.
Late in 1993, the Mosaic team built the first “easy” web browser, which was compatible with Windows™. A year later Netscape began to sell their clever solution. The internet blossomed.
Obtaining Netscape on floppy discs was much more efficient. At 12 megabytes, downloading at 300 baud on a telephone modem was a 5 hour operation which was constantly at risk of being disrupted by someone picking up an extension phone, and it completely tied-up your phone until it was finished.
While the internet has gotten more advanced, ubiquitous, and stunningly fast (that download now takes 10 seconds or 1,900 times faster), it has evolved, spawning new and related jobs and career opportunities. Before the Internet, these jobs simply did not exist.
Let’s explore the top current “internet-created” jobs.
- Web Developer
These are the folks who connect a service provider (as diverse as an Etsy store, a Blog site, or Google), to everyday web browsers. There is hardly a business today that is not “present” on the Internet, and these savvy professionals let companies make an impact.
- Data Miner/ Data Scientist
Learning what information is hidden in your Big Data is the domain of the Data Miner/Scientist. They find previously unrecognized patterns that can influence sales, product development, and marketing strategies. While everybody is collecting Big Data, many companies don’t know what to do with it yet. They need these experts.
- Social Media Manager
These individuals are charged with monitoring, filtering, measuring, and “spinning” the public perception of a company. When a newspaper reports that “Executive Admits to ‘Accidental’ Money Laundering,” it is gone from the public perception in just a few days. Something reported “online” lasts virtually forever, easily researched or recalled. The Social Media Manager seeks to prevent these blunders.
Not everyone understands the complexities of modern electronics, and it’s not necessary. If something goes wrong with your Smartphone, tablet, or laptop you simply take it to a dedicated store or outlet for repairs, while remaining blissfully ignorant of the device’s intricacies. The tech-minded are valued immensely in our modern world, and they form a vital part of our economy.
- Search Engine Optimization Expert
Getting found is a vital part of the modern business model. If people can’t find you online they may not buy your product. SEO experts steer you away from the mistakes of the past with keyword-flooding and calculating techniques that are now rebuked by search engines. They tune your web-presence to maximize your positioning in online search results. You need to reach the whole audience.
- Software Engineer
You can imagine a program which is better, faster, stronger, and more appealing, but it’s up to the Software Engineer to turn it into reality. While a large part of our economy is still manufacturing-based, we are evolving into information-based services where we’re selling automated methods of accomplishing objectives, rather than tangible objects.
- Application Developer
Much like the above, App Developers create solutions that are often predominantly focused on the mobile market. More and more of us are relying on our Smartphones and tablets to accomplish tasks on-the-go. There is little need for a formal office to accomplish a great deal of our day-to-day working tasks. In most cases, Application Developers are the people who provide this ability.
- User Experience (UX) Developer
It’s not enough to simply do a job; you have to do it well. If a website or an application is unnecessarily complex, convoluted, or difficult to navigate, people will use something else. And if they’re not using your customized application or website, they are probably not buying your product. If you do a slipshod job, unfortunately, your competitors will benefit. That’s why the UX Developer plays a vital role.
- Cloud Specialist
Not a weather professional, but rather someone who masterminds, integrates, and organizes your local data and your online data. The need for local private servers is diminishing. Online security is virtually the same, and often better than what you can muster yourself. Cloud Specialists will help you move economically from local servers to Cloud servers. Local servers have an attrition rate; instead of replacing worn out hardware, you simply transition onto the Cloud.
- MOOC Coordinator/Instructor
Paying to send employees to business schools, universities, colleges, night courses, and so on, is an expensive business, and poses a significant burden for your HR department. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are free courses, offered to anyone with internet access. They come from some of the most elite schools in the world. A MOOC Coordinator audits the available courses, making sure they have value for the company, and then manages the delivery of the programs to your employees.
- Blogging For Profit
Anything you can do better than 50 percent of the rest of the population has value. Your parents may have looked at franchises as an opportunity to gain success through an already flourishing establishment. All of the hard work was already done and you just had to follow rules.
Today, a blogger can play a video game and add clever commentary; they can collect obscure video clips and make an amusing compilation video of their own. If they can demonstrate cooking, sewing, music lessons, welding, auto repair or any skill; they can create their own personal niche, and with enough time and perseverance, gain an audience. People flock to watch interesting or curious things. Advertisers, recognizing the fact that 100,000 or a million people per month are looking at this particular blogger, pay them for product placement ads within their videos, or offer them patronage for speaking positively about their product. Some people make thousands of dollars per month, or more. It’s a legitimate job to be interesting.
- Internet Of Things Integrator
More and more frequently, we have intelligent objects becoming part of our daily lives, or “smart” objects form the “Internet of Things” (IoT). Tech-savvy customers can use these smart objects, such as smart cameras, to monitor the comings-and-goings of their dog-walker while they’re on vacation, via their Smartphones. People can view and talk to a delivery person via a smart front door, giving the impression that they’re home, even if they’re still in the office. While some smart objects are relatively easy to navigate, such as the increasingly popular voice activated speakers (Amazon’s “Alexa” or “Echo”), which can provide people with a central running oracle of information there for the asking, other more in-depth systems require a great deal of savvy to properly set up and use. An IoT Integrator is a person who will help people automate their lives, homes, and businesses.
For every traditional job which has been eliminated, technology experts tell us that 2.61 new jobs have been created in its place. The difficulty is that these new jobs are created in a very narrow area of technology. They are often not directly compatible with the jobs which they have replaced.
There are new jobs and new opportunities arising all the time as business continues to evolve. Displaced workers are going to have to make an active effort in order to fit into this new niche. It will require new learning or retraining in most cases, but more importantly, the insight to recognize when your job is likely to be coming to an end so that you can prepare to fit into the new role that will be created.
Pay attention! The future is on its way.
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