The fourth industrial revolution brings new technologies and new application possibilities for already known technologies. In the Industry 4.0, skills and qualifications will be in demand in all industries that are unknown to us so far.
IT is already ahead of other industries in terms of soft skills. Nevertheless, many IT jobs do not yet exist today that will represent the core of Industry 4.0 in the future.
In this article, we explore seven possible IT jobs of the future that don't even exist yet.
But first, we cover five existing IT jobs that will play a bigger role in the future than they do today.
At the end of the article, you'll learn why it's not enough to create these IT jobs in companies and what you must do instead.
The 5 most important existing IT jobs of the future
Already today, more than 31 billion devices are ready for the Internet of Things (IoT).
However, very few companies are exploiting the potential of IoT.
In the future, every company will benefit from intelligent devices that communicate independently and efficiently with each other on the Internet of Things. You will need experts to design, build and coordinate this structure.
For example, in brick-and-mortar retail, various sensors can measure how customers move through the store. When someone focuses their eyes on a screen, for example, a video can be played. When someone approaches a product, a pleasant scent can be sprayed automatically. The possible applications of IoT are endless.
IoT architects need to continuously educate themselves on the advancements and possible applications of IoT. This training is not only necessary to install new IoT devices, but also to monitor and optimize already installed connections and to avoid a failure of the devices.
Already today, every company uses one or the other AI. This ranges from the evaluation of large amounts of data (big data analytics) to the automated control of marketing campaigns (programmatic advertising) to chatbots in customer service.
In the future, we will use artificial intelligence to optimize and fully automate processes. We will also use artificial intelligence to make better business decisions that are not influenced by our emotions.
AI engineers manage the AI infrastructure and use machine learning algorithms and their understanding of neural networks to develop new models of artificial intelligence.
Big Data Engineers
We are collecting more data than ever before in Industry 4.0. This will require more and more specialists who can handle this amount of data.
The primary task of Big Data engineers is to build and effectively manage an organization's Big Data. They also need to extract results from Big Data and use them to achieve business goals or even develop new products and services.
This means that Big Data engineers must collect, manage and use data to enable profitable business decisions.
IT Security Specialist
Due to technological progress, cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important.
Already in 2018, two out of three German companies were hacked. Nevertheless, cybersecurity is strongly neglected by most companies today. Only when companies become victims of a hacking attack, do they upgrade their cybersecurity.
IT security specialists ensure that all systems and programs are attack-proof at all times and defend against an actual attack. They can also provide cybersecurity training to staff in all areas.
The weakest link in a company's cybersecurity is always its employees. If a wrong email attachment is opened or an unknown USB stick is inserted into a work computer, immense damage can be done.
Therefore, it is important not only to increase security and invest in cybersecurity know-how, but also to minimize human error.
Industry 4.0 technologies and software applications often require high computing and storage power, and not every company can provide this.
Solutions such as cloud computing and cloud storage (computing power and storage space via the Internet), known as cloud for short, are therefore being used more and more frequently. Cloud architects are needed to optimally connect the cloud in the company.
They set up the necessary cloud infrastructure or buy and manage storage space and computing power from a third-party provider.
Most IT jobs of the future do not yet exist
Technological change continues at a brisk pace - Moore's Law sends its regards. No less than a hundred years ago, the majority of the population was still doing manual work in factories or fields. Today, by contrast, we have so-called smart factories with self-optimizing value chains, autonomous robots and 3D printers.
Development is already progressing so fast that an estimated 50% of the knowledge acquired in the first year of a four-year technical degree is already obsolete by the time the student graduates.
Just as 65% of children entering elementary school today will be working in entirely new occupations that do not exist today.
Most of the core skills we surveyed in subject matter experts will change dramatically. In most professions, we will expect to see skills and competencies that are not considered critical to that profession today.
For example, the ability to work with data and make data-based decisions will become increasingly important in many job families as digitization rapidly advances.
Thus, every profession will soon require a basic comprehension of EDP (electronic data processing). An understanding of sensors and the IoT will be required for future networked, intelligent devices in an Internet of Things, while knowledge and professions of analog or little digital installation and maintenance will increasingly fade into the background.
However, Industry 4.0 does not have to be a race between man and machine. Instead of worrying about our job security, we should actively shape this aspect.
It is up to all workers, companies and also the government to adapt to the cooperation of man and machine.
It is now more important than ever for workers to continuously educate themselves and learn new skills.
Employers, too, must look ahead and consider which jobs, unknown today, they will need to fill in the future.
By analyzing technological trends and skills that are increasingly in demand, we can make some predictions about what these future IT jobs might look like.
7 IT jobs of the future (do not exist yet)
Similar to a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility Manager), an Ethics Manager will deal with the company's contribution to society.
Companies and their customers are getting closer and closer through various technologies. Already today, they are constantly in conscious exchange with each other, through social media, email or the website.
And in the future, companies will be able to be even closer to customers. Smart devices will allow companies to collect more data, AI can predict customer actions, and energy-saving technologies will make greener business practices possible.
Ethics managers, with a broad knowledge of these different technologies and the impact on humans, will help companies act ethically.
Big Data, the Cloud, smart devices and IoT - these and other I4.0 technologies enable companies to collect, store and analyze a vast amount of data about their customers. Thanks to this data, powerful monopolies like Google or Facebook have risen. This has led to mistrust among many consumers.
As topics such as fake news and clickbaiting circulate, consumers are sensitized to critically question many things, and mistrust increases once again.
In order for customers to feel secure when providing their personal data, there must of course be trust. In the future, trust officers will be deployed specifically to solve this challenge and build trust.
Personal Data Manager
Vast amounts of personal data are stored about all of us. And smart devices in the wake of the Internet of Things will collect even more data about us.
The smart refrigerator knows what we like to eat. The intelligent water bottle measures how much water we drink every day.The smart coffee maker knows how strong our coffee should be in the morning.
Companies buy this data and thus learn what we do, who we are and who we would like to be.
Personal data managers analyze and decide how and which personal data should be stored and where it should be sold. What brings the greatest return on investment? Which company offers a good complement to our products?
For the ethical concerns of reselling customer data, personal data managers and ethics managers will coordinate.
AI Security Officer
Our machines are getting smarter. They create photos of people that don't exist, program applications, and write both deceptively real and interesting articles.
Soon, artificial intelligences will be able to develop on their own and solve complex problems for us.
But what if something goes wrong during development? Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and other well-known AI experts warned back in 2015 that the development of artificial intelligence must be regulated.
If an error slips into the code of an AI, it can have fatal consequences on all further decisions of the AI. The thought experiment by philosopher Nick Bostrom, which is well-known in the AI world, echoes this, in which a superintelligence turns the entire world, including humans, into a paper clip.
Furthermore, this artificial intelligence can also be deliberately abused by hackers who specialize in this to carry out cyber attacks. Artificial intelligence also adds a whole new dimension to the possibility of so-called "social engineering" (manipulation of the human psyche).
AI security officers must be able to protect companies against attacks from the outside, as well as assess risks in advance during internal development. This may even give rise to two different professions.
I4 Computer Scientist
I4 Computer Scientists will be the interface between project management and machines.
They translate strategies, goals and rules into the language of machines.
Of course, I4 computer scientists also translate the problems and optimization possibilities of the machines for the project managers and executives.
Virtually every job will be affected by advancing automation.
Various software solutions will make work easier for some companies, others will be helped by robots, and still others will be able to solve complex problems through artificial intelligence.
However, this transformation will not happen by itself. First, companies must answer questions such as: What are we automating? Which devices do we allow to communicate with each other? What hardware and software are we using and how are we using it in the course of automation?
Automation specialists will address these very questions and guide a company's ever-evolving automation.
Smart City Planner
In addition to our households becoming smarter all the time, entire cities are being upgraded to so-called smart cities.
At the moment, the smart city project is still in its infancy. Cities are already beginning to be upgraded with full-coverage WLAN. But that is just the beginning.
For example, if all cars are self-driving and shared through carsharing, how will that affect the number of parking spaces in a city? Can I determine which roads are frequently traveled and therefore we need to make them wider by analyzing data from all cell phones? Can buses and trains adopt a flexible schedule?
Smart city planners will need to be familiar with a wide range of technologies and their opportunities as well as threats in the context of an entire city.
Crucial soft skills of an IT professional in the future
As technology advances, physical skills such as physical strength or dexterity are less in demand in today's job market than they were a hundred years ago.
In contrast, demand for the ability to solve complex problems and social skills such as persuasion, emotional intelligence, and teaching others has increased.
In general, cognitive skills (such as creativity and mathematical thinking) and process skills (such as active listening and critical thinking) will be a growing part of the requirements for professionals in many industries.
IT is already several steps ahead of most other industries when it comes to soft skills, as most of these core competencies are already in line with what is expected of an IT professional.
Companies need to transform their organization
In order for companies to take advantage of these new opportunities, they need to focus on talent development and especially on their future HR strategy of IT as well as the other business units. Companies can no longer remain passive and hope for the right IT professionals.
However, it is not enough for companies to search for or promote new IT talent internally. The real problem is that many common strategies of today's companies are not I4.0-ready.
Data analysis will play a central role
We are moving toward a labor market in which cognitive skills are becoming increasingly important. Simple tasks will be taken over by machines, while humans will take care of complex and creative tasks.
The demands on IT professionals are changing rapidly. What is considered standard today will be obsolete tomorrow.
We are already suffering from a shortage of IT specialists. Top talent cannot simply be replaced as needed.
In order to identify emerging occupational groups, likely staff departures and changing qualification requirements at an early stage, data collection and data analysis will play a central role.
Through these analytics, companies will be able to identify talent trends and qualification gaps in the workforce at an early stage. These insights help companies to optimally align their business, innovation and talent management strategies.
Project-based teams are becoming the norm
Thanks to digitization and the acceptance of home offices and remote work, physical boundaries hardly restrict us in the working world anymore.
A German IT specialist can easily work for an American company and vice versa. She delivers her work via the Internet, stores her data in the cloud and participates in meetings via video call.
In the future, companies will be able to find their ideal team for any project anywhere in the world.
Professionals will increasingly work as freelancers and offer their services on online platforms.
The future remains uncertain, but companies do well to monitor the evolution of skill requirements and job trends to identify and connect with the right professionals early.
A combination of job growth and instability in expected skills means that most companies are currently facing major challenges in IT, as well as in recruitment and lack of talent.
In order to avoid a worst-case scenario, i.e. technological change accompanied by a shortage of skilled professionals, mass unemployment and growing inequality, retraining and upskilling the company's own IT professionals is crucial.