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Tomorrow's jobs: A glimpse into our future career prospects

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Electing what career path you want to follow is a difficult task that haunts and challenges us all, with two thirds of university students (37%) expressing concern about finding a job after their degree.

But according to a new report by Microsoft, there may be some cool new career ventures to pursue in the years to come; ventures that have yet to even be invented. Of the future jobs thought up and predicted by Microsoft Surface and the Future Laboratory, there were a few titles that caught our eye, either for being insanely cool or mind-bogglingly weird...

Virtual Habitat Designer

Clearly, the current worldwide phenomenon that is Pokémon Go is only the beginning of our obsession with virtual reality. It’s one thing to design an app that throws cute little creatures into our world, but what if we could alter our surroundings, Inception-style and walk into a world entirely different from our own? The title of ‘Virtual Habitat Designer’ certainly sounds like something that involves the artistic twisting of dimensions and creation of luscious Avatar-like scenery purposely designed to remove us even further from reality.

Semi-startlingly, that assumption is pretty dead on. According to Microsoft, tens of millions of us will spend hours each day working and learning in virtual reality environments by the year 2025. A VHD will design and create these worlds: “These designers will be the superstar pioneers of the industry, leaving behind game design and joining product teams to create exciting new entertainment, work and learning environments,” according to Dave Miller, a recruiter at Artefact.

Digital Cultural Commentator

This sounds like the dream job for graduates of the Twitter generation. Surely, it’s what we all do anyway on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr... only paid and professional.

According to Microsoft, in ten years’ time visual communication will dominate social media. This is already apparent with Instagram, which is set to grow 15% in 2016, compared to just 3% for the wider social network sector. Workers who can master this shared language of imagery will be much sought after as communicators to mass audiences by businesses and art institutions. DCC’s will effectively communicate entire stories through an image alone. GIFs are the future – you heard it here first.

via GIPHY

Space Tour Guide

This one’s pretty self-explanatory... and also, really bloody cool to boot. For what feels like years, Richard Branson has been harping on about his plans for Virgin Galactic, which aims to launch a Space Shuttle service for wannabe moonwalkers and tourists to enjoy. One huge step up from cabin crew, this is like the dream travel job. “And to your right, you can see the Earth’s orbit...”

According to Microsoft’s report, Earth orbit will become the new frontier for adventurous travellers by 2025. And a whole new category of jobs will come about to make the space journeys safe and enjoyable. They will apparently use their knowledge to construct visits to the more interesting parts of Earth’s orbit.

via GIPHY

Human Body Designer

Upon first glance, the term ‘Human Body Designer’ sounds terrifying. Bringing horrific Human Centipede-like images to mind, this is a job title that really does pose a lot of questions. What is a body designer? In the same vein as designer babies, are we going to go even down the line of ethically challenging concepts by creating ‘perfect’ beings, free from flaws and imperfections?

Well actually, no. Despite its sinister connotations, a Human Body Designer will do a lot of good in the world of healthcare. Engineering advances will extend the average lifespan as the growth of replacement tissues and organs becomes an everyday and affordable proposition. HBDs will use bio-engineering know-how to create a huge range of customised human limbs – both fashionable and functional.  

Freelance Biohacker

Again, the term ‘freelance biohacker’ does have a somewhat ominous ring to it; like a mix of Mr Robot and Breaking Bad. But contrary to our wild imaginations, this is another job that could do a lot of good in the future.

Science has been a closed shop dominated by professional teams working in university and corporate research and development departments for many decades – but the rise of open source software platforms will apparently democratise this sector, with citizen scientists taking the reins back. Open-source gene editing tool CRISPR is already allowing thousands of scientists around the world to collaborate on searching for vital treatments to aid Depression, Schizophrenia, Autism and Alzheimer’s. Stars of this world will emerge, careers will be born and hopefully, a few lives will be made just that little bit better.

Based on extensive research and in-depth interviews with leading technologists, academics, industry commentators and analysts, the Tomorrow’s Jobs report has been conducted by The Future Laboratory for Microsoft Surface.

The full report, including a series of videos that explore each job, can be found here.

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