Beware Fluff “Professions” Of Tomorrow
Fluff digital “skills” if you can even call them that have been around forever. The perfect example of one is social media (this is why certification is absurd and masters programs make even less sense). By itself social is not a skill, merely a meta layer for expression and collaboration talented individuals have used organically since the web existed.
Social is a “skill” in the same sense being on conference calls is a skill or sending an email is a skill.
So the general rule of thumb is this: anyone heavily emphasizing or marketing themselves as experts in something simply because it is “new” are snake oil salesman. Plain and simple. It takes time to cultivate an understanding of a given sector and while certainly there is rapid acceleration in given areas due to technology, those at the edge are the cause of that acceleration. Anyone playing catch-up has to try and use buzzwords, self-proclaimed titles or FUD to appear more important than they are.
Some even try to use Potemkin numbers to shroud themselves in legitimacy but those with real talent don’t hawk something because it’s a buzzword. They don’t need to.
So when I saw Danny Brown (who I genuinely like) post a list of 20 “jobs of the future” I was compelled to read. I expected to see jobs such as data scientist which are already undeserved. Instead I saw professions such as this:
The above isn’t really a “problem” that’s difficult to solve, nearly anyone smart enough to afford such a thing would have their digital / physical life organized already. Also there is no information overload, just filter failure. We’ve already reached infinite, infinite + 1 is no different. Also there continues to be software which does this for you – no humans necessary. And we’ve seen what happens when a profession is replaced by software: this is simply not a defensible area.
There already exists software and services for this today, it is hardly a “job of the future.”
Did you get your PhD? No? Don’t worry. You can simply brand yourself as a “digital detox therapist” and you’ll be more than qualified to provide life council. Nevermind that treating Internet addiction is treating a symptom, not a cause of an illness. So basically as effective as masking the symptoms of any real disorder. Because the Internet is somehow too complicated for already qualified psychotherapists to understand anyhow: we need new people with no research background and fancy titles.
“Pivot professional?” Did they really just say this? I’m not sure if that is worse than than buzzword rich “Cultural Skill Sherpa.” Let us know how that works out for you. Prediction: brands that need to hire “Cultural Skill Sherpas” are probably already done for.
Speaking of buzzwords …as if anyone took people who call themselves “Growth Hackers” seriously today, we’re now apparently due for a future with people calling themselves “hackschooling counselors.” Bonus points to the first reader who finds us one of these people making real money in the wild. Although maybe with Universities this clueless these might exist.
Just one more for this thread…
Another that isn’t some kind of magical future job …entrepreneurial people already make money off memes today like Ben Huh, platforms like Reddit / Imgur benefit from them, and sites like Quickmeme make it easy to create and ship. Aggregate or be aggregated is where the ‘value’ from memes is derived and knowing several people who are memes personally it’s laughable to think for most of them there is some sort of business model here. Merchandising, sure but this sort of awareness is a proxy to revenue. If you attempt to assert IP rights associated with a meme as this suggests you’d inspire the ire of the web. Yeah you could cash in at a company to be used in their ads but you don’t need a middle man for this. Why give your money away? The web, used correctly, removes the middle men.
In a world where programming is the new literacy, fluff skills simply aren’t valuable. Everyone has them. They’re not difficult or meaty problems to solve (as opposed to something like being a software engineer). You need to carve out a skill set not easily duplicated by software or one that involves more creativity than just common sense.
I was excited when I saw this story title to see some valuable, well-researched future skills. The market demand in several sectors is growing rapidly and it’s clear future professions are emerging. But let’s not pass around fluff professions as the future and persuade anyone away from developing a skill set with lasting economic value.