The future promises plenty of outrageous stuff you can spend your money on, from glass-walled jets and amphibious war balls to self-driving 18-wheelers. But that also begs the question: once drones and robots have taken most of our jobs, how the hell will we be earning a living by then? We consulted the Canadian Scholarship Trust Plans' Jobs of 2030 project to see what new and cool careers might crop up over the next two decades. Who knows, if you make a few strategic moves now, you might even end up making it as a professional robot dancer down the road.
Job description: Turn trash into useful products
Required skills: Strong background in science, engineering, and industrial design; interest in garbage
As we inch closer to an earth dotted with mountain range-sized garbage dumps, we'll need to find more sustainable ways to deal with all our waste. Garbage designers (not to be confused with Kanye West) will be charged with coming up with clever methods to upcycle trash on a large scale, and manufacturers of everything from toys to clothes to furniture will hire them to find more efficient ways to use and reuse their byproducts.
Job description: Match people with live-in service robots
Required skills: Basic social worker background plus an extensive knowledge of technology
Once robots take over as maids and in-home caregivers for the elderly or disabled, we're going to need matchmakers around to make sure we buy the right bot for the job. That's where robot counselors step in. Like a car salesmen with a psychology degree, they'll work to pair each customer with the perfect machine by observing how the family interacts with it, and will stick around to troubleshoot should it go full Hal-9000.
Job description: Transform blighted land into lush natural landscapes
Required skills: Agriculture and wildlife management training
As our natural landscapes continue to disappear thanks to overdevelopment, industrial farming and horrifyingly massive cracks in the earth, it'll be important that we enlist a fleet of agricultural experts to bring nature back in the environment's most forsaken areas.
Job description: Help people grow their Bitcoin fortune
Required skills: A degree in financial management and computer security
Whether or not you're on board with Bitcoin yet, digital currencies are on their way up as people trust traditional government-controlled money less and less. To make sure your financial portfolio isn't a disaster down the road, you're going to want to enlist someone schooled in the intricacies of cryptocurrencies to keep things wisely diversified.
Job description: Lead drone-assisted tours of polar wildlife and wilderness
Required skills: Aviation and outdoor survival skills
As the climate continues to warm, seeing the Arctic up close will (unfortunately) be easier than ever. That said, it's going to become a boon for eco-tourism, thanks to drone technology and ultralight aircraft that will replace the ice roads as the easiest mode of transport up North.
Job description: Prevent people from making fools of themselves on the Internet
Required skills: Web and tech savvy
Whether you like it or not, your reputation is only as good as what people can find out about you online. If you're already overwhelmed by perfecting your personal brand via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, imagine how much tougher it will be in 20 years when the social media landscape is even more enormous. Personal web managers will serve as part hacker, publicist, security agent, and guidance counselor to ensure you're protected from cyber attacks and embarrassing blasts from the digital past, all while helping you construct an online image that puffs you up in the best way.
Job description: Perform exoskeleton-assisted dance routines, possibly in zero gravity
Required skills: Smooth moves
Not only are dancers' careers famously short, competitive, and injury-prone, but it's a notoriously tough industry to break into when you don't have much raw talent. However, with the help of exoskeleton technology it'll be easy for anyone to just strap yourself into a pair of robotic legs and cut a rug like a pro.
Job description: Recreate familiar living spaces for the old and infirm
Required skills: Basic interior design skills; a love for history and old people
Rather than expire in some sterile institutional nursing home, the wealthy elders of the future will live in retirement communities inspired by their favorite moments. Nostalgists will be specialized interior designers-cum-therapists whose sole mission is to recreate the type of spaces that conjure their life's greatest memories, whether it's a college frat house, their young family's living room, or a Dave and Buster's.
Job description: Clean up online profiles of the recently deceased
Required skills: Web savvy with a tech background
It used to be that a person's physical possessions were how loved ones remembered you, but now there's an entire digital footprint to contend with once you kick the bucket. That's why hiring a digital memorialist will be as important as planning a funeral when someone passes away. Like the high school buddy you tasked with throwing out all your porn if you died so your mom wouldn't find it, they'll work with surviving loved ones to purge duckface selfies, Facebook rants, and other embarrassing online content to ensure the most respectful and accurate digital portrait lives on.
Job description: Design trippy virtual realities
Required skills: Graphic design and audio engineering
Forget DJs and VJs, the future is all about the MRs, who'll mash up a grab bag of audio and visual media from past and present to create immersive experiences for artists, brands, weddings, schools, and restaurants. Think virtual reality meets nightclub, with a dash of vertigo.
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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. He's curious what former MTV VJ Jesse Camp is up to these days.