By show of hands how many of us have parents who have no idea what we do for a living, hahahaha! My hand is up by the way!
So, After Matric I took a gap year to figure myself out. At the end of that year I wanted another year OFF. My mom obviously gave me 'the look', that "sit down and get your life together look". I'm sure a lot of us moms are familiar with that look cause we now give the same look to our own kids, right?! Lol.
After deliberating with my sister for a little bit we came up with IT as what I would be studying the following year at CPUT.
I told my mom, and as someone who had very worked most of her life to ensure we were provided for, she asked, will it get you a job when you're done, I gave a very confident Yes even though I was not sure, she said Good you better apply early and make sure you get into that course. She had no clue what it was about or what doors exactly it would open for me. And it was fine really because she had done her part and it was now my time to do my part and make her proud. I eventually ended up in the Business Intelligence field, by chance, and it was happily ever after both in terms of me enjoying my job, in fact Love it! and it's a good paying field.
When I look back in hind sight, I can't help but think, what if I was wrong about it. What if my sister and I had actually gotten it wrong?! Would my life had been as smooth in terms of my career growth and development and personal fulfillment as well as money to feed myself , because let's be honest I went to school to get an education that would unlock financial opportunities for me so that I can get out of the township poverty cycle that I grew up in. I also love being a woman in Tech is this age of technology. I love the balance in financial and personal that I get with working in Business Intelligence & Big Data. I often find myself thinking what can I do as a parent to help my kids get the same, do I know enough to help them when the time is right. The advantage we have as 21st century moms is that information and exposure are at our finger tips so our kids don't have to play the guessing game. We have the opportunity to influence them from a point of knowledge. Ultimately the decision is theirs but as parents the same way we teach them good values and principles and how to pray we have a responsibility to teach them about the workplace and economic landscape they are going into as well.
Disclaimer: There will be a lot of tech talk in this post and maybe that may be seen as bias. But just know that it is coming from a place of positive conviction by observation , knowledge and research.
Before we go far I'd like to mention that for me personally, I must say that Entrepreneurship is at the top. It can never be stressed enough how important it is to cultivate an entrepreneurship mindset in our kids while they are still young. A mindset of wealth creation through invention and self-starting instead of a consumer mindset. To teach them the importance of empire building as a truly prosperous alternative. My mother was a business woman but it was only later in life that I decided to use that part of her DNA that has always been within me. Our kids don't have to stall and wait though, but only if we are intentional in training them young.
OK! Back to careers of the future. Information Communication Technology is at the top when it comes to Careers of the future. Our children will need at least a basic understanding of computer science no matter their career. Developing this interest early on will prepare them and allow them to keep up with an advancing world and even in their OWN businesses they will need at least basic ICT understanding. Technology is the essence and main characteristic of the 4th Industrial revolution that is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres, collectively referred to as cyber-physical systems. We are already in the 4th industrial revolution by the way, think about robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, The Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, 3D printing and autonomous vehicles. So how rapidly will technology have grown in their time. Our parents lived with house phones and yellow pages address books, then came the cellphone, then the smart phone, now we have super smart phones that have bio-metric (eg. Face and fingerprint) recognition capabilities and google can tell you what you ate before you got to work! This is just a one modest example.
Many of us can remember when the internet became popular, when we got introduced to dotcom and the same us now lives in a world where google can tell you who you are, who your friends are, whats your favorite color and what you were doing this time last year and the year before. My point here moms is that technology is no longer nice to have knowledge for our children. They need it for the world we are living in and the direction that world is moving towards. Many jobs have already and are currently being replaced by technology, for many reasons, having tech skills even at a low level will future proof our children. I appreciate that not all of them will be software developers or be good at coding, no. But think about an industry that does not utilize technology to advance their processes nowa days. If you are an engineer, your work will most likely reside in a computer system of some sort. You're an accounting professional, there's a system for that. You are an actress, you can't make it to Johannesburg from Cape Town for an audition, you better have a digital file of some sort to send ahead of you, else someone might get there before you. You are an IT professional? heck there is a system for that too! I am not suggesting that everyone be an IT expert, but there is a sea of digital and ICT related unconventional careers that are being created out there based on need and our kids are going to come home and tell us about them, or we are going to notice interests and talents in our children that point in that direction but will we know how to channel them, will we know where to send them to or even how to nurture those talents. I hope that we would have taken the time to understand them so we can advise them well. Today someone is getting paid well for being a digital strategist for a company or they have started a company doing that for other people, few years ago that didn't exist. What about influerncers (a form of marketing, a paying one) isn't that whole movement based on online visibility and web app functionality? There is a new wide space suddenly open for photographers but that also needs good editing knowledge and abilities on a ICT system!
I think this post becomes most important for me especially when it comes to the part of human jobs being replaced by systems i.e. robots and Artificial Intelligence and consequently humans being redundant. It's a taboo subject for us humans, we deem it an invasion of some sort. Rightfully so because to an extent it's bread off or tables but I think it is reason enough for us to apply ourselves to the subject, perhaps then we will realize that those robots are actually also built by humans, they are a job opportunity for some humans, a good paying job at that. What then are we doing to ensure that our kids survive this Industrial Revolution and are not left behind. I say prepare them and expose them. encourage them accordingly. There are organization offering IT training to kids as young as 3.
So moms, in light of what is happening in the conventional work place I hope that we can be prepared enough and knowledgable to equip our own children for the future unconventional work place. I hope this post sensitizes us to be an alert and tech savvy generation of Moms.
Here are some examples of tech careers that have emerged and are promising to expand exponentially beyond 2020 in no particular order:
> Data Scientist
>Machine learning designer, developer, or engineer
>Mobile App Developer
> Website Developer
> Robotics Engineer
> Business Intelligence Analyst
> Artificial Intelligence Specialist
>Big Data Analyst
>Information Security Analyst
Mommy-ing In The City!