We must prepare for tomorrow’s job market
I recently stumbled upon a photo captioned: “Humans are hooked, machines are learning.” The caption reminded me of a discussion I had with a friend about concerns over big data and artificial intelligence (AI), and how we can embrace the vocational skills of tomorrow. My friend still believes, as many others do, that we are safe, and that it is too early for computers to take over our professions. But this belief ignores how quickly machines are learning.
Recently, the World Economic Forum (WEF) issued a report titled “The Future of Jobs,” which extensively analyzed critical dimensions on a regional basis. Regarding the Middle East and North Africa, the report identified big data, data science and analytics, and software and application developers and analysts, as major areas for the future job market.
Those in denial about the need for new skills will be left behind.
Alaa Ayesh AlMajnuni
For us laypeople, data scientists and analysts sound like they are speaking a language from another world. My aim is not to make you fear the future, but to enable you to take the steps necessary to welcome it. You can learn these new skills at any age if you are willing to immerse yourself. Changing your career does not require a new college degree.
Luckily, Saudi Arabia cares about the skills of tomorrow. Many Saudi organizations have started conducting full-time, part-time and virtual programs for in-demand professions. Those in denial about the need for new skills will be left behind.
Some of today’s professions will become obsolete, causing higher unemployment. No one wants to be in this situation. No parent wants their kids to be left behind in a globalized world. No ambitious professional wants to be unrecognized. All of us should be preparing for the future.
• Alaa Ayesh AlMajnuni is an English comparative literature postgraduate. She has a postgraduate certificate in international relations from Columbia University. She has worked in education management, research and development, and strategic partnerships in different government entities.