Hottest Jobs Of The Future In Design And Engineering

07Oct16

by Pete Baxter

Advanced technologies such as robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and generative design are changing the way things are designed and made. But does this mean “the machines” are on the brink of taking over? In a word, no.

Machines are going to complement what we do and will liberate workers from repetitive or dangerous tasks. Of course it’s true that some jobs are going to go away, but others will be created too. New jobs — and entire new job categories —are going to emerge in the wake of this technological upheaval, giving people the opportunity to work at jobs that we can’t even imagine yet.

So what will the new jobs of this new industrial revolution actually be? Let’s take a look:

Robot Trainer

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Courtesy of Autodesk, Inc.

As we move to a world where robots take on more varied and nuanced jobs, the need for humans actually rises as human trainers will be needed to demonstrate complex tasks for robots to learn and perform.

For example, the chef who understands flavour combinations and creates an inventive meal is not going away anytime soon, but the laborious job of chopping vegetables may be better handled by trained a robot. It may seem rote to people, but every vegetable presents variations and nuances that robots are only now becoming capable of coping with thanks to machine learning.

Sensor System Integrators

2016-09-30-1475235719-7866290-2_Future_Jobs_sensorintegrator.png
Courtesy of Autodesk, Inc.

As more and more products have sensors, they become part of the exponentially expanding Internet of Things (IoT). But getting all those IoT things to talk to each other is turning out to be a much bigger challenge. It’s one thing for your shoes to monitor your exercise or for your refrigerator to re-order eggs when you’re low, but the real magic will be when your shoes tell your refrigerator that you’ve been working out a lot more lately and it should double your order of sports drinks.

That may be a flippant example, but the need for people who can integrate sensored things from setting up sensor networks in commercial buildings to integrating connected products in homes is about to explode.

Generative Designer

2016-09-30-1475235737-7398224-3_Future_Jobs_generativedesigner.png
Courtesy of Autodesk, Inc.

Design is a booming profession, and while (algorithmic) design tools will become ever more prevalent and advanced, they won’t replace the need for designers.

An emerging class of “generative design” software will provide dozens or even thousands of design options automatically based on certain criteria – weight, strength, cost, size, materials, etc. While human designers will spend less time on the shape and geometry of a product, they will still need to deeply understand the design challenge at hand and determine the right constraints and parameters to arrive at a desired solution.

3D Print Specialist 

2016-09-30-1475235760-7751881-4_Future_Jobs_3Dprinter.png
Courtesy of Autodesk, Inc.

3D printers are improving at a breathtaking pace in recent years — becoming faster, handling thousands of new metals, composites and other materials. As prices come down and software continues improving as well, this type of ‘additive manufacturing’ will become more and more commonplace.

The world is already facing a shortage of skilled machinists who can operate ‘subtractive’ manufacturing machines. The US alone is facing a shortfall of 2 million skilled workers over the next decade. The boom in 3D printing will similarly require skilled specialists and add another huge category of employment in the years ahead.

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