Tomorrow's careers: what to study in 2018
Where are the careers of tomorrow set to emerge for students soon to start uni?
The World Economic Forum predicts “a perfect storm of business model change in all industries” however landing full-time work after uni is already tough for many graduates.
Unis aren’t sitting idle. “They have increased the number of student places in areas of employment that are growing, especially in health fields. They are doing more to make sure that graduates have general employability skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving,” says Andrew Norton, Higher Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute.
Norton nominates health, IT and engineering as strong career paths, warning however that studying STEM courses is no passage to job security.
“STEM fields have not been especially strong for young people in recent years,” he says.
So where are tomorrow’s careers likely to be for students set to enrol at uni in 2018?
Bachelor of Medical Engineering (Honours), University of Newcastle, ATAR 80
“Labour market data indicates two areas of the strongest job growth are health care and engineering,” says Professor Brett Ninness, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment at University of Newcastle.
“Our population is ageing and new technology is saving the lives of people with challenging illnesses or injuries who require sophisticated therapy and care. At the same time, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and the internet are rapidly changing the way we live and work,” Ninness says.
“These factors drive a growing need for engineers with specialised skills for medical settings. UoN has a new Bachelor of Medical Engineering (Honours) degree, the only program of its kind in NSW, available from 2018.” The degree has four majors:
Medical computing – think bioinformatics, cloud storage of medical records, virtual reality in allied health. Medical devices – implants, artificial organs and nanosystems. Signal and image – processing, scanning and imaging technologies. Biomechanics — medical robotics and prosthetics.
Electrical Engineering, Macquarie University, ATAR 80
Global renewable energy employment increased by five per cent in 2015 to 8.1 million, reports the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Solar PV was the largest renewable energy employer, with 2.8 million jobs worldwide, an 11 per cent increase on 2014.
Macquarie University says its electrical engineering students will be equipped to meet globally demand.
“Macquarie aims to provide our students with the required electrical knowledge and skills to understand how the components in the future energy or electricity network interact; identify the key requirements for operating a future grid with renewable energy systems effectively; and design, model and evaluate a future smart grid based on the technological constraints of the constituent parts against economic constraints,” says Associate Professor Jahangir Hossain of Macquarie’s Department of Engineering.
Combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies, University of Sydney, ATAR 80-98, depending on degree
“Our new curriculum, of which the combined Bachelor of Advanced studies is a major feature, is designed to prepare students, not just for their first job out of university, but for jobs long into the future that haven’t been invented yet,” says University of Sydney Professor Pip Pattison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education).
From 2018, Sydney Uni offers all undergraduates undertaking a three-year Bachelor degree in arts, commerce, computing, economics, science or visual arts the option of the four-year combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies.
“We believe our graduates will require an appropriate balance between a deep disciplinary expertise and a set of broader capabilities. This can include an understanding of broader intellectual landscapes, the skills for collaboration, invention and influence, and the integration of knowledge with professional and personal ethics and values. We believe the combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies delivers that.”
Computer Science, University of NSW, ATAR 92+
UNSW Professor Toby Walsh says artificial intelligence (AI) is a growth area, with industry pleading for qualified staff. “We get employers coming to us saying they could hire all of our grad class and that’s just one company,” Walsh says.
“There’s a lot of concern that automation is going to take away jobs. But one of the jobs of the future is inventing that future. The Australian Computer Society estimates there will be 100,000 extra jobs in computing by 2020.
“Many [of those jobs] are going to be in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and related areas like analytics and optimisation. Your best bet for a job in one of these areas is to study computer science in a top ranked institution.”
Bachelor of Cyber Security and Behaviour, Western Sydney University, ATAR 79
“The Bachelor of Cyber Security and Behaviour enhances employability by developing technical skills alongside knowledge of the human factor in psychology, criminology and the social sciences for addressing cyber security and promoting internet safety,” says Professor Kevin Dunn, Western Sydney University Dean of Social Sciences and Psychology.
“This course meets the growing need for the application of psychological theory and research to understand cyber security issues in the context of decision-making, human errors, social influence, organisational cultures and vulnerable populations. As cyber threats become more sophisticated and damaging across all types of organisations, cyber security is a top priority. Examples of career opportunities include cyber safety officer, data security, security analyst, risk analytics, cyber policing, cyber intelligence, intelligence analytics and terror-informatics.”
Bachelor of Laws major, Legal Futures and Technology, UTS, ATAR # 97.05
The legal profession is undergoing profound change. Increasingly, technology is at the heart of a lawyer’s work, says Professor Lesley Hitchens, Dean, UTS Faculty of Law.
“To prepare law graduates who are work-ready for a future driven by technology, innovation and disruption, UTS is introducing a new Bachelor of Laws major, Legal Futures and Technology, which will launch in 2018.
“Technologies are changing law itself and creating new legal and ethical questions. Think smart contracts, bitcoin, blockchain and the fourth industrial revolution. That doesn’t mean law students also need to become experts in coding, but law graduates who understand and can work with technology will have an edge in the workplace,” Hitchens says.
“Future jobs will require advanced collaboration skills, the capacity for complex problem-solving and emotional intelligence. The role of in-house counsel is expanding to incorporate commercial and risk advice”.
Global Opportunity Leadership Engagement and Development Program, University of Wollongong, ATAR 95+
“Inspire and prepare tomorrow’s international business leaders” is the thinking behind the University of Wollongong’s new Global Opportunity Leadership Engagement and Development Program (GOLEaD), starting in 2018.
UoW says the undergraduate course is the first of its kind in Australia and students will study in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Wollongong, with sponsorship for travel and accommodation costs.
“GOLEaD is for top-achieving high school students aspiring to become the next generation of global leaders,” says UOW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Strategy), Professor Alex Frino.
“By completing multiple internships, students will gain real-world work experience with top-rated multinational firms preparing them for success as an international business professional rather than becoming just another business graduate.”
Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary), Australian Catholic University, ATAR 74.50-77.75
By 2022, school student numbers are anticipated to swell by up to 26 per cent nationally. More students requires more and smarter teachers.
And there’s a glaring shortage of men signing up to teach.
“The profession is crying out for male teachers”, says Australian Catholic University’s Learning Sciences Institute Australia Director Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith.
ABS data reveal one in four primary and secondary teachers across Australia are male and the ratio of male to female teachers has been steadily declining since 1984.
“The quality of ACU’s graduates is recognised by schools and the employment rate of our bachelor degree graduates is consistently higher than the national average,” Wyatt-Smith says.
“We’re connected to a strong community of industry partners, so students get all the practical experience and confidence they need. Our students graduate ready to start their careers in Catholic and other faith-based schools, government and independent schools and early childhood education settings.”