The Top Jobs for the Future: Now Hiring

by Marillyn Hewson, Chairman, President and CEO, Lockheed Martin
Oct 25, 2017 3:55 PM ET

Originally published on LinkedIn

As the leader of one of the most technologically advanced companies in the world, I am often asked about the future of our workforce -- specifically, what will be the hottest careers 10 to 20 years from now? 

This was one of the main topics of discussion at Fortune's recent Most Powerful Women Summit, when it was posed this way: "What are the jobs that are going to be there [several] years from now that we can't even imagine?"

It's a billion-dollar question for companies, and one critical to equipping students and preparing workers for the future. 

Of course, none of us has a crystal ball in business, but modern technology trends do position companies like Lockheed Martin to make strong predictions. 

For example, business leaders are recognizing the vast, digital transformation that is sweeping through our world -- touching every aspect of the global economy. As computing power grows and advancing manufacturing progresses, the way products are designed, produced, monitored, and maintained will be transformed.  

In fact, a recent study predicted the world's data will amount to 44 zettabytes by 2020. To put this in perspective, the smartphone in your pocket probably has 32 gigabytes of data capacity. You'd need to fill about 44 billion smartphones with data to reach just one zezzabyte. 

Looking at the years ahead, we may not know the exact jobs that will be available. What we do know is that as organizations increase their reliance on data science and human-machine collaboration, we will need nimble, innovative workers with strong backgrounds in science, math, research, technology, and all types of engineering. 

With that in mind, here are some of the jobs that will be especially crucial in shaping the future:

  • Autonomy Engineers: As technology transforms how humans and machines work together, the need for autonomous helicopters, underwater vehicles, and aerial systems will continue to surge. Specialists in the areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning will be in high demand as this field develops. Autonomy engineers come from a variety of engineering disciplines, including software and systems engineering. The field of autonomy is open ended: the more advances are made, the more opportunities there will be for you to build better and more intelligent systems.
  • Data Scientists: Data scientists explore the patterns and relationships in large groups of data. The information they glean provides actionable insights about everything from technology development to improved pilot performance. You can enter this field from a variety of educational backgrounds, including math, operations research, computer science, engineering, and more.
  • Radio Frequency Engineers: These engineers work with everything that transmits or receives a radio wave, including Wi-Fi and mobile phones. This is as broad a field as data science. For example, you can work with spacecraft antennas, missiles, or aircraft sensor systems. This may be a great fit for those of you who like to be a "jack of all trades." Just be sure to have a strong background in electrical engineering, mathematics, or systems engineering.
  • Quantum Information Scientists: The speeds of a smart phone, a laptop, and a desktop all pale in comparison to the potential speed of emerging quantum-computing technology. This new technology may allow for the fastest computing of the most complex problems by exploring all possible solutions at once. This is a multidisciplinary field that combines quantum chemistry, quantum physics and thermodynamics with information and computer science.
  • Cybersecurity Specialists: Hardly a week goes by without a news story about hacking, data breaches, and cyberattacks. Unfortunately, many of us have been personally affected by network intrusions and data theft. These threats continue to grow. To protect our personal information, our global economy, and our national security, we will need cybersecurity talent in every sector of business and government. And there is job security in cybersecurity: according to analysis by Cybersecurity Ventures, the unemployment rate in this area is zero. More than one million jobs are currently unfilled, and that number is expected to climb to 3.5 million by 2021. If you are seeking a job in this critical and ever-growing field, you should consider pursuing computer science or computer engineering.  

We don't know all the specifics of the technological challenges that lie ahead in the 21st century, but one thing is certain, scientists and engineers will have strong, lifelong career prospects as the pace of technological change increases.

To learn more about the various types of careers at Lockheed Martin, I welcome you to visit our YouTube page to hear directly from our employees and listen to their experiences.

And if you're interested in any of these jobs, I encourage you to click on their links to access a list of open positions in each of those areas.  

Which jobs do you think will be most important in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments section on LinkedIn.