Blog post

Which Robot-proof Jobs Should My Kids Major In?

By Craig Roth | August 03, 2017 | 2 Comments


As a parent with young kids, I wonder which fields they will go into. It used to be that a parent only had to fear them going into Art History, Medieval Literature, or some other similar field that would leave them jobless and raiding your fridge until your golden years. But now some articles imply that even fields of study that were shoo-ins for a good job are in jeopardy of being given to robots. Amid fears that AI, Robots, automation will eat away at the ways we can make a living, even steady jobs such as teaching, law, and management seem to be in jeopardy. I even wonder which jobs will exist when they graduate college. “Just a matter of time before a robot eyes your job” reads the headline staring out at you from the newspaper next to your teen’s SAT prep book.

The most common advice I hear is to head for the high mast as the ship sinks in an ocean of technology. Robots aren’t good at innovation, so maybe something that leads to a job in R&D or package design. Creativity isn’t their strong suit either, so humans will be needed to play music, write novels, unravel the mysteries of quantum physics, and perform in the theater. Those occupations should be safe, right?

Forget it. Technology can change any occupation. And I doubt humans are ready to embrace a society where all we do is strum lyres and recite poetry, like in a strange Star Trek episode (that inevitably turns dystopian).

The most robot-proof job is building and maintaining robots. Think about it: the more robots there are, the more work there is for you to do.

Tell your children “Don’t run away from robots. Run towards them, embrace them, and win your position as the ‘alpha’ in the newly expanded hierarchy of workers.”

If you’re a customer service manager for a particular product in a call center, part of your job will be adding and tweaking information used by the chatbots to deal with the more routine questions.

I have a long time to think about this before it hits home with my young children. My youngest is now 6, but a few years ago I was sitting outside her daycare waiting to pick her up and looked across the street to see the sign below. Now that’s a sign of the times!

Tech students about robots

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

Comments are closed