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Data Scientist & Co: the "Sexiest Jobs" of the 2020s

February 21, 2020

These professions are particularly important in the future

Ever since the renowned Harvard Business Review ruled that “data scientist” was the “sexiest job of the 21st century,” interested parties know which profession has the brightest future. Yet the current LinkedIn Emerging Jobs Report reveals that companies will also be looking for a host of other professions in addition to data scientists in the years to come. Astrid Kleinhanns-Rollé, Managing Director of the WU Executive Academy, took a close look at the job trends in the 2020s and analyzed why employers are after particular kinds of expertise and which related skills and competences employees will need in the future.

Data Scientist & Co: Pic of a business woman looking into the sky
Which job profiles will be needed in the future, where can one make a steep career?

The business world’s transformation is occurring at a breath-taking pace, and companies have entered a fierce competition over well-trained experts fit for the changed requirements of the market. Astrid Kleinhanns-Rollé, Managing Director of the WU Executive Academy, knows which trend jobs are and will be attractive for both employers and the workforce. Read on to find out more about her selection of the “sexiest jobs” of the 2020s.

AI Specialist

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already supporting processes in many fields, but it will not stop there: it is expected that AI solutions will become the basis of new business models and innovative products in the near future – from the self-learning health app to the autonomous vehicle. As a consequence, experts in this field are in high demand, as companies desperately fight over the rare resource of AI specialists.

FACTS: The number of AI specialists has increased 19-fold since 2015. In times of digitization, demand for AI experts is annually increasing by 74% in the US alone. To be optimally prepared for this profession, AI specialists should call expertise in the following fields their own: machine learning, Python, TensorFlow, deep learning, computer vision, and, naturally, AI.

Robotics Engineer

Robotics is at the brink of a transformative step forward: smart robots will not only handle all kinds of jobs in factories, we will also encounter them in numerous other professional and private fields of application. Experts will devise and design adequate solutions to create robotics systems, for which they need to have a sound understanding of macroeconomics.

FACTS: Robotics currently ranks among the fastest growing industries in the whole world. The appeal of robotics engineering stems from the fact that it does not only involve work on hard- and software solutions but also on virtual and physical bots. Robotics engineers are ideally skilled in the following fields: robotic process automation, UiPath, Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, and robotics.

Data Scientists & Co: Pic of a robotic engineer
Robotics engineers have a diverse work environment.

Data Scientist

Companies are eager to hire data scientists because they manage the greatest asset of organizations: customer, product, and market data. Not only IT specialists but also managing directors as well as marketing and product managers have to interpret data and base their strategic decisions on them. So to devise effective measures, being able to read data is key. This is where data scientists come in, providing a valuable basis for practical implementation.

FACTS: Experts work with the most recent findings in the fields of data mining, machine learning, Phyton, R, or Apache Spark. It is this very variety that makes the jobs of data scientists so interesting and unique.

Customer Success Director

As a potential downside of digitization, some customers feel left behind, overlooked, or misunderstood – despite the numerous opportunities to communicate with companies. Failed attempts to find out about a product via a hotline is only one example. Customer success specialists and customer success directors are responsible for keeping customers satisfied and loyal to the company. It is not only about customer support in the conventional sense. Customer success staff are active across several departments, linking sales, support, service, and the product itself. The customer is king or queen because, just as in the olden days, the goal is turning him or her into an avid fan of the company.

FACTS: Customer success is named as the third most important growth factor for companies following sales and marketing. The job’s appeal lies in being able to combine soft skills (customer relations management) and hard skills (account management, software as a service, also referred to as SaaS, Salesforce, etc.) in a practical way.

Chief Ethics & Sustainability Officer

Sustainability and its role in business have significantly changed in the past years as organizations are increasingly becoming aware of the (financial) ramifications of a successful sustainability strategy. As a result, a long-term, value-oriented approach is key for an organization’s economic, ecological, and social initiatives – and somebody must be in charge of them. A chief ethics & sustainability officer makes sure that a company’s sustainability strategy is an integral component of the entire business strategy and that strategic goals are implemented in daily business practice.

FACTS: This job requires a healthy portion of assertiveness on top of in-depth knowledge of the organization. It is “sexy” because experts engage in tasks considered fulfilling and meaningful, making valuable contributions to both business and society in their work. 

Data Scientist & Co: Pic of a green hand holding a leave
Ethics and sustainability agendas are indispensable today - and will not be so in the future. Photo © CC0 Licence

Cybersecurity Specialist

With the growth of networks and the advance of digitization, the risk of cyberattacks has risen exponentially. This applies to public institutions, international corporations, and local SMEs alike. Against this backdrop, organizations need specialists capable of implementing individual measures as well as continuously supervising whole systems. These experts work out concepts and strategies based on the state of the art in technology to ensure the effectiveness of measures in the long run.

FACTS: The most recent Data Breach QuickView Report speaks a clear language when it comes to how important cybersecurity experts are. Last year, the number of cyberattacks increased by 50% all over the world compared to the previous year – and this trend is forecast to continue in the ongoing era of digitization. Cybersecurity is gaining in importance because in the future, an organization’s success, or lack thereof, will hinge even more on how effectively it protects itself in the digital sphere. A good cybersecurity specialist has the following skills: solid expertise in information security, network security, vulnerability assessment, and cybersecurity in general.

Digital Transformation Manager

Everybody is talking about the digital transformation – but who is implementing it? The conversation about an organization’s digital future is prone to overlook the very people that have to support and further the transformation. They face enormous challenges and must possess a multitude of skills to effectively fill their roles as digital transformation managers. They are the experts defining, executing, and monitoring projects related to the digital transformation.

FACTS: Considering their demanding job profile, digital transformation managers not only need a good grasp of macroeconomics but also project-management skills. They need to understand both technological and business requirements and must be able to apply a cross-disciplinary approach in order to collaborate with experts from various departments. After all, a successful digital transformation can only succeed if it is a team effort.

Find out how the WU Executive Academy programs prepare students for the challenges of these jobs of the future here.

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