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Occupations for the future
Old 08-17-2015, 06:37 PM   #1
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Occupations for the future

With younger family members and friends nearing the time when they will be committing to an educational program that may be the framework for their future, my thinking was that tech would be one of the safest paths.

Coming on this article from the San Diego Union Tribune was somewhat surprising. What kind of job market will laid off Qualcomm employees find in San Diego? |

As Qualcomm readies to cut thousands from its global workforce, what kind of job market will displaced employees find in San Diego if they want to stay here?

The answer is not as clear as you might expect.

Some experts say the job market is healthy. The countywide unemployment rate is just 5 percent. Local employers have added 38,500 jobs so far this year. Qualcomm lures top-tier engineers to San Diego from around the globe. There’s plenty of demand from the region’s defense, medical device and software outfits for technology talent with a Qualcomm pedigree, say experts.

“If you have to lose a job, this is probably one of the best times for it to happen,” said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University. “In technology, engineers are in demand, and they can find jobs in San Diego.”

Other experts. however, say the region’s telecommunications and semiconductor sectors are not what they used to be in terms of employment.
Just one area, one business. We see the same kind of articles in our own small town. In our case, some metal working companies, and about 300 jobs.
So jobs that don't necessarily require an advanced degree, but well paying and until recently, reasonably safe. The families make up the the strongest part of the upscale part of our town. The most active and involved people who are the backbone and leaders of a forward looking community.

Thus the question... where will the jobs be, and what kind of advice would you give to the parents and the future working generation? Maybe not specific jobs, or even a discipline, but broad areas of occupations.

Not everyone will be a microbiologist or a brain surgeon, and lawyers and bankers will still only make up a small percent of the workforce. We'll have to take into consideration the effect of technology and robotics. Assembly lines and even fast food emporiums will have an effect, as will the trend away from retail and malls...toward online fulfillment.

In our own town, a new planned sand mining plant was expected to employ hundreds, but even that has slowed with the reduction in oil fracking.

Yeah... so whether it's your kid, your grand kid, or any young person... where will the jobs be in 20 years? Not so far away.

This article from the NYT was what really set me to thinking about what it takes to keep an economy flourishing.

China’s Devaluation of Its Currency Was a Call to Action
China Turned to Risky Devaluation as Export Machine Stalled

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Old 08-17-2015, 07:44 PM   #2
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As an engineer I would say that engineering is a pretty safe bet. Of course there are many different kinds of engineering. However, you shouldn't just pick a career because of the safety and the money. You really need to like what you do and have an aptitude for it. If you have an interest in science & technology in general then you can explore that in high school and the early years of college. You need to be flexible because the future is pretty unpredictable. If you discover S&T is not for you then you can always switch to something else.

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Old 08-17-2015, 07:48 PM   #3
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I think that in a lot of small towns the richest person is the master plumber.
"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do" --Bob Dylan.
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Old 08-17-2015, 08:26 PM   #4
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Plumbing is a pretty safe bet. Also funeral directing. Both are pretty recession proof and will never be obsolete.
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Old 08-17-2015, 08:50 PM   #5
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Start a service business. Lawn mowing, plumbing, electrician, etc. Even doggie cay care is good. The key is you have to own your own business.

Stay away from science/computers, or working for someone else. It is too easily imported or exported. One day you have a job, the next day you do not.

Or just get a government job, any kind.
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:23 AM   #6
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Was at Starbucks, talking to someone who is currently unemployed, ( see lot's of unemployed folk's at Starbucks mid day) low level IT . He was laid off , replaced by someone younger/cheaper. Disposable employees , sad to say.

I suggested looking into vocational tech at the J.C., to becoming an upholsterer.

He thought I was crazy as a rabid bat (generally true, but not in this case). Some ancient occupations still pay well and generally can't be automated /off shored.

Sure , new furniture is factory built in the south , or overseas , but custom upholstery still makes $$$.
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Old 08-18-2015, 07:10 AM   #7
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Lawn service? I won't argue it but when I was a kid it was us kids that did that! Now it's someone with a dually pickup, trailer and migrant workers who want $50 to do what I can in 20 minutes. And there's not a single kid in this neighborhood I'm aware of who would consider mowing my grass for $50. Middle class, maybe upper neighborhood, but it's just not done. Anyway. Times change.

As a former utility engineer (water, sewer, stormwater) I'd steer folks to engineering in the infrastructure area. Very few aspects of it can be outsourced overseas and the regs are making it more and more complicated. And in case you haven't noticed, there are areas where providing water is becoming increasingly difficult. Even if you are inclined not to seek an engineering degree, there has always been a need for qualified technical folks in the field. Is treating sewage a sexy desirable career for some 20 something? Not really. But we never had a layoff, and as the regs changed the complexity and demand for personnel easily kept pace with the reduction in manpower that resulted from computerization. In the grand scheme of working public sector, water and sewer has the added advantage that w&s utilities are typically organized as "enterprise" funds; i.e. they are funded solely from user fees and not taxes. That gives the benefit that while fee increases are never popular, you're objectives are not competing with police and fire needs (like the streets and other local services). When budget reductions are demanded, there's almost no aspect of w&s utility operations that is not controlled by state and federal requirements. So no, we could't eliminate that lab tech that did the ____ tests or the operator on third shift running the $25 mm incinerator.
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Old 08-18-2015, 08:35 PM   #8
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Skilled trades.
Medical field (ie, doctor, nurse, pharmacist, dentist, dental hygienist....)
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Old 08-18-2015, 09:46 PM   #9
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Agree with Skilled trades, in particular I would highly recommend Transmission or Distribution Lineman. There is an abundance of work throughout the country in this field and the circuitry is becoming more complex and will require skilled people to build, maintain and operate these systems.
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Old 08-19-2015, 10:56 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by martyp View Post
As an engineer I would say that engineering is a pretty safe bet. Of course there are many different kinds of engineering. However, you shouldn't just pick a career because of the safety and the money. You really need to like what you do and have an aptitude for it. If you have an interest in science & technology in general then you can explore that in high school and the early years of college. You need to be flexible because the future is pretty unpredictable. If you discover S&T is not for you then you can always switch to something else.
It is a wide field with many disciplines. martyp's point about likes and aptitude is spot on.

I have a friend with a P.E. who works in the power industry, ironically working with linemen as mentioned above. Secure job, but he says it is very much a "plug and chug" job so he doesn't find it fulfilling. He also is on call during storms, etc. Some repairs need P.E. sign off.

In the software/computer world, globalization is a trend leading to some serious wage and job security pressure.

Chemical (petrochemical) swings wildly.

Etc. I'm not saying it is a bad occupation to pursue, just saying get into it with very wide open eyes. I've seen too many rosey stories in the press that don't reflect reality.
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Old 08-19-2015, 01:59 PM   #11
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Public safety (police and fire/emergency medical) is usually pretty reliable. It is hard to see how that could be outsourced although the cash-strapped cities are not above layoffs. But it is usually a last resort - lots of others get laid off first.
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Old 08-19-2015, 07:24 PM   #12
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Pundits predict a huge shortage in many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Right now the big shortage is in Data Scientists, dealing with the new trends and capabilities around "Big Data". However, many of those shortages are for higher level degrees - at least Masters, and preferably PhD. There are a LOT of engineers and IT folks very near retirement, and not enough backfill in the pipeline. It is a huge worry for the Megacorps.

The unfortunate side of pursuing a STEM career is the current cost of higher education, so it is a large investment that can take a long time to have a positive ROI. And I'd say these tend to be where high amounts of job stress are often found.

Anything medical should also be in high demand as we all grow older. Similar large initial investment, in some cases a reasonable return, and for stress it probably depends on the actual job.

I agree with others that for many, skilled trades is a solid career. Welding, plumbing, they tend to be in demand - and in a downturn, are a lot easier to freelance with. Cost of training is much more reasonable.

Lastly (rant warning) I do not suggest teaching. Younger teachers I know are looking for a new job every year. Charter schools have openings but the pay is low and the work is stressful because you not only deal with the kids, but also deal with administrations seeking a profit. DD spent 5-1/2 years in school, additional training and certifications to teach at risk pre-school programs, and now makes as much as a high schooler in New York flipping hamburgers.

It is good you are asking and coaching. The biggest mistake I made with the kids is to tell them they should study whatever they wanted and pursue whatever they wanted to do. One never got in his field. One just turned 30 and is sort of in his field, but the pay isn't all that great. DD is teaching as desired, but unless she finds a significant other with a handsome income, she'll be near poverty for years to come.
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Old 08-21-2015, 06:29 AM   #13
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Healthcare, specifically what we will soon refer to as "physician extenders". These are physician assistants, RNs, etc. I believe that we will use those folks more and more for routine things and they will be the gate keeper to the MD.

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