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The basics
Study abroad : Career Prospects

5 of the best degrees for the future

We explore five future-proof professions to help you decide on a course that will be worth your time and energy.

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Experts predict that 85 per cent of jobs that will exist in 2030 are yet to be invented (IFTF 2017). This is partly due to the continual growth and development of technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics which will replace some current jobs. It is estimated that certain professions will be completely obsolete by 2030. Possible examples include a travel agent, legal secretary, taxi driver, bricklayer, and sports referee. These jobs are expected to become automated instead of being undertaken by humans. 


But which professions are going to last? And, which courses should you invest your time and energy in? We list five future proof careers to help you decide on a programme and career with high prospects.


1. Data scientist


In a 2020 emerging jobs report by LinkedIn, data scientists were ranked as the 3rd most in-demand profession with an annual growth rate of 37 per cent. This is partly because companies and governments need to organise and interpret large sets of data to inform political and business decisions in addition to understanding human behaviour. Plus, as facial recognition and artificial intelligence increase the amount of data being collected, data scientists are in greater demand to translate numbers into meaningful information.


To become a data scientist, you need to study one of the following fields:



During most of these courses, you will gain relevant skills in programming and coding which is a major part of any data science role. Some companies will also offer graduate schemes where you can train and develop your skill set in data science. 


Besides the longevity and increasing demand for data scientists, this profession is also well-paid. At the entry-level, you can earn GBP 25,000 to GBP 30,000 per year, increasing to between GBP 40,000 and GBP 60,000 within a couple of years. Senior data scientists can be paid up to GBP 100,000 per year (Graduate Prospects 2019). 


2. Health practitioner 


Humans will always need medical care and assistance. This is why roles within medicine are continually in high demand. While some medical processes can be automated, there will always be the need for human interaction, providing empathy and understanding which cannot be easily replicated by machines.


Doctors and nurses need to provide an overall assessment of a patient’s needs, not limited to just their physical condition but also wellbeing and state of mind. In addition, healthcare professionals often face ethical dilemmas that computers are unlikely to resolve. So, if you’ve been thinking about a career in medicine, you needn’t worry about your job becoming obsolete anytime soon. 


Find out more about studying nursing or medicine at university.


3. Marketing and PR


Marketers use their creative flair and ability to employ words and imagery to convey different messages. Coming up with new and innovative ideas would be very difficult for a machine to imitate. Digital marketing is in particularly high demand as consumers are predominantly online. Gaining digital skills will therefore be beneficial for any career you wish to pursue as so much of our everyday lives exist online. In the UK, the average salary of a digital marketeer is GBP 37,500 per year, reaching GBP 52,000 with experience (Totaljobs). 


Similarly, PR or public relations is all about networking and managing relationships. This profession requires strong interpersonal and communication skills which will always be highly employable even with the emergence of new technologies and automated processes. A PR officer can expect to earn between GBP 25,000 and GBP 40,000 depending on experience, reaching up to GBP 100,000 for senior positions. 


To work in either marketing or PR, certain subjects are particularly relevant at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels: 



Most marketing roles are open to all graduates, you just need to demonstrate your transferrable skills or relevant work experience.


Want to learn more about marketing and PR?


4. Social work


Empathy, understanding, compassion and emotional intelligence. These are just a few of the most important skills and attributes of any social worker which are unlikely to be adopted by machines any time soon. This role also requires critical thinking and ethical decision-making which you need to develop through training. 


To become a social worker, you can study an undergraduate degree in social work or choose another subject, followed by a master’s degree in social work which typically takes two years to complete. The typical salary for a social worker is between GBP 24,000 and GBP 30,000 depending on location and experience (Graduate Prospects 2019). So, if you enjoy helping others, social care could be the right career for you, offering longevity, fulfilment, and a stable income.


Find out more about social work.



5. Robotics


As mentioned, robotics is a rapidly evolving field that is only expected to grow over time. There is great demand for people with skills and knowledge in this area which makes it a promising industry for those looking for a career with longevity. Although controversial, robots are increasing the speed and efficiency of many processes and everyday tasks. For example, roboticists have designed machines that can be used in response to natural disasters, therefore preventing human risk. Robots are also being used in healthcare, such as in surgery for increased precision and control. 


So how do you start a career in robotics?


While not all jobs in robotics require a degree, it will be beneficial for your career in the long term and is compulsory for some positions. Relevant degree subjects include:



You could also develop your skills with a postgraduate degree in robotics to further specialise after an undergraduate degree. This is especially applicable if your undergraduate degree is not in robotics but in a related field that provides you with some foundational knowledge, such as engineering.


Once you’ve qualified, you can start applying for roles in the robotics field such as a technician, operator, or engineer. The average salary of a robotics engineer is GBP 42,000 per year, but this can increase to GBP 60,000 with experience (Talent.com).


Now that you know which careers are likely to stand the test of time, hopefully, you’re feeling more reassured and confident about which course you’d like to study. 


Still unsure? Use our course matcher tool now to find the right course, university and destination based on your qualifications and preferences. 


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