Good news for data professionals. World Economic Forum’s 2020 Future of Jobs report continues to forecast a bright outlook for Data, AI, and Cloud Computing professionals. The Jobs of Tomorrow: Mapping Opportunity in the New Economy examines digital era changes and top emerging professions. World Economic Forum sourced the data from partnerships between New Metrics CoLab, Burning Glass Technologies, Coursera and LinkedIn. Let’s peek at the highlights.

Highest Future Demand Professions

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating demand for new skill sets, displacing existing jobs, and giving rise to new ones. This year the Future of Jobs report estimates 28% of emerging new jobs will be for Data and AI or Engineering and Cloud Computing professionals. Seven clusters of high growth professions include Data and AI, Engineering and Cloud Computing, Product Development, Sales, Marketing and Content, People and Culture, Care Economy, and Green Economy.

World Economic Forum Top Professions 2020

World Economic Forum 2020 Jobs of Tomorrow

World Economic Forum claims 6.1 million additional job opportunities will be created globally over the next two years in the emerging professions. 1.7 million new jobs will open up in 2020. By 2022, 2.4 million job opportunities will be created – an increase of 51% growth.

Teaching the New Generation of Talent

When I see the optimistic World Economic Forum report forecasts and the related Reskilling Revolution initiative to get a billion people into future emerging professions, I spot a fabulous opportunity for older, experienced talent to teach and mentor newcomers. Although analytics technologies rapidly change, I do see the same design patterns in cloud repeating that I saw in the past on-premises. Problem-solving, communication, critical thinking, and project management skills also remain the same.

Free online training from many sources is easy for any talent of any age to keep your data skills relevant. Recently, I installed both the Coursera and EdX mobile apps to my cell phone to learn while walking the dogs or chilling out. I grew tired of wasting time flipping through social media noise.

The most popular online learning topics for Data and AI professionals right now include Deep Learning, TensorFlow, IBM Data Science, Advanced Machine Learning and Applied Data Science with Python.

Popular Data and AI Online Learning Topics

World Economic Forum 2020 Jobs of Tomorrow

Deeper Dive into Data Jobs by Occupation

Let’s explore the emerging profession clusters and specific roles a bit further. The Care cluster got placed highest in-demand, followed by Sales, Marketing and Content, and Data and AI. The professional clusters that exhibit the highest growth rates are Data and AI, Green Economy, and Engineering and Cloud Computing professionals with respective annual growth rates of 41%, 35%, and 34%.

World Economic Forum Top Professions 2020

In the Data Science and AI cluster, the role of an Artificial Intelligence Specialist is the fastest-growing new economy role. Notably, the number of those jobs is relatively low with slower annual growth rates. Concurrently, countless students worldwide already enrolled in data science programs to seize those opportunities.

Fierce competition for AI and data science roles persists.

If you can’t find data science or AI work, check out related data analyst, data engineer, or systems implementations consulting careers to get valuable experience. Those professions might be easier to break into and stay gainfully employed full-time.

World Economic Forum Top Professions 2020

The roles with the highest expected rate of growth within high-volume jobs include Artificial Intelligence Specialists, Data Scientists, and Full Stack Engineers.

Cloud, app dev, and data skills are a winning combination.

According to the latest report, the highest-demand skills within emerging professions span both technical and cross-functional skills. Future in-demand skills include Business Skills, Specialized Vertical Industry Skills, General Skills such as Critical Thinking and Soft Skills, Tech Baseline Skills and Tech Disruptive Skills. While some professional clusters like ours in Data, AI, Cloud Computing require deeper expertise in technology, other high-growth professions place a much higher value in Business Skills and Specialized Industry Skills.

Getting Experienced Talent Back to Work

Is the data talent shortage only for entry-level talent? Despite this report’s positive outlook for my beloved profession, I know quite a few unemployed experienced data gurus in my network. Big tech market shifts and industry consolidation reduced the number of senior-level opportunities in the data and analytics vendor space.

I know one unemployed, experienced female data scientist living in London who is studying to transition into full-stack app development. She used to work for a top tier data science vendor. Another unemployed, experienced female data scientist is living in Orlando, Florida. She’s been unable to find full-time work for several years now. Experienced analytics developers, product management, and data strategy pros in my network now freelance. Other former senior-level peers recently left the field. They went on to saving animals, opening up a coffee shop, selling real estate, offering diversity and inclusion consulting, and running a family history/genealogy business.

I haven’t seen the data talent shortage yet?!? Have you seen it? Where?

If there is sooooooo much demand, let’s get experienced data pros back to work. If your company is struggling to find data science, data engineering or data analyst talent, I urge you to look into your resume screening and hiring processes. Automated systems and resume screeners often immediately reject experienced talent. Ageism is a real thing. Also, consider offering part-time roles to older resources that may value flexibility over a high salary. A little help from a knowledgeable data pro can go a long way. Experience matters.

For More Information

That sums up my annual review of data career forecasts. Ironically, I need to get back to work…finding more work.

For more information on emerging professions, read the entire Jobs of Tomorrow: Mapping Opportunity in the New Economy report. You can download it from the World Economic Forum.