Future-proof jobs

Popular Mechanics lists 10 Future-Proof Jobs – “Geeky, Adventurous Employment Opportunities in Today’s Economy.” The list includes video-game designer.  I sure hope it’s a winner. My nephew is majoring in computer science with a specialty in video-game design — and looking for a summer job or internship, preferably in the Bay Area or Santa Cruz. Will work for experience.

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  1. Actually number 10 is “independent game designer”. Independent is key. There are currently lots of ways to make money by creating simple games and using various forms of online distribution.

    But you really don’t want to work for one of the major game houses if you can help it. The big boys treat their programmers like commodities. They work them until the programmers have had enough and quit. This is why, unlike most other white-collar fields, programmers discuss unionization on a regular basis.

  2. The more programmers are looking for work, the lower their wages will be. Supply, demand, all that.

    The world will still need plumbers and accountants in the 21st century, and the demand for their services will outstrip supply.

  3. SoftwareEngineer says:

    Game companies are known to churn through developers faster than any other part of the industry. The problem with being independent is how to get seen. Casual gaming (Peggle, Chuzzle, Bejewled, tower defense) is the only seriously growing part of the market. But I have no idea how big that part is.

    I write software in an FDA-regulated market, so there are very few people who can compete in this arena. If you love programming, great. But if you want to *design* games, you shouldn’t bet on making a career of it–not without some serious inside contacts.

  4. If he’s finding unpaid internships, it’s a sign that the market is flooded, and there won’t be any good jobs when he graduates. And if he accepts one, he’s contributing to the downward pressure on wages.

  5. I noticed that “magazine writer”, surprisingly, wasn’t on that list…

    P.S. – Underwater welding is widely considered the most dangerous job on Earth. Try looking up the mortality rates on that job. You know why your pay doubles after three years? Because the companies know that there’s not much chance they’ll have to live up to that agreement…

  6. Everyone I know that ever worked as a programmer for EA was reduced to mulch within a couple of years. These suggested careers seem pretty stupid to me. They are very specific and trendy – in a short time they won’t be so trendy – it looks as though some kid with no experience, and no longer-term perspective, made them up. (For instance, according to the few architects I know, it’s not that great a job unless you can fight your way up several levels, and it’s not that secure, either. But it might look like a good deal to a baby journalist making 20K a year.)

  7. Yeah, I have to agree that this list is pretty poorly thought out. “Independent game designer” is as realistic as “Bestselling author”. The rest of the jobs seem either trendy (i.e., the “green” jobs) or very cyclical (architect, underwater welder). While I’m sure that there’s a need for battery engineers and windmill whatevers, I can’t imagine that it is a very large market. Or even a job with openings in most states.

    Future proof jobs, IMO, would tend to be jobs that are fairly difficult to do (so there isn’t a glut of applicants and the pay is decent) and that can’t be easily offshored.