Science and technology began to advance rapidly in the second half of the 20th century, and the pace of technological change has only quickened in the 21st century. Scientific advancements in almost every field have changed the face of society and also the employment landscape. Some jobs, such as telephone operator or gas station attendant, have all but disappeared -- but many new technology-related job categories have evolved to replace them.
Programming and Software Jobs
Computers and computer chips are ubiquitous today. They are an integral part of cars, homes, phones, industrial production lines, as well as offices and retail establishments. It takes many programmers and software developers to write all of the software required for all these devices, and the demand for these professions remains high. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts 30 percent job growth for software developers and 12 percent growth for programmers from 2010 to 2020.
Information Technology Jobs
Information technology (IT) is the practical application of computers and telecommunications devices for personal and business purposes. Some sources define information technology as a branch of engineering. Jobs in information technology springing up in the last few decades include network administrator, database administrator, IT security analysts and computer support specialists. The BLS is projecting job growth ranging from 18 to 31 percent for these occupations through 2020.
Advancements in genetics have led to many improvements in the human condition. Genetics-based diagnostic and medical therapies are revolutionizing the health care industry, and genetically modified plants and animals are now resistant to drought or pests or have other beneficial changes to their genome. Jobs in the biotechnology sector include microbiologists, biochemists, geneticists, biomedical engineers and data scientists. The BLS is projecting 31 percent job growth for biochemists through 2020 and 22 percent job growth for data scientists through 2018.
Alternative Energy Jobs
Alternative energy sources, such as solar power, geothermal power and wind power, are also growing rapidly and producing new jobs that were almost unknown just a couple of decades ago. Wind energy engineers and technicians are one new and growing job category, as are a number of solar power-related professions such as atmospheric scientists who specialize in evaluating potential solar power sites and real estate agents who specialize in locating and developing solar power sites.