8 new age jobs you need to know about

Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

Trying out a new career, even midway through your working years, is doable, thanks to new jobs cropping up that didn’t exist a decade ago. The increasingly high-tech nature of the world we live in has resulted in new jobs being created to navigate the information age. “Jobs are definitely becoming more technical,” affirms Adam Cooke, head of the Media24 Academy.

“Companies have moved from simply having websites to having apps and taking advantage of mobile advancements,” says Cooke. “Hence, they are hiring more people with technical skills such as software developers, product managers or user experience (UX) designers. Technology has disrupted career norms. Now people with tech skills have moved from being support staff to having executive functions.”

These are some of the new jobs out there:


According to digital magazine Autodesk, app developers create, test and programme apps for mobile phones and computers, as well as other electronics. If you’re analytical, creative, a problem solver and pay attention to detail, this job is for you. David Jenkins, app developer and managing director of The Bold Circle, says: “To be an app developer, you need a degree in information technology or a diploma at a minimum. Students then major in software development. There are also many short courses available through various institutes.

The beauty of app development is that you can teach yourself everything and get building from your home. There’s lots of information, as well as courses, guides and blogs that a keen and ambitious student could use to start learning and coding.” And the market is rapidly growing, thanks to the rise of smartphones and technology development.



A social media manager is in charge of the company’s social media marketing and engagement. You’re responsible for making the company search-engine friendly. You also create content and handle the firm’s online reputation. You’ll need to be creative, have good verbal and written skills and have experience in social media. Can you turn a sceptical consumer into a customer? The lead social media manager at FCB Africa, Ashleigh Burton, says: “This job barely existed 10 years ago. Most social media managers have a background in English, journalism or digital marketing. You need to have a passion for all things digital and to keep up with the latest trends.”



Cloud computing is a service that provides people with servers, networks and data storage. It’s the most convenient storage ware as it ensures your files are saved and backed up on the ‘cloud’, so you can’t lose them even if your computer crashes.

Thomas Lee, CEO of cloud computing company Wingu, says that to work in the cloud industry, you must have a mind for problem solving. “There are many challenges in building and operating cloud platforms, so being good at figuring out puzzles is a first indication that you’ll enjoy this career. You need to have an information technology (IT) background to understand the basic building blocks of IT, such as servers, operating systems, networking and storage. Cloud computing is a massively growing field in IT. If you think that the South African economy is growing at less than 2%, cloud computing is a great market for new job seekers. But if you like a simple, routine job, this is not for you.”



A user experience (UX) designer deals with the end user’s satisfaction with a product. You focus on how the product is used, if it’s easy to use, how a person feels while using the product and on keeping up with the latest technologies, Cooke explains.

A UX designer must be able to make consumers love a brand. Claire Edwards, a UX consultant at Mantaray, says: “Although UX has some way to go before it’s fully embedded in South African business, there’s no doubt that UX design will become more critical, particularly as new technologies are developed. The field is open to people with various skill sets, from multimedia designers and marketers to psychologists and business analysts.” One of the most important characteristics of a good UX designer is the ability to empathise with the user of the product.



A data miner collects raw information and turns it into patterns that businesses can use to develop effective strategies, such as increasing sales and engaging with consumers by learning more about them from the collected data. Ju¨rgen Möller, a data miner at Statistica, says there’s no specific degree that equips you for the role. Ideally, you should consider a degree with majors in statistics or computer science. “The volume of data that we collect continues to grow exponentially as more people gain access to the Internet and smart devices. Some people even speak of ‘data as the new oil’. To remain competitive, companies will be forced to think smarter and invest in ways to extract better quality information from their data. And, there will most likely be a substantial increase in the demand for skilled professionals in this space.”



YouTube content creators tell stories that people want to hear. They produce videos for social networks and promote them on other platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. They are often talented and creative on screen. Says YouTube sensation Moshe Ndiki: “It’s possible to make a living solely from being a YouTube content creator, but that depends on the individual. If you invest a lot of time and hard work on your videos, you could live off the profits.” But, warns Moshe, “what’s most challenging about this career is coming up with the content and putting it out in a way that your audience not only understands it, but also relates to it.”



There are blogs about food, fashion, science, photography, health, gossip and a whole lot more. The best way to succeed at making money off your blog is to write about what you like and to be authentic. This will bring advertisers to your site and you’ll get paid for featuring their products. Leila Saffarian, author of the blog Pass the Salt, says being able to produce your own visual material, such as still images or video creations, is the core to blogging. Journalism, copy writing, photography, videography and online marketing are great courses to consider. “Nowadays, PR and advertising agencies are adapting and including bloggers within many of their client campaigns – meaning bloggers actually get paid to create content for specific brands,” she says. But, she adds, it’s not all fun and games. “Dealing with writer’s block is excruciating, but it’s your creativity and quality work that sets you apart.”

Although blogging has been around for a while, it wasn’t until 2004 that it became mainstream, when news services and politicians started using it.



Drones are planes without human pilots on board and are controlled remotely from a ground base. Drones have a variety of uses, from army missions to surveillance, product deliveries and aerial photography. Miriam van Zyl, owner of Ambit Photography, says: “Over the next 10 years, drones will increasingly become part of our everyday lives, from delivering your pizza to ensuring your neighbourhood is secure.

Drones have revolutionised operations in industries such as agriculture, mining, film and television, and security.” The first drone was used by the CIA in 2002. And with people increasingly demanding aerial view photos for cheaper rates and at faster delivery times, it’s no wonder that the drone’s popularity will continue to increase.



1. Sustainability expert: This expert finds ways for a company to make a profit without harming the environment. They help companies to go green, do research on the environment and implement international

laws on climate change.

2. Full-time Netflix viewer: Make money from the comfort of your couch by watching back-to-back episodes of series as a fulltime job! That’s a job on offer in the UK, Ireland or the US.

3. Chief listening officer: If you always have your eye on what’s trending, this career may just be for you. This person tracks whatever is being said about the company on social media.

4. Millennial expert: This person helps companies understand millennials to improve their communication, sales and marketing. This job has come about thanks to the technology that millennials consume and the fast-paced lives they lead.

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