Photo: Frederick Warren/Unsplash
The world is changing. We only have to look at how much it has changed in 2020 to see that the future will be a different place to the one we occupy today.
One area where this rapid change is happening is in the world of work. Two years ago, I was working in an office, along with thousands of other people. Today, due to the Coronavirus, offices across the globe are emptier than at any time in recent history.
From commuting to work at the start of the year, we are now waking up and working from home. Despite the clamor to get people back in the office, the horse has bolted from the stables. Do you think people will want to go back to an office after working from home for most of the year?
Yeah, me neither!
One of the few certainties in life is change, and we are going through a period of change few of us have experienced before. An uncertain world is confusing and terrifying for some, but it also offers opportunities to those best placed to take advantage of the new realities.
For us to succeed in the future, certain skills are going to be more critical than others. With the world moving ever more online, those who can establish themselves in this realm will hold sway over those who don’t.
The days of the company man are over. Only a small minority of people will work for the same company during their lifetime, assuming that company still exists in ten to twenty years.
Today, the best way to become antifragile and avoid being at the mercy of events is to develop skills that will hold steady no matter what happens. Here are three that will guarantee you’ll make money and thrive for many years to come.
I believe that writing is the number one skill you can learn to succeed in the future. Sergey Faldin suggests the same in this excellent post; content creation is the future. Those who can write, and write well, have the opportunity to make a viable career online.
Medium is a case in point. Five years ago, Medium was an interesting blogging platform in its infancy. Ten years ago, it didn’t even exist. Yet today, thousands of writers can write about whatever they want and earn an income from their words. This has enabled numerous writers to make thousands every month, all from sharing their thoughts with the world.
The same is true of Substack. Writers can set up an account, get people to subscribe to their list and earn a living from those who subscribe to read their work. The trend is only going in one direction. It wouldn’t surprise me to see more sites of a similar ilk popping up in the remainder of the decade.
The people that will succeed in this environment are those who can write effectively and attract a following. Writing is an age-old tradition and one that is going nowhere. Much like the printing press enabled more people than ever before to read, the ability to set up an account and start writing in less than five minutes means more people than ever before can make a living as a writer.
Set up a blog, sell ebooks on Amazon, write here on Medium, create an email list on Substack, and already you have four separate avenues in which to make money writing online.
Quality writing is a timeless medium that inspires and provokes thought. It stops people in their tracks and makes them question long-held beliefs. If you can achieve this, the world is your oyster.
More and more of the world is moving online, even more so in the age of COVID. Thus, anyone who is proficient in the architecture of the internet will have no trouble earning money in the future.
Programming is a job that is only going to be more plentiful and pays more as the years go by. It’s this skill that allowed Bill Gates to build Microsoft into the behemoth it is today. While you may not found the next Microsoft, the opportunity to start a reasonably sized company is there.
I know a little about coding and programming. I can tinker with my travel blog and make a few changes here and there, but I have no idea how everything fits together. Looking at code is often like looking at hieroglyphics; most of the time, I’m oblivious to what it means.
It’s this code that allows the internet to function. Without it, you wouldn’t be reading this article today. The ability to code will be commonplace amongst the youth of tomorrow. They will look at their elders with the same quizzical look that we reserve for people who can’t use smartphones or operate a tablet.
The median salary for a computer programmer today is $86,550. In an industry that will only grow as the year’s progress, that figure may increase.
This may seem like an odd skill to mention alongside writing and programming, but I feel it is essential. The future is going to be full of changes and surprises. As the world of work changes, so will the certainties that we’ve become accustomed to.
That company you started with straight out of university might not exist in ten years. Likewise, many legacy companies may not be around in the future as they get disrupted by technology and black swan events.
This will have implications for a lot of people. Those who have not taken the time to develop wide skillsets will find themselves at the back of the queue when it comes to getting a new job. Those at the front will be the people who can adapt to an ever-changing environment.
Adaptability comes in many forms. It may involve switching between writing and programming. It could mean starting a side hustle to ensure you still have income coming in should something happen. My generation has lived through two ‘once in a lifetime’ financial crises; we had no choice but to become adaptable to navigate this world.
Being adaptable is an insurance policy. We have seen its benefits during this pandemic. Working from home, prioritizing your side hustle or pivoting to a new niche or field are all things people have done to ensure they still have money coming in.
Side hustles are becoming more and more common as people look to increase their earnings. In the coming years, coming up with a side hustle might be essential to survive and thrive in a changing economy. Those who can adapt quickly to this changing world will succeed, while those who don’t will be left behind.