As technology continues to impact our lives, workers in today’s ever-changing labor market need to be prepared with skills to adapt and succeed in the workplace.

The problem is, we live in an uncertain world, and because of the high levels of uncertainty we all face, people of all ages and career levels are finding it difficult to know what new skills to learn, what courses to take, and what degrees to get that will provide them with the most opportunity going forward.  Uncertainty keeps us stuck in the present.

Certainty, on the other hand, gives us the confidence to make a decision, to move forward, and to invest time and money to learn new things. Over the past thirty years, I have developed and proven the power of the science of certainty.  The science of certainty involves a scientific method of separating Hard Trends – trends that will happen – from Soft Trends – trends that might happen. This method is currently being used by many Fortune 500 companies including IBM, Deloitte, and Pratt & Whitney to name a few, to provide an accurate roadmap of the opportunities that are ahead.

That’s why I’m launching a list of 12 Certainties that will transform every career, and create new ones. By providing an accurate roadmap for anyone who wishes to increase their personal career relevancy in a world of transformative change, you can now make career and education decisions with confidence. The list highlights technologies that are now, and will continue to transform present and future careers.  As you read through the list, ask yourself how each one will play a key role in your industry and your personal career path.

  1. Mobile Hardware, Software and Services will continue to rapidly evolve creating many new careers, as all phones become smartphones and our primary computer and tablets continue to evolve as our laptop replacement. This new level of mobility will allow any size business to transform how they market, sell, communicate, collaborate, educate, train, and innovate.
  2. Remote Visual Communications will become a primary relationship-building tool for businesses of all sizes as employees use smartphones, tablets, and laptops, in combination with current video conferencing systems, to communicate at new levels with customers, partners, and employees.
  3. Social Business Enterprise Management will grow rapidly as organizations shift from an Information Age “informing” model to a Communication Age “communicating and engaging” model. New careers will emerge as Social Software for business rapidly grows with applications to enhance relationships, collaboration, networking, social validation, and more. Social Search will increasingly shape careers as marketers, researchers and those on Wall Street create applications and services to tap into millions of daily tweets and Facebook conversations, providing real-time analysis of many key consumer metrics.
  4. Cyber Security and Forensics careers will grow rapidly as we become increasingly connected and dependent on computer systems and machines using intelligent sensors connected to just about everything. Careers in data and information forensics will grow rapidly as the need to solve cyber crimes increases.
  5. Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) will create many new careers in manufacturing as this revolutionary technology allows any size company to manufacture quickly, locally and with far fewer costs. Additive manufacturing builds things by depositing material, typically plastic or metal, layer by layer until the final product is finished. Examples of final products today include jewelry, iPhone cases, shoes, car dashboards, parts for jet engines, prosthetic limbs and much more.
  6. Gamification of Education will create many new careers as corporations and educational institutions at all levels accelerate learning by using advanced simulations and skill-based learning systems that are self-diagnostic, interactive, game-like, and competitive, all focused on giving the user an immersive experience thanks to a photo-realistic 3D interface.
  7. Cloud Services and Virtualization will be increasingly embraced by businesses of all sizes, as this represents a major shift in how organizations obtain and maintain software, hardware, and computing capacity. IT is rapidly becoming an on-demand service that is rapidly transforming all business processes resulting in a rapid evolution of current careers as well as creating new careers in every functional area.
  8. Big Data and Real-Time Analytics describe the technologies and techniques used to capture and utilize the exponentially increasing streams of data with the goal of bringing enterprise-wide visibility and insights to make rapid critical decisions. This new level of data integration and analytics will require many new skills and cross-functional training in order to take advantage of new opportunities as well as breakdown the many data and organizational silos that still exist.
  9. Intelligent ePersonal Assistants using natural language voice commands was launched with Apple’s Siri, which was rapidly followed by Google, Microsoft, and others all offering what will become a mobile electronic concierge on your phone, tablet, and television. The technology will rapidly evolve and soon every profession from retailers to maintenance workers will have a Siri-like assistant. Adding an e-personal assistant to support an existing product and/or service will create many new careers.
  10. 3D Web will transform today’s Internet experience (which is like looking at a flat piece of paper with a few photos, embedded video, and a few hyperlinks) to a true 3D experience, similar to todays video games, where you can virtually walk into a showroom, look around and both listen to and see the new car you are interested in, or whatever the website is trying to show you. This will employ many new graphic artists, designers and programmers.
  11. Connected Intelligent Objects using chips, microsensors and both wired and wireless networks will create a rapidly growing “Internet of things” sharing real-time data, performing diagnostics, and making remote repairs. Many jobs will be created as we add intelligent connected sensors to bridges, roads, buildings, homes and much more. By 2020, there will be well over a billion machines talking to each other and people will install them.
  12.  Advanced Robotics and Automation will take a giant leap forward thanks to networked sensors, artificial intelligence, and Siri-like voice communications, taking the next level of repetitive jobs from humans. This will create many new career opportunities from design, programming, and installation to service and maintenance, to name just a few.

You don’t have to know the physics of a telephone in order to use it.  You do have to know it exists and how to creatively use it to accomplish your goal. Don’t wait until next year, or the year after, or until you’re laid off. Invest the time to identify what you need to learn right away so that you will thrive both now and in the future, either in your current career or a new one.