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4IR Careers

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: where the only certainty is change

Technology is transforming our lives at a very fast pace. So fast that it brings more changes over the next 20 years than it did over the last 200 years combined. This is the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)… and YOU are a part of it!

Those in the know predict at least half of the careers which are common today will fall away as a result of the fast pace of technological development and growing artificial intelligence. Have you considered the 4IR in your career planning? If not, now is a good time to start!

Career possibilities and opportunities

The 4IR will open up new opportunities and redefine traditional careers in exciting new ways. In preparation for the changes that are coming our way, here are five examples of careers that could become your reality:

Remote work

Covid-19 arrived like an unwanted guest, but it also opened up the possibility of remote work as a permanent option. More people are working from home and taking up opportunities from all over South Africa, and even globally. Be open to developing skills that would open doors for you to work remotely for companies that are not only based in South Africa from the comfort of your own home.

Anything IT

Since technology is evolving so fast, a career in IT would be one way for you to keep up with the technological developments. Even if you don’t choose a career in IT, you still need to keep up with these developments so that you are not left behind in any work environment


Traditional school as we know it and higher education will change in the 4IR. Education won’t ever fall away but the way we are educated is now no longer dependent on being at a school every day. Subject choices are changing and can include anything from tourism to equestrian studies depending on which curriculum you choose. Attending a bricks and mortar school is also no longer essential – there are many distance learning opportunities now which mean you can learn from even the remotest place.


Artificial intelligence can do many things, but it can’t report on relevant events and stories without any human intervention. There will always be a need for frontline reporters to keep people informed!


The systems set up for getting cargo from point A to point B are getting more sophisticated by the day. But, actually moving – for example – 50 newly manufactured cars from Cape Town to Gauteng will require planning and negotiating that artificial intelligence can’t match.

Preparing for a career in the 4IR

There are three important things you can do to prepare for a career in this new era:

Develop your flexibility: your career doesn’t need to be static

In this ever-changing world we live in, it is safe to say that the days of choosing one career and staying in the same job for 40 years is over. Prepare to learn, grow and be flexible to move with the times – wherever you find yourself.

Explore and develop all your interests

You may very well find yourself at a crossroads in your career. If you have more than one interest – like soccer and baking – you could easily move into a new direction without taking a step or two back. You’ll also build a wider perspective of the world.

Accept the fact that the traditional South African dream is outdated

The traditional dream of finishing school, getting a higher education, settling in a job, marrying your high school sweetheart and having two children is old-fashioned and unrealistic. Many young adults are too busy building their careers to worry about settling down. Many won’t be able to afford to buy a house. Those who do settle often choose to not have children until a much later stage and then only have one child.

It’s impossible to predict where we will be in 20 years’ time. What we can do is stay positive, keep learning and embrace these changes. See the future as exciting and watch a world of possibilities open up in front of you – there are career choices which lie ahead in jobs which have not even been invented yet!

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