By 2030, about half of today’s jobs will be gone.
BY LOUISE LEE
In the future, a traditional college degree
will remain useful to build fundamental
skills, but after graduation, workers will be
expected to continue their education
throughout their careers. Workers,
for instance, may increasingly pursue
specific job-oriented qualifications or
applied credentials in incremental steps
in flexible, lower-cost programs, says Jeff
Maggioncalda, chief executive of online
learning company Coursera.
Maggioncalda, who received his MBA
from Stanford GSB in 1996, spoke at “The
Future of Work,” an all-day symposium held
last year at Stanford’s Frances C. Arrillaga
Alumni Center. Speakers explored the
changing workplace, new possibilities for
higher education, and technology’s impact
on careers and industries. The event,
attended by about 300 people, was presented
by Stanford Career Education and OZY EDU,
the education arm of online magazine OZ Y.
Following are some of the ideas discussed
at the event, which included keynote
speeches, panel discussions, and a hands-on
workshop on career and life planning.
THE LIBERAL ARTS
Students are hesitating to major in the
humanities and social sciences out of fear
that those degrees will lead only to low-wage
jobs, says Harry Elam, Jr., Stanford’s senior
vice provost for education. Yet those
fields remain crucially important to industry.
Companies need liberal arts students to
help understand biases in data, facilitate
collaboration, bring insight, provide
historical perspective, and “humanize
technology in a data-driven world,” he says.
For instance, machines should not only
function but should also optimize human
welfare. What if a self-driving car needs to
go faster than the speed limit to avoid an
accident? Should that car be allowed to break
the law? These kinds of questions of the new
digital economy “all require diversity of
thought, diversity of approach, and diversity
of background to address these complex
issues,” Elam says.
Those who major in the humanities or
social sciences, especially fields like
philosophy and public policy, can easily
develop transferable skills that employers
value, says Trent Hazy, a current student at
Illustration by Carlos Arrojo