5 new jobs in 2016 that didn’t exist a decade ago

Oct 21, 2016 08.02PM |

by Wan Ting Koh

IT’S no longer all about grades.

New technologies have made it such that more possibilities are being created in the job market – and these jobs require skills that come not just from good grades, but from actively learning and acquiring new skills from beyond the classroom.

Some jobs are so new, that even though you can turn to traditional courses and majors to learn basic skills, the coursework doesn’t fully prepare you for the demands of the job. With the SkillsFuture scheme however, workers are offered a chance to keep learning, even while on the job. To encourage continuous learning, workers aged 25 and above are given $500 worth of credits to take Workforce Development Authority (WDA)-approved courses, which include programming.

Some of the jobs that require new skills would not have existed some 10 years ago, here are five of them:


1. Mobile app developer

The advent of mobile applications, or apps for short, only came about with the rise of smart mobile devices. However, most apps you see on your phone today often have a team of app developers behind the work.

App developer Calixto Tay Wei Kiat, 28, co-founder of mobile app development company Originally Us, said that creating an app includes different people in charge of the user experience, interface, security, the backend codes, both Android and iOS platforms and even security. He brought over his coding skills from his former job as an IT consultant and applied it in this newer sector. 

“Apps are tools that immediately help and bring convenience to people. Apps are not for things that we haven’t seen before, just that now we have the technology to do it,” said Mr Tay. He added that a great sense of satisfaction came from knowing that people use his apps and benefit from them. 


2. Social media writer

With companies increasingly using social media to reach out to customers, it’s no wonder that companies have started hiring social media writers to handle the platforms. The job is a mix of public relations, corporate communications, and digital marketing to create brand awareness.

It helped that Ms Donna Louise, a 25-year-old social media writer, was already obsessed with social media, such as Snapchat and Tumblr, before she landed a job handling it. Now she deals with Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis, uploading marketing content and providing live updates about company events. “I had to learn how to navigate algorithms, marketing based skills, HTML and how to handle electronic direct mail tools such as MailChimp,” she said. 

With social media, interacting with customers becomes a whole new level as there is a more direct and faster connection, she said. “The mechanism has never been so in your face,” Ms Louise added. 


3. Data scientist

They aren’t statisticians, neither are they data analysts. “Data scientist” is the new vogue term for those who handle vast amounts of data for a living. They identify patterns and create new solutions with big data through coding or engineering.

The title was first coined in 2008 and meant to describe those who are “better statisticians than your average programmer and… better programmers than your average statistician”, to borrow words that LinkedIn’s principal data scientist Pete Skomoroch’s came across.

For Mr Thia Kai Xin, a data scientist behind e-commerce site Lazada, the entry into data science was a gradual one. The 29-year-old said that he never planned to enter data science as a job. For him, he began learning the basics in school, from Bayes theorem and linear regression. These skills he applied in real life when he taught a computer through coding to solve problems for his job. 

“The demand was always there. The technology was not. It took a long time for technology to be powerful enough to crunch large amounts of data… data science is a necessity to survive in this competitive and connected new world,” said Mr Thia. 

His advice to data science hopefuls? Begin by spending an hour a day covering the basics of machine learning and statistics. He throws out online courses you can take from Coursera and edX. Don’t be shy to seek help from forums too, he adds. 


4. Professional blogger

Netizens may think that a blogger’s life is all thrill and fun but it comes with its own skillset too, whether in fashion, food or parenting. And with the introduction of other social media platforms, bloggers have had to up their game to reach out to fans.

For full-time fashion blogger Melissa Koh, 27, social media means that her job is 24/7, be it pushing out content on her blog or posting pictures on Instagram. “Live updates have become the name of the game,” she said. Another well-known Instagram blogger, Andrea Chong, was recently profiled in TODAY, where she said that she did her own marketing, business development and public relations team.

Skills that such bloggers gain from their work include photography and photo-editing, along with some basics in HTML. For Andrea, the process of selecting and editing photos, using apps like Afterlight, Beautycam, and Snapseed, and planning the layout of her Instagram feed occupies most of her time.

Freelancer Maureen Ow, 30, who owns popular food blog Miss Tam Chiak said that blogging sometimes involved learning the whole works. “Now in the digital age, you do everything yourself, the platform, the photography, the visualisation and the write-up,” she said. Ms Ow transitioned from using a digital camera to a DSLR in her job and is considering learning video and photo editing in the future. 


5. Uber driver

They are like taxi drivers. But not really.

Uber first came to Singapore in 2013 and targeted drivers who already had their own cars, or could rent them. Even though Uber drivers have basically the same job of ferrying passengers from one point to the other, one thing that stands out in their job is the use of technology, which is actually necessary in their line of work. 

The entire premise of Uber pivots on the use of the Uber app, which connects Uber drivers to their passengers. Uber drivers, whose locations are visible to the passenger through the app, accept jobs from passengers whose locations are pinpointed through geo-location features on their devices.

The Uber driver’s job is also made easier since they don’t have to handle cash transactions. Passengers pay via their debit or credit card, which they have to key in the details of, before they can start using the app.


This article is part of a series on SkillsFuture, in collaboration with MOE and SSG. Read the other pieces here:

1. Poly vs Private degrees: It’s not the money that matters

2. Private degrees: data needs to tell a fuller skills story 

4. SMACK IN THE MIDDLE: Keys to success

5. 5 skills employers want you to have in tomorrow’s job market

6. Don’t underestimate ‘soft skills’ in your career

7. 50 Faces: What is success to you?


Featured image by Natassya Diana.

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