If you're anything like me, when you think back to 2002, it doesn't really seem like that long ago. But when you think about how much innovation has taken place over the past 15 years, it's a clear reminder of how far we've really come. The widespread adoption of the internet, smartphones, social media, big data, cloud computing and other technologies over the past decade and a half have not only changed the lives of consumers — they've also opened up a whole new world of job opportunities.
These fifteen jobs below may not have been around in the early aughts, but what they lack in history they make up for in demand. Apply to one of them, and you'll truly be able to say that you're living in the future.
With the majority of today’s major social networks still just a twinkle in their founder’s eyes — Facebook wasn’t founded until 2004, Twitter in 2006 and Instagram in 2010 — looking for a Social Media Manager job in 2002 would have been a futile attempt. Today, however, it’s a booming career field, with an average salary of $57,802 and over 18k job openings.
While the term “data science” has been around since the 1960s, the role as we know it today — collecting, cleaning and interpreting large data sets — didn’t take off until the mid- to late-2000s. Compare that to 2017, where it’s one of the hottest careers out there — in fact, it was ranked the Best Job in America for the past two years. And with a median base salary of $110,000, a job satisfaction score of 4.4 out of 5 and thousands of open jobs, it’s no wonder why.
Personally, I can’t imagine life without podcasts like Reply All, Invisibilia and Serial, but they really are a recent innovation. The idea of internet-hosted audio shows is rooted in the 1980s, but mainstream adoption didn’t take place until late 2004. Today, podcasts aren’t just a popular form of entertainment — they’re a bonafide business, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars. As a Podcast Producer, you can get in on some of that cash!
With how pervasive smartphones are in our society today — used for everything from email to entertainment to the job search — it’s mindblowing to think that they only reached critical mass in 2007 with the release of the iPhone. Even then, it took another year for the App Store to be released. Today, you’d be hard pressed to find an established tech, retail or media company that doesn’t have a mobile app. And the ones who make it all happen are Mobile App Developers, who are handsomely rewarded for their work — the average Mobile App Developer pulls in $100,844.
5. Lyft Driver
Whether you’re looking to supplement your income or make a living, gig economy roles like Lyft Drivers are becoming increasingly popular. Yet it’s only been in the past five years that ridesharing apps like Lyft took off. Flexible schedules, generous bonuses and being your own boss are just some of the perks that come with being a Lyft Driver.
6. Anything to do with Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is now one of the biggest buzzwords out there, but back in 2002, it was only beginning to become widespread in the business world. Since then, big data and faster computing speeds have sparked an AI revolution. Now, there are a number of jobs created by the AI field, such as AI Engineer, AI Project Manager and even AI Chatbot Copywriter.
Businesses like Glassdoor, founded in 2007, have led to unprecedented levels of transparency in the job seeking process. And with competition for talent fierce, many brands recognize that they need to take action to cultivate and share their employment brand. Since the term first reached widespread awareness in the early 2000s, more and more companies have brought in full-time hires dedicated solely to managing their employment brand.
If you asked somebody what “the cloud” was in 2002, they would be much more likely to respond with something about those white fluffy things in the sky than the IT model so many businesses rely on today. Most cloud platforms were not launched until the mid- to late- 2000s, but today, the demand for it has skyrocketed — along with the demand for talented Cloud Architects. Pursue this career path and you could pull in an average of $142,141.
9. SEO Analyst
Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) Analysts were unheard of back in 2002 when search engines themselves were only beginning to enter the popular lexicon, but fast forward 15 years and it’s practically a must-have role at any company. Responsible for ensuring that online audiences can find their company’s content through organic searches, these professionals pull in an average of $55,155 a year.
The term “technical evangelist” was kicked around throughout the 90s, but it wasn’t until the rise of mobile apps in the late 2000s that developer evangelism — the art and science of encouraging the adoption of and development on a given technology — truly took off. Developer Evangelists often get to attend trade shows, network with the best minds in their industries and work with developers on exciting new projects, all while bringing in an average of $114,844 per year.
Content Moderators are tasked with sifting through user-generated content in order to ensure that it upholds a company’s standards, but back in 2002, when the U.S. was still getting accustomed to the internet, the demand for this position just wasn’t there yet. Today, Content Moderators make up a significant percentage of the workforce at companies like Facebook, Youtube and even Glassdoor.
There’s nothing better than a work from home day — no commute, no rush to get out the door, no need to even change out of your pajamas if you don’t feel like it. But without the advancements that took place in the early 2000s in the fields of cloud computing, video conferencing and widespread wireless internet, it would be a whole lot more difficult. In fact, positions like Virtual Assistant — who remotely perform administrative tasks for executives and other professionals — might not have been created at all.
On a similar note, the same advances that opened up the door for Virtual Assistants also made telemedicine possible. Telemedicine Physicians consult patients via video conferencing from the comfort of their own homes (or wherever else they choose to work). In a survey conducted by the Advisory Board, 19 percent of respondents had virtually consulted with a healthcare professional, and that number is only expected to grow — by 2022, the field could be worth $38 billion.
14. Anything in the field of Automated Driving
Even as recently as the early 2000s, self-driving cars seemed like little more than science fiction. But today, they’re very real indeed — in fact, I saw one driving around downtown San Francisco just a couple of months ago (albeit with someone behind the wheel as a safeguard). While there are no street legal, unmanned self-driving cars allowed on the road just yet, it’s only a matter of time with a crack team of Automated Driving Engineers, Self-Driving Car Testers and Automated Driving Scrum Masters on the case.
15. Content Marketer
Content Marketing as a practice is at least centuries old — many content marketers point to Poor Richard’s Almanack by Ben Franklin in 1732 to be one of the earliest examples — but the term wasn’t coined until 1996. From there, it took a while for it to be widely adopted by businesses, and therefore justify a dedicated position. Most experts agree that it wasn’t until the late 2000s, with the rise of social media, that content marketing hit the mainstream. But today, Content Marketer is a common position that can be found in companies of all different sizes, industries, geographies and more.