As technology advances at a rapid rate, more and more jobs will become obsolete. Many people believe that their job will always be relevant, but in truth, very few jobs are immune to this phenomenon. In fact, in the next 15 years, there is a strong possibility that many of today’s careers will no longer exist in their current form. The following five jobs are just some of the careers that might disappear by 2030.
1. Phone operators
No, not the customer service phone operators you deal with every day. The phone operator was a career that existed before computers were even invented. In fact, it was one of the first forms of actual data entry jobs in history. In simple terms, phone operators worked in call centers and would physically plug wires into boards.
Unfortunately, the invention of the computer made this career obsolete almost overnight. Today there are virtually no call center jobs that still exist in their original form, and most companies have moved towards automated customer service options. The last company with a significant number of phone operator positions was AT&T, which finally let their last operators go in 2004.
2. Travel agents
Before the internet, a travel agent could help a family plan an entire vacation from beginning to end. They would research flights and hotels, find cheap tickets, and book everything for you. Today, people can do all that on their own from the comfort of their own homes. In a world where everything is at our fingertips, very few people see the need to call a travel agent for help.
The only part of the job that has survived is the actual booking of flights and hotels, but even that can now be done from your phone or computer. To be fair, there are still a few people who treat travel agents as the one-stop-shop for all their vacation needs, but if this trend continues they will likely be replaced by personal concierge services instead.
3. Traffic light operators
In an age where computers can control virtually everything, it’s hard to imagine that traffic lights still have human operators from start to finish. In fact, most cities still have a person who sits in a small building and manually changes the lights for every intersection.
The job is very tedious and requires fast reflexes to avoid accidents on a busy road. Yet despite all their hard work, these operators are completely obsolete when it comes to traffic management. Many major cities now have “smart” traffic light systems that monitor the roads and dynamically change according to traffic patterns.
4. Data entry clerks
One of the most common forms of modern data entry is when you complete a survey on your phone or computer, and it asks if you want to participate in a promotion for store credit in return for some information. If you accidentally hit the wrong button, you will get an angry message asking why you did not participate. These messages are sent by data entry clerks, who type everything into their computer, check it for errors, and then send out the final version to the people that need it.
As computers continue to grow more advanced at a rapid rate, this job is getting closer to becoming obsolete every day. Today there are many applications that can do these jobs in seconds, and most people prefer to use them instead of writing out the same message over and over again. If our smartphones ever become advanced enough, they will likely be able to send these messages themselves without any human intervention needed.
Cashiers are one of the most common positions today. You can’t use a credit or debit card to buy almost anything, which means that every store needs at least one person to handle money. This career has stood the test of time since you still need someone to help make transactions.
Unfortunately for cashiers, there’s a new technology on the horizon called “automated retail machines” that are poised to replace them. These machines will allow you to pay for your items without ever interacting with another human being direct. They may not have the same level of intelligence as highly trained professionals, but they could be just enough to steal jobs away from one of the biggest workforces today.
The future is still undecided, but many jobs could be replaced by technology at some point in the near future. While it’s always good to have a backup plan, you should think about what you would do if your profession became obsolete and how you might prepare for such a possibility.