In only a few decades, many of today’s students will be working jobs that do not exist yet. The following five examples show how changes in technology and society are leading to new exciting opportunities and job titles for tomorrow’s urban professionals.

Rooftop Farmer

What started as a community activity in many cities across the world has now transitioned to a serious business opportunity. Urban agriculture brings food production close to where consumers are, vastly cutting down on transportation costs and CO₂ emissions.

Woman watering patches on a rooftop farm
Green land in airy hights: In the future, agriculture will increasingly migrate to metropolises.
Photo: Eagle Street Rooftop Farm

With the ambition to make our cities largely self-sufficient in the decades to come, city farms such as Brooklyn Grange in New York and GrowX in Amsterdam are using the latest technologies to intensify food production directly in the city. The challenge: Limited space in the city calls for innovative space hacking like vertical farms and for sustainable farming technology like aquaponics – a holistic farming method based on fish and plants.

the urban farm Brooklyn Grange in front of the skyline of Manhatten.
This will increase the need for farmers, who cultivate and harvest particularly on city’s rooftops.
Photo: Eagle Street Rooftop Farm

The recently opened QO Hotel Amsterdam is the first to employ a full-time rooftop farmer, who is responsible for making the hotel’s rooftop greenhouse aquaponics system deliver daily fish, vegetables and herbs to the restaurant. With the rising demand for locally grown food, why not get hired to work in a rooftop greenhouse?

In-vitro Butcher

The production of just one steak consumes an outrageous amount of resources, let alone land and water use. At the same time, the worldwide urbanization wave is leading to more and more mouths to feed in cities.

a group of men preparing prodcuts by Memphis Meats
In ordner to satisfy the rising demand for meat products …
Photo: Memphis Meats

Chances are that the future of dairy and meat production will not involve any animals at all. Silicon Valley gen-tech startup Memphis Meats has taken on a serious mission: bring lab-grown meatballs bred from stem cells to our dinner tables. Dairy company Perfect Day produces milk that looks and tastes like the real thing, but comes from a lab instead of a cow. In the future, you can expect your local butcher to be wearing a lab coat and holding a pipette instead of a knife.

woman preparing in-vitro meat in a lab.
… In-vitro Butchers relocate its production to the lab.
Photo: Perfect Day

Residential Community Manager

With humanity being more flexible and nomadic than ever before, loneliness is an increasing problem, especially among younger urban generations. Urbanites are looking for a new sense of belonging.

Co-living communities such as The Collective, NEST and PodShare are popping up in cities around the world. Not only do they offer students, young professionals and digital nomads a place to stay on very flexible terms, but they also take care of their residents’ social needs.

young people in a residential community
Community Managers organise all kinds of get-togethers in residential communities.
Photo: Tim Adler

This trend is opening up new career opportunities for the social butterflies among us. Community managers require a natural talent to make co-livers feel at home immediately after passing the doorstep with their suitcases. They organize events and social happenings to connect the people living within the walls of the building. Making new friends can be a struggle, so having someone cultivate interaction inside residential environments is becoming a skilled profession.

Drone Pilot

For generations, becoming a pilot has been considered a dream job for hopeful children around the world. Due to strict standards and training, few of them are able to follow through with their flying ambitions.

Things are now changing above our heads as the drone revolution is leading to new job opportunities for aspiring pilots — as long as they are fine with staying ground level. Latvian drone manufacturer Aerones is hitting the market with cleaning drones, wind turbine maintenance drones and even firefighting drones.

In the near future, your trusted cleaner, firefighter or postman may all be operating flying devices to complete important tasks in our cities.

a drone Pilot flying a drone
In future, Drone Pilots will operate tasks auch as maintenance work or fire fighting.
Photo: iStock / Onfokus

Circular Waste Collector

“Waste doesn’t exist” is the provoking slogan of a large, Dutch household garbage collecting company, and they are right.

Urban citizens produce huge amounts of trash every day. The challenge for upcoming years is to reduce waste and turn our linear system of resources into a circular one. Across the world, offline and online circular marketplaces are emerging.

man presenting a product made of recycled plastic
Circular Waste Collectors transform waste into new, valuable products …
Photo: Elise Gherlan

The Dutch initiative Insert connects discarded materials, previously known as waste, with new owners that can make use of it. German architect, Thomas Rau, goes one step further; his online library Madaster gives any material used in the construction of a building a unique passport so it can always be identified and reused for something else.

various products made from recycled plastic
… in order to turn our linear system of resources into a circular one.
Photo: Elise Gherlan

Dutch designer Dave Hakkens aims to eliminate plastic waste by empowering people around the world to turn old plastic into valuable new products. He also developed a series of easy-to-build machinery that he made available as open-source blueprints.

Waste stream managers and circular waste professionals will be in high demand in the near future.