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Gen Z is different. We create our own narratives sitting in our bedroom. It’s an interconnected world of login and logout where we turn to technology for almost everything. Gone are the days when you were deemed a misfit for thinking out of the box. Gen Z is quickly discarding traditional jobs and coming up with ways to stand out. We were born in a time when connections can be easily made, reaching across is easier, and the internet has become a miracle that can change your entire perspective and lead you through unexpected doors. We’re growing up tech savvy, we’re our own marketing experts, and we’ve all been developing a personal brand on social media. We are living and driving rapid change while picking and choosing our own terms in the buffet of careers flowing in a stream of opportunities. Gen Z can pursue their ambitions from anywhere at any time, without any physical restrictions.
Gen Z is quickly discarding traditional jobs and coming up with ways to stand out.
In the spirit of all this, here’s a list of 7 offbeat careers Gen Z must explore:
1. Ethical Hacker
“To beat a hacker, you have to think like one” – Ethical Hacking Council
Computer experts are often hired by companies to hack into their system to find vulnerabilities and weak endpoints so that they can be fixed. People who hack into a system with permission, without any malicious intent, are known as ethical hackers and the process is known as ethical hacking. An ethical hacker’s primary purpose is to view security from the adversary’s perspective in an effort to find vulnerabilities that could be exploited by someone from the outside. This provides defensive teams the opportunity to mitigate the problem by devising a patch before a real attack can occur, they also look more broadly for weaknesses that can be exploited deep within a network or application, such as data exfiltration vulnerabilities.
To become an ethical hacker a candidate must understand networks, both wired and wireless. They must be proficient with operating systems, especially Windows and Linux. They need to understand firewalls and file systems. They must know how file permissions work and be familiar with servers, workstations, and computer science generally. The two certifications that are specific to ethical hacking are Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP). A bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field is a good place to start your career. Computer science or network engineering education provides a recommended foundation for work in the security field. When considering a bachelor’s program in the field of cybersecurity, give priority to programs with a strong interdisciplinary focus.
2. Pet Groomer
Pets needs as much care as infants do. It’s a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously. Modern day life brings busy schedules that leave us with little time for much else. Here is where pet groomers can offer a helping hand. Skilled pet groomers know the grooming standards for all breeds of dogs, understand small-animal anatomy and know how to spot changes in a pet’s hygiene that might indicate a health concern.
There is no specific educational requirement for becoming a pet groomer, although training programs are available through online courses and some vocational schools. Experience, more than formal training, is often considered the most important factor when customers are choosing a pet groomer. Pet groomers who wish to run their own salons may benefit from some training in the basics of business management.
The demand for professional dog grooming services is projected to increase by 11% from 2014 to 2024 – faster than the average for all occupations. This represents one of the largest growth opportunities available as the pet care industry continues to expand, giving you many possibilities to start a pet grooming career or pursue other animal-related careers.
3. Game Designer
A game designer is the creative driver responsible for bringing a game to life. They are generally a cross between a writer, artist, and programmer. A game designer conceptualizes game plots and storylines, levels and environments, character interactions, and other creative aspects. It’s their job to work with other specialists – such as developers, artists, and others – to communicate ideas and then project manage those ideas through to game production.
An understanding of programming languages and software programs such as 3D Max and Maya is equally important. Game development requires clarity in presentation of ideas, both verbally and on paper, for which you need basic visual design and drawing skills.
Depending on the situation, game designers can specialize in a particular game element, and can work among a team of others for a commercial or independent game development company. They can even work on their own – conceiving, creating, programming, and publishing their own titles.
4. Social Media Influencer
Influencers are individuals who have essentially established personal credibility in a specific area or industry. To be successful they need to have access to an audience, preferably a large audience; which is the source of their ‘influence’. Today, this form of marketing has become the most favored tool among brands to promote their products and services online. Earlier, social media was known as a platform to connect socially, but now, it has become a mode of income for many. Almost every major industry has seen a tremendous rise in influencers, and brands are leaning towards influencers now more than ever.
Degrees don’t matter in this line of work as much as credibility and relatability. Increasingly, influencers are driving brand awareness, brand affinity, and growth as reflected in metrics such as social and web traffic, content, and sales.
The very first step to developing a career as a social media influencer is to select your niche and start posting relevant, high-quality posts, videos, stories, and carousels on your social media page. This will ensure a timely and impactful message that resonates with your audience and followers.
5. Professional Gamer
A professional gamer is a full-time competitive player who is ultimately paid to play video games to a high level of standard. Most professional players are paid by sponsors and their teams to play in the biggest eSports tournaments on a global scale. There are additional incentives for everyone, such as large prize pay-outs. Large monetary payouts are a normal occurrence for big eSports events or other gaming events.
The overall aim for a professional gamer looking to fully achieve pro status is to win tournaments and achieve a big sponsorship deal. This is where the branding and big money is within pro gaming.
The job takes the same amount of daily practice and dedication that is required of a professional athlete. If you’re a natural at games, spend hours repeating the same level until you’ve mastered it, and have wicked-fast reflexes, then a professional gaming sponsorship may be calling your name.
6. Travel Blogger
A travel blogger has become the new-age journalist who takes us places. Travel blogging is a gig that unlocks freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to travel the world and make money by providing travel tips to readers. A travel blogger travels to a destination country in order to obtain exciting, informative experiences which they will then share on their blog site. They will also usually be required to upload good quality photography to illustrate their pieces.
Although the actual process of travelling and blogging does not result in any form of salary, revenues can be obtained from a variety of methods such as advertising or sponsorships. Often, a hotel may contact a blogger and offer them a free stay in exchange for a positive feature about their property. Other companies may offer the blogger free travel equipment, or simply purchase banner advertising on the site. Additionally, completed features hosted on the blog can be offered to print media who will publish travel stories in exchange for cash.
There are no academic requirements for travel blogging, just experience. In fact, many people choose this option because they lack sufficient qualifications, often travelling during university breaks, or to gather experience working in different territories, thereby adding to the experience on their CV.
7. Food Taster
A food taster is a professional whose main task is to taste food that was prepared by someone else with the purpose of testing for safety or specific characteristics. They do this by taking a small bite out of a certain food and focusing on its key components. They usually avoid swallowing the food and use water to clean their palates between samples.
Whether you’re going the professional route or that of a part-time amateur, you must have sensory acuity – a superior sense of taste and extensive knowledge of foods and ingredients. If you’re interested in becoming a professional food taster, you’ll most likely need a degree in food science or the culinary arts. A nutrition degree can also be helpful, as well as a work experience in product development at a food or beverage company. This means you can identify, for instance, the sugar, salt, or acid levels in various products, and articulate this information to others. One can improve their odds of being successful in the role by undertaking palate training courses.
Career Ahead, the flagship handle of Career Ahead Magazine, is dedicated to molding the next generation of professionals and entrepreneurs. Our mission is to educate and inspire today's ambitious minds to become the icons of tomorrow. As the ultimate tool and resource, we cater to young students, budding entrepreneurs, and innovative startups, providing them with the knowledge and inspiration needed to navigate their paths to success. Through in-depth articles, insightful analysis, and inspiring stories, Career Ahead empowers its readers to forge their futures in the ever-evolving world of work and enterprise.