When you think about the future, it's important to know your options. Companies of all types and sizes have interesting, and often unexpected, jobs that fit both your personal and professional interests. While pursuing your academic interests in school, keep an eye out for subjects and classes that you can't get enough of -- they often align closer with a dream job than you might think!
Check out how these people combined their personal interests with their professional talents to handcraft the perfect jobs for them.
Using Social Media, Gaming Technology to Help Customers
We all love a good hashtag. The power of social media in understanding needs and trends continues to be an area of opportunity for companies, and the socially savvy love being in the know. Observing social media mentions in real-time using a fun, engaging interface helps AT&T keep track of customer satisfaction and make improvements faster and more efficiently. Fatima Hanif worked with her AT&T colleagues to help develop a social media command center to do just that in her job!
The command center monitors Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other forms of social media for mentions of AT&T to see how people are reacting to new devices and services. The center was developed in partnership with a third-party game development firm, bringing in some exciting functionality from 3D gaming and animation. Each of the screens focuses on a different area, like real-time mentions, what's trending and what's happening in individual local markets.
Building Apps to Help Kids Learn How to Read
One of my favorite quotes is from Robert Half: “Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers." I am super inquisitive by nature and so I agree with Half that asking questions, even if the answers seem impossible, can lead to the most amazing discoveries. Just ask Taniya Mishra, who focused primarily on speech synthesis and speech analysis with AT&T. Mishra's computer science, math and speech technology degrees led to an exciting career creating entirely new solutions to common problems.
Mishra developed an app that uses text-to-speech technology to read children's stories aloud using computer-generated voices. The text from the books doesn't need to be pre-recorded; the sound is synthesized from the text on the fly. The computer uses a different voice for each character, so it's engaging for kids, and even highlights each word as it's spoken to boost reading and pronunciation skills.
Changing Lives and Improving Safety Through Technology
Peter Parker's (aka Spiderman's) uncle said, “With great power comes great responsibility" and I am so into how we, as a society, are learning how to leverage technology for the greater good. Researchers at AT&T laboratories use their backgrounds in math and science and their passions for innovation to change people's lives with technology on the job. Kevin Li worked to improve road safety with smart tech, like vibrating motors in car seats that warn drivers of potential dangers.
Li's job at AT&T would not have been possible without an education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). His advice to students who want to be technology leaders is to stay curious and get outside your comfort zone!
Fatima, Taniya and Kevin combined their skills and passions to define jobs that are perfect for them, and you can, too! Be open and don't be afraid to think inside the box, outside the box or even in another dimension. The majority of the jobs that will exist 10 years from now haven't even been created yet, and you may be the one to create them.*
*Institute for the Future 2017 Report: “Emerging Technologies' Impact on Society & Work in 2030."