“When I grow up, I want to be…” My Take on Jobs of the Future

Two girls running across play ground

At education-related conferences this summer you can expect to hear a lot about helping American students be more ready for college and careers. Accordingly, there is tremendous interest in forecasting what types of careers will be of ​most importance to our society and economy.

In fact, according to the World Bank, research indicates that only one in five of today’s elementary students will find a job that exists today. Maybe it is a lot like a few decades ago when I do not recall seeing many job ​ads for PC start-ups in Silicon Valley, and a young and unknown Steve Jobs dreamed of making a personal computing device for the masses, not just reserving them​ for large corporations that could afford mainframe systems and data-centers the size of a small elementary school. Jobs’ legendary drive and innovation shook up a few industries.

I care about this matter for ​more than professional​ reasons. With three sons in the Binford house, our dinner table conversations often focuses on the topic of “when I grow up, I want to be…” And while we often hear about being a lawyer, a broadcaster, a doctor, a vet, or a professional basketball player* (to be fair, I threw that last one in*)​,​ the real fun begins when the conversation ventures into careers where our kids might just be pioneers in a future that is not too far away — this future might include dreaming of becoming moon farmers, AI-aided tele-surgeons, 3D printer chefs, or maybe even robot counselors!

This and other important topics will be covered at the 2015 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), which ​is tak​ing​ place in Philadelphia from June 28-July 1​;​ I’m excited to be moderating ​a “spotlight session” on the 30th that will discuss the jobs in the future our kids will compete for against kids from all around a​n​ “even flatter world​,​” and reimagining learning and the use of education-technology that better prepares students for careers that do not yet fully exist. I think facilitating this session may be a challenge, but clearly, it is also a privilege.

​Hope to see you there!


We look forward to imagining the future with you during the 2015 ISTE Convention in sessions and at our booth. To let us know what you think about careers of the future, please take our short poll on our ISTE website. You can also find information about sessions we are holding and what will be happening at our booth. Or join the conversation on Twitter at #ICanImagine.



About the Author
Alfred Binford

Alfred Binford

Joining Pearson in late 2014 as Managing Director of Assessment & Direct Delivery in North America, Alfred Binford now leads Pearson’s sales and business development activities for State and National Services, Clinical Assessment, and Connections Learning. He is focused on further developing Pearson’s comprehensive portfolio of assessments that help administrators, teachers, students, and parents improve education outcomes.

Alfred has over 25 years of experience in the technology and telecommunications industries and has led large teams across the U.S. and around the world. Most recently, Alfred served as CEO of Mycom North America. Before Mycom, he held senior leadership positions with Vodafone, Amdocs, and Unisys, where his work included driving business development and delivering on large K-20 contracts such as The California State University system, Chicago Public Schools, and Detroit Public Schools.