Emerging New Jobs

(This is an on-going listing of new and emerging jobs I come across during my research. The entry date aims to give a time context. Each entry also has a short-hand for what area the job relates: AI for Artificial Intelligence, CC for climate change etc.) 


(CC) Carbon Accountant (entered on 28 November 2023)

I encountered this job in a recent article  of the MIT Technology Review. Emergence of it is both surprising and not surprising because there is a growing demand for calculating carbon used, emitted, not emitted, or sucked out of the air. This is likely to become an in-demand job as the need to calculate the carbon footprints of countries, companies, cities, and even individuals grow.

According to New Zero Tracker, over 1000 companies, 151 countries, and 261 cities have net zero targets. There is also growing interest in carbon dioxide removal (CDR) which depend on the correct calculation of the carbon that is collected by various natural and artificial methods. Then there is the international climate change agreements under which countries are to reduce their emissions which also require accurate calculations of emission reductions if are to take the pledging countries seriously. The importance of carbon accounting gets more complex within the various Greenhouse Gas (GHG) trading mechanisms that exist: the trading parties need to have proof of what they are selling, or buying, in the trade for it to be valid. As a result there is need for an army of carbon accountants. Hence it is only surprising that this job, Carbon Accountant, is only recently coming to the fore. Rather than a new and emerging job it should have been one that existed since the late 1980s when scientists started telling us about the effect of all the fossil fuels we are burning without abandon. 

What does a Carbon Accountant do? S/he understands the dynamics of the carbon cycle and climate change, knows how to look for and analyze relevant data, have some science background, and a knowledge of existing carbon calculation systems such as the GHG Protocol developed by World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Knowing this Protocol is especially important because it is already incorporated into numerous national and regional laws, as well as being used by many companies. So if you decide you want to become a Carbon Accountant, people will assume you are well familiar with the GHG Protocol. Although it is an emerging job, already there are numerous certification courses for this job including one from the World Bank. Salary range I saw is between 40K and 100K but this information was not too clear.

(AI) PROMPT ENGINEER (entered on 19 November 2023)

Emergence of this job corresponds to public availability of AI systems, especially ChatGPT. I heard it first mentioned in an interview Bill Gates had on his podcast “Unconfuse Me” with Dr. Yejin Choi. Dr. Choi is a computer science professor at the University of Washington. Also, she is a senior research director at the Allen Institute for AI. She has received a MacArthur Genius Fellowship.

Wikipedia defines a prompt engineering as “.. the process of structuring text that can be interpreted and understood by a generative AI model”. So this is about asking questions in a way that an AI system understands and responds. Wikipedia’s history for this job starts with 2021. It is not clear how long it will remain as a hot new job. Generative AI systems are getting more sophisticated fast. How you ask your question to ChatGPT or Siri soon may not matter. It will understand even if your question is incoherent.

Already there are “types” of prompting. This new job is becoming systematized, categorized, structured, and specialized. What qualifications are necessary for this job? Knowledge of computer sciences, computer programming, and understanding of machine learning. It also requires good communication skills. The best fit would be someone with a degree in English literature and Programming. English literature majors take some programming classes, quick! The job collects a 6-figure income ranging from 130K to 300K.  


(CC) CHIEF HEAT OFFICER (entered on 20 November 2023)

Florida’s Miami-Dade County was first to create Chief Heat Officer (CHO) back in 2021. The job holder coordinates efforts to protect residents of a city from impacts of extreme heat and heat stress.

The Wikipedia entry lists several other cities with a CHO. The list includes Athens (Greece), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Los Angeles (USA), and Melbourne (Australia) with a CHO in the city government. All current CHOs are women. The Resilience Center (Rockefeller Foundation) partially funds this initiative.

Other cities are likely to follow suit given the Northern hemisphere had its hottest summer in 2023 (115+ degrees F for days or weeks in Arizona, parts of India, and China). A similar summer is expected in the Southern Hemisphere.

Qualifications for this position include experience with climate change, and skills in communication, organization and management. Here is the job description that Freetown, Sierra Leone used for its CHO search in 2021.

This is a city government job so the salary range would be different for different cities.  






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About Zehra Aydin 14 Articles
Retired UN staff; expert in sustainable development, SDGs, UN system and international environmental negotiations; writing on climate change, inequality, technology and the UN; teaching sustainable development and corporate social responsibility

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