Forbes has a collection of possible green jobs which have a future in the coming years.
The greening of industry is creating a constellation of new careers, and they’re not your everyday forestry professions. Many of them are environmental twists on old professions, like law, or in Makower’s case, journalism. Others are engineering careers tied to research in renewable technologies like wind energy and ethanol production. For instance:
— Emissions brokers: In a market economy, credits to emit greenhouse gases can be traded on an exchange, and brokers facilitate the deal. If the U.S. ever moves to a mandatory trading system, expect this field to boom.
— Bio-mimicry engineers: This new branch of science uses Mother Nature as a model for solving engineering problems. For example, Atlanta’s Sto Corp. created a self-cleaning paint that repels dirt whenever it gets wet, just like the lotus leaf does.
— Sustainability coordinators: Corporations from AstraZeneca to Wal-Mart are now employing managers to oversee the economic and environmental components of company efforts.
— Green architects: With an increasing focus on energy-efficient buildings, a growing number of architects and developers are getting certified to become specialists in green design.
Universities–particularly business schools–also see opportunity. Schools such as Stanford, the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina and the University of Michigan offer joint M.B.A./environmental science masters degrees. Derrick Bolton, director of admissions at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, says many students are taking positions with corporations that have a commitment to the environment.
Makower’s advice to students pursuing a green job is to learn all they can about business. The most exciting things are happening in product design, research and development, manufacturing, and buildings and grounds. “If you go into the environmental part of a company, you become ghettoized,” he says.
The slideshow has more jobs. If you follow the jobs; a pattern emerges. A green job is not a new kind of job except say, a Sustainability Coordinator, but it is more of a twist on the old jobs. A emissions trader is a trader first; a bio-mimicry engineer is a engineer first and so on.
Makower has some good advice. It is important to gain a skill and then have a green tinge to it and not get pigeonholed into a environmental division. If the current trend continues then environmental/sustainability principles will become part of business (like quality standards, customer focus, financial analysis). Good design will have sustainability principles but there cannot be one ‘green designer’. In that sense, environmental divisions will become redundant. The environmental lens will become part of the other lenses used by executives.
Writing this blog post, I realise that I need to rethink of where I am going!