I am prone to ranting at people in their twenties, or younger about how they need to panic big time about job prospects. As I have a nice job, that pays ok, and I love, people never take me seriously. Here is why you should:
1) I’m naturally a workaholic, and highly motivated. I already have that as an advantage, and it’s a big one. If you can’t make yourself leap out of bed at 8AM on a Sunday to go do some work, you are at a disadvantage. I just got lucky here.
2) I’m just over 40, meaning I was 11-12ish when the first home computers hit the UK. As a result, I am a first generation programming geek. A few years older, and I’d be old enough to not have found them cool, a few years younger, and I’d have missed it. The ZX81 and its ilk forced me to learn programming from the ground up, with no help. This is another advantage.
3) I started an online business before steam, stardock, gamersgate etc. As a result, I sold direct because I didn’t have any other option. Thus I now have a very long-established site, business contacts, history, experience of selling online. If I’d started a few years later, I would have been tempted to just rely on portals, and I’d not be truly independent.
4) I got a free university education. Sorry to the kids now who are paying for theirs, I can’t help being the right age. Exactly the right age. A bit older, and there wouldn’t have been the push to go to uni, later and I may have skipped it due to cost. This is not going to change, except for the worse.
5) I started my business before china and india really went bananas with economic growth. I never had to worry about someone from china or india taking my job. Right now, I’d be VERY worried about that. Unlike people in the rich west, Indian and Chinese kids have parents who were in real poverty, and grandparents in extreme poverty. You bet your ass they will get pestered to get better grades than you.
6) I started work before robots got good. Robots now are very good. There is going to be NO work in warehouses or doing assembly line stuff soon. All those factory workers will HAVE to reskill to do something, and that may include doing what you do. I’ve got lucky yet again! I’m the right age for robots to help me in retirement, but not young enough that they take my job. Unless your job is creative, or involves direct people skills, are you really sure it will exist when you retire. If you are 20 now, will your job exist in 2061? because don’t pretend you can retire at 65 if you are 20 now. Don’t forget to factor in all those ex-warehouse guys working as robot technicians to make them even better each year… Say goodbye to warehouse, security patrol domestic and many military jobs.
7) Complexity. Things were simpler for my working life. I commanded serious money because I had an MCSE qualification as a network / IT engineer. That isn’t so rare now, and the tech is more complex. You need to know more stuff now, much much more.
8) The interweb. People everywhere on the planet can take your job now. Telepresecence, video conferencing, skype etc… I employ people all over the world. You don’t compete with other locals, but 7 billion people.
9) Property boom. I thought UK house prices were insane when we bought, but that was 10 years ago, and they have tripled since then. How young people can afford a house now is beyond me.
TL,DR: Study hard, and work your ass off. You need to. More than I needed to. Sorry!