This is the subject Elon Musk says young people need to study to be successful in the future
What advice would billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk give to young people who want to be successful? Simple: study physics.
The SpaceX and Tesla co-founder was speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai.
Musk and the summit Chairman, His Excellency Mohammad Al Gergawi, discussed the future of artificial intelligence, space travel, autonomous vehicles and the world’s growing need for energy, all of which require people with advanced scientific knowledge.
Musk said: “My advice is, if you want to make progress in things, the best analytical framework… is physics.”
“I’d recommend studying the thinking process around physics. Not just the equations – the equations are certainly very helpful – but the way of thinking in physics. It’s the best framework for understanding things that are counterintuitive.”
Musk’s comments reflect the concerns of others in industry and government who fear a technology skills shortage as older staff retire and there are not enough younger people to replace them.
According to the European Union’s vocational training agency Cedefop, member states are experiencing shortages in information and communications technologies, medicine, engineering and mathematics – all careers that require specialized STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) knowledge.
Additionally, more industries – from banking to architecture and plumbing – are finding they are increasingly moving into a high-tech environment. The biggest department in Domino’s, for example, is the IT department, which has led the company to redefine itself as an “e-commerce company that sells pizza”.
Competition and confusion
This blurring of traditional lines is leading to some confusion over what is, and isn’t, a STEM profession.
A US Bureau of Labor report in 2015 into STEM workers said: “Depending on the definition, the size of the STEM workforce can range from 5% to 20% of all US workers. Although fields such as computer programming and mechanical engineering are generally considered STEM fields, there is less consensus on areas such as medicine, architecture, science education, social sciences, and blue-collar manufacturing work.”