Things to Consider if You Want to be a Futurist

So you have a friend who is thinking about undertaking a graduate degree in strategic foresight, maybe at the University of Houston’s program. It’s important that time is taken to make this important decision and that the following three considerations are made.

1.  The reasons for doing it.

A foresight graduate program is a major time commitment that involves a good deal of project-based work. For some extra practice in the University of Houston Master of Science in Strategic Foresight’s special forecasting technique, framework foresight, you might also consider engaging in an outside project (of which, the program offers a number of options). All of this to say, it isn’t a walk in the park (but it is super interesting and you will learn a lot). You’ll definitely want to consider what you’re long-term career and academic goals are and how you might apply the skills you learn in the degree program

2.  Futurists don’t predict the future.

You might have taken a cursory glance at the program’s title and thought, “gee predicting the future would be really awesome.” Sorry to disappoint. Although futurists help nonprofit organizations, governments and businesses sort through the noise to figure out possibilities for the future, a futurist who makes a “prediction” waves a red flag indicating she or he is not a futurist or foresight professional. Through highly structured methods of organizing huge amounts of data, futurists develop scenarios around specific important questions that clients ask. These scenarios allow clients to make plans that help avoid catastrophes, maximize the potential of advantageous situations or work toward a preferred future.

3. An Aspiring Futurist Will Find a Community of Inquisitive, Analytical Thinkers of the Impossible

That goes without saying. Individuals who want to go along a career path that focuses on thinking about sometimes unthinkable possibilities for the future march to the beats of their own drummers. Being a little different might be a prerequisite (and definitely an asset) for choosing a career as a consulting or organizational futurist.

These are just a few of the considerations to take when thinking about your possible future as a futurist. You also can also look at the website of the Association of Professional Futurists for more information about your potential journey toward becoming a foresight professional.

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