He said something similar in a 2016 interview with LinkedIn Editor In Chief Daniel Roth: People with backgrounds in science, engineering and economics will be "the agents of change for all institutions." He added that "a lot of careers in the future will be very demanding on those things."
This doesn't mean you have to be an expert "writing code," he said, but "basic knowledge of the sciences, math skills [and] economics" will help you out tremendously.
The reason these skills will create so much opportunity is because "we need better tools to deal with all these diseases worldwide," Gates said during the NYC panel. "Governments are having problems meeting all the needs out there, partly because health costs are exploding, and the only solution to that I see is innovation."
There are multiple paths to success, he noted, but "if science grabs you … that is where a lot of the opportunity comes from. The more you can learn the science, the more you'll see where that next opportunity is."
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Video by Jonathan Fazio