Technology is moving and evolving at such a quick pace that it’s almost impossible to predict what the technological landscape will look like 20 years down the road. This is a daunting prospect, especially for recent graduates and other young and ambitious people tasked with the arduous decision of where to take their first steps on their long and winding career path.
On the one hand, it is unreasonable to ask the next generation of workers to pick a field that interests them, study, and prepare for a rich and rewarding career when we know that the majority of today’s (and tomorrow’s) workers will change their career trajectory at least once – if not several times – over the course of their lives.
On the other hand, failing to adequately prepare to enter the workforce causes the would-be worker to end up ill-equipped to navigate the ever-changing landscape and, thus, condemning them to a life of sub-standard jobs at sub-standard wages.
The volatility in today’s job market is felt especially strong when it comes to tech and the various fields tech encompasses. Because technology and technological advancements have weaved their way into every facet of our lives – be they private, professional, or social – this means that, more than ever, it is possible for today’s worker to gain experience in and try out several different fields in a relatively short amount of time.
Tomorrow’s jobs will be based on tomorrow’s technology. But how can we prepare for them? How can we acquire the necessary tech skills that hasn’t even been developed yet?
In this short article, we’ll take a look at some of the key tech skills to watch to keep yourself employable, including the top skills employers look for in employees. The insights found in this article should help you to be prepared for whatever turn technology takes us on and ensure that you always have a choice of interesting and rewarding jobs, regardless of the field or fields you venture into.
A Great Prospect Is a Great Learner
Link to the royalty-free image by Jamie Street here
While every job in every sector of activity comes with its own unique challenges and skillsets or personal attributes that help someone excel at the position, there does exist one commonality among them all – any job at any company in any sector of activity will require the worker to learn and assimilate new information. This fact is so obvious that we often don’t stop to consider all the implications behind it.
While we can’t say with any degree of certainty what the next great software system will be, what app will come along and revolutionize the market, revolutionize what we do and how we do it, we can say with a 100% degree of certainty that whatever the next breakthrough will be, employees will be tasked with learning how to use it, how to optimize it, and how to best exploit its functions.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that your ability to learn, your capacity for new information – acquiring it, assimilating it, and exploiting it – is perhaps one of the most highly regarded skills sought after by recruiters and prospective employers.
The best way to prepare for future employment in a job market landscape that is ever-changing and ever-evolving is to be continuously learning. It doesn’t much matter what skills you learn or how – or even if – they might be of use. What’s important is that you build a demonstrable track record of learning.
What should jump out to recruiters and prospective employers looking at your resume is that you have a great capacity for learning, that you are intellectually curious, and can easily adapt to new information, new systems, and new ways of operating.
- Does your resume show that you possess a desire and willingness to learn?
- Does your resume show that you have successfully assimilated to new technologies and new structures?
- Will your resume inspire confidence in recruiters and prospective employers that you will be able to quickly and effectively navigate the changing landscape of their sector of activity and the technology they use?
The desire and ability to learn is the most important asset an employer can bring to a company. And, unfortunately, it is not a skill set that everyone possesses. Any academic course, training program, webinar, or tutorial you successfully complete – no matter what the subject matter is – should be highlighted on your resume and should be used to communicate to recruiters and prospective employers that there is no curveball you can’t hit out of the park.
What Continuous Training Says About You
- You are intellectually curious
- You are eager and able to learn new skills
- You are resilient and have the necessary drive and work ethic to see the process through from its inception to its successful completion
- You are not afraid to face the unknown; there are no borders to your comfort zone
- You will not be stalled or thwarted by new technology or even by radical changes to the work structure and processes
Should I Learn to Code?
In recent years, there has been a growing trend in web and app development known as low-code – or in some cases, no-code. In an attempt to make app development and software development more accessible and at the reach of nearly anyone, coding has almost been relegated to an archaic tool.
To build a website, for example, it used to be that you would need to be able to code. But we have since broken down the process into more manageable “blocks”, with drag and drop editors that allow us to treat web design much like a child plays with legos. Does this mean you shouldn’t worry about having to learn how to code?
It is true that coding is not as indispensable a skill as it was 5 to 10 years ago. On the other hand, because the necessity for coding has diminished greatly in recent years, this means that fewer and fewer people are going through the long – and sometimes frustrating – process of learning it. Since value is closely linked to scarcity, with fewer people knowing how to code, those who do see their value increase exponentially. There may not be as many jobs in coding as there once were, but there are also fewer candidates vying for those jobs.
Code is a language. And its value in the workplace can be viewed in a similar way as that of any language. Despite the prevalence and effectiveness of computer-assisted translation programs and the ubiquity of English used in business, a candidate who speaks a foreign language will naturally have an advantage over a candidate who doesn’t.
Even if the company sees no practical reason why they would need to use a second language, the candidate who knows another language, by definition, has also demonstrated that they possess the attributes the company is looking for in a recruit.
- The candidate is open-minded and examines a challenge from multiple points of view
- The candidate is intellectually curious
- The candidate has demonstrated a capacity and willingness to learn
- The candidate is able to assimilate new information, new processes, and different ways of thinking
In addition to these sought-after attributes, knowing how to code demonstrates that you have the ability to learn, which, as we’ve discussed, should be the driving principle behind the steps you take to ensure your long-term employability.
- Cyber Security – Data protection is frequently mentioned as a top priority when business leaders are surveyed on what their concerns are. The cloud offers additional measures to protect data – not the least of which is preventing them from being compromised through equipment failure, improper storage, or acts of god that could damage anything of a physical nature.
- Diminished Risk of Lost Data – Physical hardware is susceptible to damage and the files it stores can be lost forever (due to flood or fire, for example, or from theft). The cloud greatly diminishes this risk of lost data.
- Mobility – there’s a buzzword that shows no signs of going away any time soon. The cloud offers team members access to company data from anywhere and from virtually any device.
- Increased Collaboration – With increased mobility and access to files from anywhere comes the added increase of potential collaboration possibilities.
Being familiar with cloud technology – how it works, how to best use it, and where it is headed – can prove to be very helpful in landing and successfully navigating your next job. It is hard to predict just how long the technology will stay relevant, but we can be sure that the next technological advancement that attempts to solve solutions cloud computing currently seeks to address will have its roots in cloud computing.
Technological advancements don’t spring forth out of nowhere. Remember, technology isn’t “created”. It is “developed”. This distinction is important as it serves to remind us that one technological advancement leads to another. And learning about “outdated” technologies can still help us to understand the new iterations of the technology, and it can help us to better understand the shortcomings the latest development is trying to address.
The dream behind nearly any technological advancement past, present, and future: getting something to do that something we should be doing.
Currently, automation is a staple of CRM systems among other practical uses. In CRM systems, someone surfing the net can trigger an event – such as visiting a particular site or clicking on a particular icon. The event can set off a predetermined chain reaction designed in the automation.
Using automation in this way requires the programmer to try and think like the customer or prospective customer, to try and understand their needs, and to have the response to those needs ready and programmed to launch at the right time.
The Bottom Line
Trying to predict what the job market will look like in 20 years is as wrought with pitfalls as it would be to try to predict where technology will be in 20 years. Yet, this is precisely what we are asking today’s recent graduates and those just entering the workforce to try and do.
The good news is that because of the high level of volatility and the constant changes in technology, we can be sure that the next trend in what employers look for in employees will be very similar to the current trend; employers are looking for employees who are intellectually curious, who have demonstrated a great capacity to learn, and who will easily be able to go with the flow, adapt to new processes, and quickly assimilate new tools and platforms.