The IT sector is a great illustration of the fact that while there can be plenty of work in some areas, even while a broader recession taking place. Fortunately the economy has picked up again, however, we are also in a period where many aspects of work are changing rapidly. With this in mind, it makes sense to think about the work you do, and what aspects of it are more or less likely to become automated first. It’s important to remember too, that just because something can become automated, it might not be automated, or at least not straight away!
Firstly it makes sense to stay up to date with all news about your industry trends, and what areas of your job have the potential for automation. Even in the tech industry, certain aspects of data collection are already able to be done by machines. Similarly, in coding, some areas of software development are being turned into a modular click and drag code snippets. At the same time, there are still areas where human experience and overview will still be invaluable. The challenge and opportunity for you is to make sure you develop your specialisation in the areas least likely to be automated first.
The study by McKinsey Global Institute, visually demonstrated in the chart below is a great starting point for assessing where your own current role sits on the scale from ‘immediate redundancy’ to ‘not likely to happen soon’. It makes for interesting consideration, as many jobs, in many sectors, not just physical labour, have the potential to have aspects of their tasks be replaced by machines or automated processes.
McKinsey Global Institute
Great opportunities for increased job satisfaction
The current upheaval in the workplace need not be all doom and gloom. The automation of repetitive and dull aspects of your job may, hopefully, lead to the creation of more stimulating and interesting work, in the areas where tasks are best done by humans. It is an open question about how many new jobs will be created to offset the automation of many current roles, however, many experts point to the agricultural and industrial revolutions as positive examples. If you consider many of the current IT positions, such as data analysts, transition manager, web director, and web application manager, for example, these were roles that did not even exist twenty years ago.
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Not only are these jobs new ones, but they are also well paid, significantly above the national average, and increasingly available, for those with the right skills. It is always hard to know exactly what the future may bring, but by keeping an eye out on industry trends, and hashtags such as #futureofwork you increase the chance of future proofing your own career progression. No one can completely predict the medium and long term future. The best software developers and others working in the IT industry, however, have remained in demand and relevant because of their ability to move with the times, and offer expertise in a changing industry. It’s not necessary to know which coding language will be used in the future, so much as it is invaluable to know what ‘things’ will be wanted in the future, and how we might build them. Areas like the security of our digital identities will only become more important. The ability to rapidly and seamlessly enable this to be securely moved from device to device will be in high demand. If this is something you are already aware of, you will find yourself ahead of the curve, and well positioned to ensure that you continue to have useful and in-demand work skills.
Overall it makes sense to invest some time in staying up to date with changing trends in your industry, and to ensure that your training remains relevant and up to date. In this way, you are also investing in your own future employment prospects too. The robots are coming, but their impact will be varied across different industries.
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