Today I am excited to share another guest post from Artur Meyster, CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. If you are looking for a new career in software development, this post has some tips to help you get started. Please also check out Career Karma, or get in touch with Artur for more advice (his contact information is at the end of this post).
The future of work has never been quite as turbulent as it is now. Besides the fact the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the emergence of remote work, technology has been slowly disrupting all industries across the board for years now. These changes started slowly with the widespread use of computers at companies but have evolved into something far more disruptive to jobs.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) systems are being implemented more and more with each passing year. A study from the TechRepublic in 2019 found only about 29 percent of companies regularly use AI. While this number seems low, it is up five percentage points from 2017 and is only set to increase as this technology becomes more necessary for the survival of industries. As an individual worker, it’s important to be sure that your skills fit into the future of work, otherwise, you may be replaced by employees with more tech skills. To that end, examining the skills poised to become relevant in the future is the best way to evaluate your current skill set.
Coding or Programming Skills
Without a doubt, one of the most important skills for the future of work involves either coding or programming. Programming has actually been around for a number of years but only became common for the average person to learn within the last decade. Coding is a byproduct of programming and is becoming equally important to the future of work.
To that end, jobs that strictly use programming skills are actually on a decline, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this may seem indicative of a dying skillset, that line of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. Jobs that only involve programming and coding are on a decline, but new jobs that use these skills as baseline requirements are emerging to replace those older careers.
For perspective, software engineering is a path rising in popularity, and the largest skill required is knowledge of the various coding languages. These skills are incredibly important to the future of work and, fortunately, they can be acquired with a little bit of studying today. Coding bootcamps are a popular option for anyone looking to pick up the computer skill and should be heavily considered by people looking to stay relevant in the future of work.
Extensive Tech Knowledge
Rather than any single skill, preparing for the future of work by building a repertoire of tech knowledge is one of the best ways to stay relevant. Technology is extensive and can be difficult to study, so focusing on one single topic and becoming an expert can set you apart from future competition.
Keeping to the theme of coding and programming, studying the languages, rather than just learning them, could give you an edge in the future of work. Consider looking into what Python is used for or the differences between fields, for example, computer science vs. computer engineering.
While surface-level knowledge of tech fields have their benefits, becoming an expert in all things tech can lead to consulting jobs with different companies, or even the ability to train others in various technological fields. Education is always an important part of developing computer skills, and learning must be a priority for you in the future of work.
New Hard Skills, Similar Soft Skills
There is no question that new technical skills are going to emerge which will require a completely new skill set than you have now. Unfortunately, that’s just the way the world works when you have already graduated from an educational institution. What doesn’t change, however, is the soft skills required by employees.
Traits such as adaptability and communication are incredibly important to whether or not you fit into the new, dynamic future of work. Acquiring the hard skills needed can be done by attending an intensive online degree course, but soft skills are often developed over time. Refining your soft skills now and ensuring you are mentally prepared for the disruption of the workforce can actually help prepare you for the technical changes that will occur.
No matter how you look at it, the future of work is changing faster than ever before and some experts think a modern technological version of the industrial revolution is on the horizon. Ensuring your skills line up with this turbulent future is the best way to stay relevant as an employee and set yourself up for a lucrative career down the line. Avoiding the negative aspects of technological disruption is as simple as predicting the coming changes and adapting to them before they arrive.
Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.