Why Technological Skills Are Important In The Future Of Work

Why Technological Skills Are Important In The Future Of Work

It is evident that technology is advancing and this also shows where the future of work will be. To remain competitive in any industry, technological skills are a must-have to fit and thrive. According to McKinsey, the coming years and decades technology is sure to develop and encompass ever more human work activities (McKinsey & Company, 2020). Currently, robots have been carrying out a lot of routine physical activities but increasingly machines are now taking on more sophisticated tasks. According to Forbes, technological advances such as artificial intelligence, big data, virtual reality, blockchains and more fuel the 4th industrial revolution (Marr, 2020). This is the major reason why everyone needs to be somewhat comfortable around technology. The technologies may vary by industry, business or job however, everyone needs to be able to understand its potential impact in their profession.

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Technology is now changing the way people work and live. Take for instance Uber, Netflix, Airbnb or Udacity are very good examples to understand the speed and extent of the change and innovation being brought about by technology (Pearson and Gram, 2020). This is as a result of the digital transformation that was forecasted a few years ago. The advances in computing power and speed are also contributing to this change for the future of work.  The McKinsey Global Institute placed the automation of knowledge work second on its 2013 list of trends in the transition to the digital economy. According to the World Economic Forum, more than a third of the skills essential today will have changed in the next five years. Their predicted 2022 skills outlook included technology design and programming to be one of the top five skills needed to excel in the future.

What are the technical skills the future workforce must-have?

Being tech-savvy is now universal and it is something that everyone should have. In the future of work, by 2030, everyone should be comfortable around technology for each and every profession (Ansari, 2020). Some of the skills might seem to be too basic, but everyone needs to have a solid ground to be able to enhance their technical skills to the technological advances that will be used in the future which include artificial intelligence, big data, virtual reality, blockchains etc. The following list shows some of the technical skills that are required in the future of the workforce from the very basic one to the complex ones:

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1.      Social media savviness

  Social media savviness
Social media savviness

Websites and applications that allow users to create and share content or participate in social networking are what is called social media. In today’s world, modern businesses greatly depend on social media to generate their customers, income and get exposure. Branding is now done mainly online using social media which is why employers would like to hire someone who is able to meet these requirements (Staffing, 2020). The most important platforms to become familiar with that the majority of the businesses use are:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

Social media savviness is not really a challenging skill to acquire. However, it requires one’s ability to share relevant information on the platforms and engage with clients or customers or future prospects. There are plenty of resources online that can be used to learn to use these platforms and these can be:

  • Reading blogs online
  • Taking a class on social media
  • Watching webinars

Social media is playing a major role in today’s world marketing therefore it is time for you to step up your social media game and remain competitive.

2.      Computer software

Computer software

Computer software is a collection of computer instructions that tell the computer how to work. These software’s includes software programs on a computer such as applications and operating systems such as Windows, Linux etc. The applications include the Microsoft Office and email software. If you have not been a mathematical person, it is time to put that aside and try your best to understand spreadsheeting. This is because it is becoming mandatory to be able to effectively use applications such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets since large amounts of data are being collected and used nowadays. Take time to learn Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets or any other relevant spreadsheeting application to remain relevant.

Some of the basic computer software skills include presentation skills, word processing skills and email skills. Every employer assumes that you know how to create visually appealing presentations using applications such as Google Suite or Microsoft PowerPoint. Learning how to type documents properly is also very important because this is how the digital work is now done. The ability to format your pages and add the appropriate margins is crucial. There are plenty of free Microsoft Word or Google Docs tutorials available online where you can learn from. Emailing software’s such as Microsoft Outlook or even Slack are also important to master as these are the staples of the modern workplaces. If you are not familiar with any of these software’s take some time to learn about them because the future of work is already upon us and these are mandatory.

The employees that already have these skills should also consider adding the following to be more competent:

  • The ability to create and design websites
  • Statistical software management
  • Coding or programming
  • Graphic design

3.      Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is the intelligence demonstrated by machines which can meaningfully improve people’s lives and everyone who has access to it. Technological developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics are going so fast and there are now a lot of AI applications in various all functions. AI is here to stay and it will also do the following:

  • Create jobs: According to the World Economic Forum report, AI will create as many jobs as it will replace. Some of these jobs being created include data scientists, transparency analysts, smart analysts and machine-relations managers.
  • Eliminate bias and diversity challenges at work: It is most likely going to stir up positive change in workplaces. For example, when used during recruitment, all the applicants are assessed in an unbiased fact-based manner.
  • Steer business outcome strategies: AI is going to assist businesses in carrying out operations in more comprehensive ways which are shifting from the traditional data science to machine learning models.
  • Boost innovation in the future workplace: The future workforce will lean more towards innovation and creativity. Companies that implement AI in their business strategies will experience dramatic improvements in their customer experiences and their employees will become more motivated.
  • Positive impact in the world: IoT and AI will be working hand in hand to make the world a better place. They will be used to identify trends and solve problems in the business world which changes the way business is currently being run. Problems will be seen easier and earlier with more accuracy and catch them at the bud with the assistance of AI.
  • Boost productivity: According to a report from PWC, 54 per cent of businesses confirm that the implementation of AI-driven solutions in their companies has improved productivity. The AI systems help businesses to cut down on costs, improve the quality of their products or services as well as create better customer profiles. This yields higher profits since companies are able to sell their products at lower prices thereby creating more demand among customers.

AI is becoming a necessity of life in the same the internet is one. Try to make yourself as valuable as you can in this field to remain relevant because it is one of the hot topics for the future of work.

4.      Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality can include entertainment and educational purposes. There are two distinct types of virtual reality which are augmented reality and mixed reality. Virtual reality has great potential to influence our daily lives. Facebook has been a particularly prominent player in the space, with some projecting that the company may spend more than $5 billion annually on virtual reality in the next few years. “Social is not only important to Facebook’s mission, but to the future of VR,” writes Gene Munster, Managing Partner of Loup Ventures. “VR will need a social aspect before there will be mass adoption of the technology.”

There are multiple virtual reality applications that have the potential to shape a range of industries from manufacturing to journalism, healthcare and others. Virtual reality can also be used to improve the recruitment processes in the HR function by giving candidates a realistic preview of the organisation and the job. Both augmented reality and mixed reality can be used for training and such applications are actually ground-breaking! Virtual reality applications create an immersive experience that seeks to enhance physical objects with digital features or data. Both augmented and mixed reality will play roles in guiding both the future of enterprise and entertainment.

5.      Big Data

Big Data

Big data is a field that treats ways to analyze, systematically extract information from, or otherwise, deal with data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software. Big data is seriously big. According to the Irish Tech News, by 2025 there will be 163 zettabytes of data generated throughout the world. In regards to the future of work, the use cases of big data will expand and the following are some of the areas where it will have a huge impact:

  • Big data and CRM (Customer Relationship Management): Big data can be integrated into CRM systems to gather more deep insights into customers and uncovering patterns and trends that may not have been present before. These deeper insights can lead to predictive modelling, better customer segmentation, innovative customer experiences and avenues for new product offerings.
  • Big data and hiring: Large volumes of data can be fed into a neural network for deep analysis of personal traits and cognitive abilities. Big data analytics can uncover factors that lead to a candidate being successfully hired or not.
  • Big data and decision making: Big data analytics will also help a business make smarter decisions very fast allowing them to get hold of disruptive opportunities when they arise. This means harnessing real-time data streams which require a level of discernment of good quality data from the poor quality data.
  • Big data and office space: Big data’s main driver, IoT, can lead to more efficient and innovative office spaces. There is facility optimisation which is a way in which IoT can be used to save energy. Embedded sensors at top key areas within the offices can detect which part of the buildings are commonly used and at which times of the day. These electrical components can be automated to power on or power off when necessary.

With only 0.5 per cent of the world’s data is analyzed and ready to be applied, we still have a while to go before things like big data, IoT, AI, and machine learning affect our lives on a daily basis. Yet big data is not inherently valuable, and unless it is applied to a problem or a target, big data does not serve any function.

6.      Blockchain

Blockchain

Blockchain is a public ledger of information collected across a peer-to-peer network. In simple terms, it is the technology that underpins digital currency like Bitcoin, Litecoin etc. It is used to record transactions across so many computers so that any involved record cannot be altered without making alterations to all the subsequent blocks. Blockchain has the power to create disruption in the business space and revolutionalise the way in which professionals perform many of their daily tasks. From the process of hiring and HR functions to daily employee workflows and large-scale enterprise planning, blockchain is here. The following are some of the ways in which it will impact the future of work:

  • Searching for talented and trustworthy applicants: According to some research done, 85 per cent of job seekers add false information on their CVs. Blockchain can help parse fact from friction as it will have each stage of every person personal and professional development in a blockchain-based ledger which cannot be altered except for consent of each party involved.
  • Making international payments faster and cheaper: Blockchain will be applied as an impartial and trustworthy medium of exchange. It can also track freight with uncompromising accuracy and transparency. Soon enough, companies will be using their own in-house blockchain-based coins to serve as a medium of exchange which improves the speed and transparency of engaging in cross-border transactions.
  • Building a truly global workforce: Blockchain will be facilitating faster overseas transactions, making the exchanging labour process very easy and more straightforward. This will be very convenient for employees.
  • Lowering the cost of fraud prevention and cybersecurity: In 2017, the average cost of remediating a company data breach rose to $3.5 million. Blockchain can be used to scatter important data across multiple nodes which don’t do two things simultaneously. It will deny hackers entry and ensure that unintelligible fragments of data can go missing at a time.

Blockchain is indeed a disruptive innovation and it is like a permanent diary that is almost impossible to forge which professionals should start embracing now or risk being left behind. Clearly, there are many ways in which blockchain will impact and revolutionise the future workplace which is inevitably going to happen! As professionals, there is a need to start to include blockchain together with other emerging technologies in formulating digital strategies as this is the future.

These technological skills show how the future of work is changing our workplaces making us more productive and connecting lots of people on a global level. Despite many people having challenges in acquiring these skills, they are a must-have set of skills in order to set yourself up for success. As the digital universe continues to expand and grow, businesses will focus more on discovering relevant insights and they need employees that are ready for this modern fast-paced future. 

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