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February 9, 2024

How AI Will Impact Technology Careers Of The Future

In the last two decades “learn how to code'' has become commonplace advice shared across many High Schools and Universities worldwide when asked how students should prepare for careers of the future. What they don’t tell you is that more than 50% of jobs across top technology firms like GoogleGOOG +0.4% and Meta require exactly zero coding skills. This […]

In the last two decades “learn how to code'' has become commonplace advice shared across many High Schools and Universities worldwide when asked how students should prepare for careers of the future.

What they don’t tell you is that more than 50% of jobs across top technology firms like GoogleGOOG +0.4% and Meta require exactly zero coding skills.

This narrative misses a very important fact. That beyond just writing code, even the most technology forward businesses have to excel at solving other types of problems, problems that require a myriad of different skills.

Like the ability to evaluate, learn, and use new technologies to solve problems. Not build them.

And skills that require sophisticated levels of written and verbal communication, research and collection of data, the ability to plan and manage complicated projects, the skill of decision making when faced with competing priorities or stakeholders, and more.

If coding isn’t the future, then what is? And how can you ensure that you’re learning skills that will still be relevant 5-10 years from now?

Doing What AI Can Never Do

In a recent interview with global higher education community FOHE, Paul LeBlanc, education innovator and President of Southern New Hampshire University, said that as AI evolves most likely taking over highly manual or repetitive jobs, “human-centered” professions will be in more demand than ever before.

Human decision making is nuanced, often relying on a combination of data, past experience, and gut instinct.

While computers are infinitely better than humans at anything systems oriented they lack the ability to judge a situation based on qualitative factors like relationships and human motivation.

Furthermore, the complex nature of organizing humans toward a unified goal, like curing cancer or educating the masses, depends on something that a computer can never replicate or instill - trust.

As technology evolves the need for educated individuals that understand how to leverage relationships and develop trust to solve complicated problems will be high.

People will be valued for their ability to adapt their knowledge of relationship building and problem solving to an ever growing list of new technologies, sectors, and job titles.

Skills that can only be learned by being in the room with other humans tackling problems that don’t have clear solutions and require creative thinking and collaboration.

Learning How Engineers Think, Not The Code Syntax They Write

Steve Jobs built one of the most important technology companies of the century, but he had never written a single line of code.

Instead he obsessed over design, usability, and learning everything about the products that he was building.

To do this and to motivate the most brilliant engineers he could recruit he had to learn how to think like them.

Which likely meant spending countless hours understanding how they thought about engineering problems that had never been solved before.

With Artificial Intelligence, product innovation is no different.

In fact, as AI gets better at writing, deploying and debugging code without human intervention we’ll need humans that understand how to clearly communicate business use-cases to a machine, and the requirements and context necessary to solve a particular problem.

Doing this effectively doesn’t require learning Python or C++, but it does require understanding how computers make decisions and the human instructions required to solve whatever problem comes to mind.

This is why today technology companies run by engineers who also have a strong business foundation excel.

But in the future this ability will not require an engineering degree, but simply foundational knowledge of how technology innovation happens. Knowledge that can be acquired through a combination of self-study and innovative education alternatives that allow you to learn from professionals directly.

Prioritizing Advanced Written And Verbal Communication Skills

It’s easy to see when someone is a good communicator. They are thoughtful with their approach, diplomatic in their execution and know how to use logic and reason to compel others toward certain actions.

Similarly, it’s blatantly obvious when someone doesn’t understand social cues for when to be formal or informal, or when they take so long to get to the point that you get lost simply trying to decipher what they are trying to say.

The latter group will always have difficulty in advancing their career regardless of discipline until they learn to communicate more effectively.

And the former group will seemingly get new opportunities handed to them, even when they lack the direct experience in that role.

As technology evolves individuals with exceptional communication skills will stand out even more from the rest.

They’ll be chosen as leaders when going up against someone with inferior communication skills and superior domain knowledge.

They will persuade others to fund their businesses, or join their initiatives.

They will organize talent around new technological advancements, and know how to use technology to test their hypotheses and take advantage of newly invented markets.

How do we know this to be true for the future of technology enabled careers? Because humans have always been rewarded for being excellent communicators.

The only difference is the current context of the world we live in and how individuals today actually acquire new skills.

For people looking to build these skills to stay competitive the answer is straightforward.

Find opportunities that will help you learn by doing. That will force you to learn how to communicate with executives and operators alike.

And if you can’t get these opportunities, create them yourself.

Test a new product idea through real customer feedback, giving you an excuse to reach out to and speak with talented people in your domain.

Create a blog or podcast that attracts like minded individuals that want to collaborate.

Join or organize communities that will expose you to people outside of your most immediate circle thereby accelerating your knowledge of what being an effective communicator actually means.

Tools like AI will undoubtedly change the way we live, work and think about our careers.

But the physical world we live in will never cease to depend on capable people that learn how to effectively leverage the tools at our disposal, including highly complex and intelligent pieces of technology.

Future proofing your career then becomes fairly simple. A combination of learning how to be technologically savvy, and learning how to use new technology to understand and solve the never ending challenges that humanity faces.

Article written by:  Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family. Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.
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