In a previous post, I have quoted web pioneer Kevin Kelly as saying that "in the future we will all be beginners, all the time". We need to learn about and learn new at an ever faster pace. The cycles for specific knowledge become shorter and shorter. The ability to learn about and re-develop the real core competence, combined with the knowledge where to turn to access the expertise you do not possess yourself. Thus not to say that deep knowledge is unimportant. Contrary. The paradox is that it will take even deeper expertise. As onions on the salmon, research by Stefan Fölster (Robotrevolution – Sweden in the new machine age) shows that permanent employment is on its way away. Instead, companies and organizations will engage the expert competence currently required in a form more similar to consulting or project employment. Then you have to stay on your toe in your career. The question is, how should I know what I should be able to?
Alexander Bard, Magnus Lindqvist and other trend watchers claim that the future stars of the world of work are those who have social skills and the ability to build networks. We obviously have a skills to work on. However, it is not about becoming a LinkedIn friend with as many people as possible in order to have many contacts in connection with job change. The network should, above all, be able to support and complement you in your daily work.
One way to build networks is, old school may be, to attend conferences and industry meetings. A few weeks ago, the annual ITSMF conference took place and I am convinced that most people who left the conference did so with both new knowledge and new contacts. There is a lot of positive scan from online forums and other locations online but the personal network is still easier to build face-to-face. Another way to build networks is to, from time to time during your career, to change employers or at least assignments.
What are you going to be good at?
It depends, of course, on which area you work in. Common sense says it's easiest to be good at what you think is fun and interesting. Many of us have already made our career choices but if you are to advise the next generation in the labour market, the millenials, what should it be? Many professions will be affected by automation and robotization, but one profession that has good prospects is software developers. In that guild there are, of course, a number of roles and competencies; requirements manager, designer, programmer, tester, etc. In devops (see previous posts) there is talk of "T shaped profile". A devops team typically consists of 8-12 people tasked with developing, managing and supporting a specific service or product. "T shaped" means that each member is expected to have a broad general competence in all the team's areas of expertise as well as excellence within (at least) a specific area. An expert programmer is therefore expected to have a general expertise in requirements management, testing, operation and support.
How to learn?
One way to learn is, of course, to read. But there's so much. We are literally awash with information in all possible forms and channels. Summaries and condensate have been standard for a long time. Who has the time and the hurricane to read an entire book or take a whole course? The next step (which is already here) is summary of the summaries. Who can read a full summary or watch a youtube video that is longer than 15 minutes? Wikipedia and 3-minute clips are just right. The likelihood that you could read this post all the way here may be judged as low.
This is an entirely natural development. Dodgy texts and content become a survival strategy for getting through everyday life. The question is whether it is an effective survival strategy. Personally, I think it is a better investment to skip some of the foaming and instead spend time immersing itself in selected areas. Choose your areas of expertise and combine reading with exercise. Practicing is underestimated. We see a trend on the educational side that simulations and practical elements are becoming a natural and obvious part of learning. That's good. You can't be good at cycling by reading a book.
Now that you skimmed through another blog post in the flora, you have deserved a summary:
In the future, one should be an easy-to-learn, social software developer with a well-developed professional network. Please contact me if you want to discuss options ahead, if you are not already the workforce of the future.
Previous blog posts on the same theme: