Is automation coming after your job! Emergent and near-horizon technologies are whispering – and at times, shouting – of massive changes in the way we live our lives, experience our world, and yes, earn our paychecks.
Self-driving cars are already in existence and are poised to change transportation. Amazon just opened its first zero-checkout store, and that human touch they carefully retained? The robotics engineers are hard at work developing both stocking and android ‘bots to close the circuit. We’re still in the early days of voice assistants, but with the race to artificial intelligence progressing steadily, the degree of both home and workplace automation available is going to increase exponentially.
All of that means you’re going to want to spend some time looking at the future of your job. If you have kids, they’ll need your help finding a path that doesn’t lock them into a dying industry. Innovation in the tech sector is fast moving and keeping up with advances is critical to maintaining relevance in the workplace.
At the same time as the pace of innovation picks up, technological change is transforming communities around the world. That offers enormous opportunity for young people, workers and skilled professionals to contribute to and benefit from innovation if they build the right skills to join in. It also is poised to reduce drudgery and introduce more professional roles. However, for many, the regular skills and experience growth available in existing jobs and workplaces won’t be sufficient.
An office worker, a truck driver, even a website developer or the average post-secondary student today is already behind the curve when it comes to building the skills necessary to succeed in the near future. Cutting-edge technology education is critical to closing that skills gap. STEMinn (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and innovation) programming is needed to build the core skills necessary to contribute and bring value to the tech sector, and to continue to adjust and grow as innovation pushes to new heights.
If there’s a student in your life, get them into a program that takes STEMinn seriously, and can equip them as early and as thoroughly as possible. We’ve moved beyond those basic introductory courses you remember from high school – the ones where you spent all your time memorizing formulae and answers for tests, only to forget them immediately. Emphasis now is on problem solving and creative thinking from a solid basis in theoretical and practical STEM knowledge. Schools in Asia have recognized this need, and an international school in Hong Kong has heavily integrated STEMinn programs into its core curriculum.
Get kids involved in passion projects early so they can work out ideas and develop an attitude of self-motivated learning. Innovation will continue to drive change in the tech sector, and it’s impossible to train today’s kids for a lifelong career. Instead, focus on giving them the tools to adapt, change, and innovate themselves.
For adults, you’ll need much the same thing. If you don’t already have a strong STEM knowledge, this is a good time to start learning. If problem-solving skills aren’t already in your wheelhouse, find a passion project and get practicing. It’s not a matter of if change is coming, but when.
Innovation in the tech sector – and in all sectors, ultimately – is advancing ahead of skilled workers. Make a plan for how you and your family are going to get on board with that advance before it overtakes and leaves you behind.