Future-Proof Your Career with These Key Skills and Qualities
We’re living in exciting times with technology constantly evolving. Just this year we’ve seen advancements in autopilot features for cars, live-saving immune engineering, and voice technology for computers and smart phones, just to name a few. But technology advancements do have their drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is that some technology can render human workers obsolete.
A recent study by the World Economic Forum revealed that more than 5 million jobs in the United States will be lost between 2015 and 2020, with technology replacing human workers. Worried about a robot or computer kicking you to the curb? Cultivate the skills and qualities that machines have trouble replicating! Here are a few key skills and qualities that will help future-proof your career.
Creativity, Curiosity, and Spark of Innovation
Computers can’t write songs or paint pictures. They can emulate musical verse and copy elements from other pictures, but true creativity is simply not within a machine’s scope of expertise. A computer can analyze and model data to provide business insights, but curiosity and the spark of innovation that have fueled progress for centuries are human qualities. Architects, writers, marketing professionals, and scientists represent some of the professions where these particular qualities are key and cannot be easily duplicated by technology.
Interpersonal Skills and Human Understanding
One of the greatest skills humans possess is the ability to understand other humans. You can probably tell when a friend is angry or happy just by his tone of voice or facial expression. In certain professional fields, interpersonal skills like empathy are key to success. For instance, in sales and marketing, you might rely on humor, storytelling, negotiating, rapport building, and nonverbal cues to drive results.
Similarly, as a business leader, you must balance egos, build consensus, and blend experience with instinct. Computers and robots simply don’t have the self-awareness and human understanding to replicate these interpersonal skills. Teachers, sales and hospitality professionals, physicians, therapists, and police officers—these are all professions that highly rely on interpersonal skills to get the job done. Technology doesn’t (yet) have the ability to empathize with a sick patient or counsel a person struggling with depression.
As the world continues to become more technology driven, the people who build and maintain robots, machines, and software will remain necessary and in demand. No matter how automated a system or process becomes, it will still need upkeep and oversight. For instance, reports will need to be reviewed for accuracy, robots will need to be repaired, and hardware will need to be maintained. Specialists will still be needed to design, support, and repair the technology that has been created specifically to replace human workers. In January 2016, LinkedIn published a list of the 25 hottest skills in global demand, and 23 of them related to technology!
A 2013 study by Oxford University projected that up to 47% of jobs in the US are at risk of automation by technology. Don’t want to be made redundant by a machine? Cultivating and marketing technical aptitude, coupled with key human qualities and skills like creativity, curiosity, and emotional intelligence will be critical to remaining professionally relevant as technology continues to evolve.