When it comes to technology, history shows we can’t predict the future. In 1900, people believed classrooms in 2000 would feature devices that fed information directly into students’ brains. And 1950s scholars thought that within five decades, cars would move across land and water, as well as through the air.
An age of disruption and innovation
As we now know, neither of these predictions came about. But while we can’t predict what new developments technology will give us, what we do know is that the adoption rate speed of new technology has increased significantly. In fact, it’s over 90 percent faster than it was 80 years ago. Moreover, the rate of technology change is rapid, and it’s increasing all the time. We’re currently living in an age of disruption and innovation where technology and business factors work together to inspire new developments such as the application of big data, evolution of social media, revolution of personal devices, and utilization of cloud-based storage and apps. IT professionals must continuously hone skills and competencies in order to be agile and adaptive in this evolving and ever changing landscape.
The baseline for employers
Today’s employers are utilizing a number of minimum requirements to make hiring decisions. The most common requirements usually include:
- an associate or bachelor’s degree
- two to three years of experience
- a good track record of employment
In addition to these minimum requirements, employers look for key differentiators in top-notch candidates such as: the ability to communicate, lead, and innovate; niche skills; and specific industry knowledge. They want confident candidates who can communicate well with others, who are capable of independent action, and who possess the ability to create new solutions when necessary. To stand out from the crowd, it’s also crucial you can explain to hiring managers in what way you’re innovative (big or small) by giving examples of processes you’ve used to overcome challenges and attain desired outcomes.
The three pillars of effectiveness
For every occupation, there’s a long list of requirements pertaining to skills, experience, and even personality traits. And for each opportunity that comes up in a job search, there’s a wish list that includes a combination of some of these requirements. However, because no two situations are the same, it’s impossible to predict what combination an employer will look for. So how, with all of these variables, can you know what skills to develop in order to advance your career?
The answer is to focus on the three things that demonstrate you’re capable of functioning in the fast-changing world of technological disruption and adoption. These three pillars of effectiveness are:
- Leadership. The ability to take the informal lead during specific portions of a project or activity and step back again once that portion is completed.
- Ambiguity. The ability to determine which data to use and how best to use it in time-sensitive situations through a documented, rationalized approach.
- Flexibility. The ability to change your position when new data indicates a reassessment, and/or a pivoting point, is required.
Even if we can’t predict the future of technology, we can forecast the near future of IT careers. As an IT professional, you should possess a certain baseline of qualifications and be demonstrably independent, innovative, and flexible. This ensures you have a solid foundation of technical knowledge while being agile and adaptable enough to flourish in a continuously evolving, progressive industry.
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