Becoming an IT professional of the future

Driver-less cars are set to make millions of truckies and taxi drivers redundant,
automated fast food service is poised to shut off a key job sector for young people.

Watching the rate that technology is changing the world and how artificial intelligence is increasingly able to carry out more complex tasks that have traditionally require humans, large numbers of us are set to find the tasks and roles we currently do replaced. “Many jobs will be destroyed,” futurist Ross Dawson told news.com.au.

I’ve been thinking for a while what the different jobs currently held by people in the IT sector will look like. Looking around the team I have and those of my clients, I’ve been thinking what type of role/job a developer, a business analyst and a graphic designer will have.

Reviewing what I’ve seen and witnessed from the past 20 years I’ve been in IT, I can say comfortably that to date, only graphic designers have had a real shake up. Developers and analysts, generally speaking, haven’t yet had a big disruptor. To the extent that as I talk to and advise some of my client’s team members about their future career paths, many seem somewhat oblivious, ignorant and defiant of the idea that technology will replace them. Admittedly, this is an issue for those outside my own team as my team members are working on the technology that will one-day replace themselves… for some it’s a rather disturbing notion in itself, knowing you are building your own obsolescence, but education and a strong career path is help them work through their concerns.

So back to our graphic designers, when I think back to the late 90s, I still knew a number of people who would do paper sketches with paint or coloured pencils and markers. Looking back now it all seems so quaint. Now-a-days it would be a rare breed that would choose not to use some form of technology and software. Back them there was a lot of angst about how clumsy and slow it was to use a mouse and a keyboard, when all they wanted to do was pick up a pencil or brush and just go at it. They really found it hard, but the technology got easier, more people got into the sector which pushed a few so they felt ‘relevant’ as newer talent came through, and eventually many adopted technology.

Looking at the graphic designers I work with today, I’m watching more and more of them multi-skill themselves. They’ve found that with all the technology around them, almost anyone can throw together what a mobile application or website will look like. I’m even seeing some developers just building a mock site or application quickly, having a discussion around it and either throwing it away to start again or adjusting it. I ensure these team members get trained and up-skilled on User/Customer Experience UX/CX making them far more valuable to our team, business and clients. This is more a problem solving exercise drawing on experience and knowledge about how to make things feels easy and flow fluidly for the person using the tool that’s being built. This is far less about drawing or sketching a picture and about drawing/teasing out the right information from those involved in the project and posing questions back at them. “How might a user respond if we do X?”, “What if we group these together and break these apart?”, “Is this too much information to ask right now? Can we ask it at a later stage or step in the process so we get them into the system?”.

The graphic designers I have working with me all understand that this knowledge and experience will be the key to the success of their future career and not their ability to draw as we move forward into a world where technology keeps making things easier for those that previously couldn’t do it themselves or as technology literally replaces them and does it instead of them.

Tomorrow I’ll cover my thoughts on developers then cover analysts and finally testers.

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