Backend developer, systems architect, expert in cybersecurity or in artificial intelligence are all common professions in today’s world; however, not even ten years ago, hardly anyone could have imagined how important they'd be.
Technology – artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, cloud computing, blockchain, etc. ... – is changing business models and the way companies operate, and is therefore also changing the knowledge and skills employees need to perform their jobs.
Are you preparing yourself for the future of jobs? In this post we explain the 7 essential skills for those who want to be properly trained and have a job in the future.
Are you ready for the future of jobs?
The report, “The Future of Jobs”, prepared in 2016 by the World Economic Forum, warns that we are immersed in what has been called the fourth industrial revolution, and that the technological changes that are occurring are going to have a large impact on jobs.
It’s not so much about acquiring new knowledge, but about the skills and mindsets that need to be developed in order to be prepared for the jobs of the future.
The following 7 skills or competencies are essential:
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive,
One of the fundamental skills needed to face any type of change is adaptability. Both in the way of working, such as the tools used, and the knowledge needed to carry out tasks.
As professionals, both now and in the future, we need to always be learning. Reading and being informed is essential, not only in regards to your own area of interest, but in all other areas of knowledge that may or may not influence our work.
Everything is becoming increasingly interrelated, meaning you never know which trend will affect your job or company in the future. We can’t be afraid of change. If we are prepared, change will always represent an opportunity for improvement.
“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
The need to always be learning leads us to another essential skill: curiosity. This skill needs to be encouraged in schools, however adults should always try to remain curious as well.
Curiosity is the engine of innovation. And with imagination, these skills make it possible to devise new products and services that have the capacity of satisfying the new needs of our society, which are evolving alongside the adoption of new technologies.
“The first sign of a great employee: they do something super cool that matters that they weren't asked to do.”
Another skill that every professional needs for any job they want to do in the future is to have initiative.
However, the truth is that initiative isn't necessarily encouraged in traditional educational systems, with there being a greater focus placed on a series of rules that stick to the norm.
Nowadays, the opposite needs to be motivated and rewarded, students must be encouraged to trust in their own initiative in order to propose ideas, projects and new solutions to old problems.
Something similar is beginning to take place in companies, where more and more people are looking for professionals who go above and beyond what is expected of them. And this is why many companies are starting to implement intrapreneurship projects.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships.”
Knowing how to work as a team will continue to be an essential skill in any company.
The organization and proper functioning of a company is increasingly based on collaborative work, both among people in the same department and between several departments.
In fact, the classic hierarchical structures of business organizations are evolving into more horizontal structures – such as the organizational system known as holacracy – which require much closer collaboration among the people who make up the organization.
As a result, a professional who is adequately prepared for a job of the future should be able to work well in a team, being able to collaborate with mentalities that come from various disciplines and with different social and cultural backgrounds.
5. Critical Thinking
“Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction. The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.”
To develop critical thinking, you have to develop the ability to ask questions. Asking questions is an essential requirement for analyzing the cause(s) of any problem and having the ability to propose meaningful solutions.
In general, many professionals are more accustomed to giving answers rather than asking questions. And you have to be daring enough to ask and question things, we need to cultivate critical thinking, for which having an open mind is the main requirement.
Whoever develops critical thinking skills knows how to clearly and precisely formulate questions, they learn to evaluate and interpret information and are able to come to relevant conclusions and provide solutions to complex problems, expressing them effectively.
6. Data Analysis
“I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
In just 1 second, more than 60 thousand searches are made on Google around the world, more than 7 thousand tweets are sent, almost 3 thousand calls are made on Skype and 2.6 million emails are sent. It’s clear that we are living in the Information Age.
Have you never felt overwhelmed by the amount of information you can find on a single topic on the internet? Or have you read something recently and it turns out that it was a fake news article? The key lies in knowing how to evaluate the source and the content it offers us.
Knowing how to analyze information and learning to draw conclusions in order to make informed decisions is more relevant now than ever before, taking into account the fact that the internet database is growing at a disproportionate rate.
That is, the conclusions we extract today may be obsolete as of tomorrow. Possessing critical thinking skills is key to analyzing information.
“Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.”
In a working world of the future, which will have very high levels of technological sophistication, professionals who stand out for their soft skills will hold a key role, since these skills cannot be substituted by machines.
Good communication is one of them, and it is important to emphasize the fact that this skill doesn't revolve entirely around writing correctly without grammatical or orthographic errors. It is also related to being able to express any idea or thought clearly.
A good communicator – or storyteller – should be able to argue coherently and persuasively, they should know how to highlight the most relevant part of their speech, in addition to having the ability to use their communication skills to inspire whoever the interlocutor may be.
- Related post: Top 10 ways to be a great team leader
To all those professionals who aspire to have a good job in the future: we have start acting today in order to improve all those skills that will set us apart from machines and that will help us to add value to companies in 5 years from now (or less).
From the human resources department, we can help to promote the change in mindset that employees need, which is essential for encouraging them to continue learning and acquiring the skills that they need in order to keep up with their professional and personal development.