Learning new skills part 4

Yesterday I received an email from a software developer: “I graduated in Computer Science and have worked for a large company for three years, my job is to support the Information Systems and maintain the backend of the website of my company. However, reading your blog makes me worry about my future. I need your advice on what to do next. Please help.”

Answer: The worst thing can happen to a technical person is out of touch with the technological trend. There are many people who are comfortable with their job and what they do without thinking much about the current trend until it is too late. It is important for any technical people to constantly finding opportunities to learn new things, through new assignment and training. If you believe your current job is not helping you to advance, it is time to seek out new opportunities, either inside or outside your company.

How many people read about innovative things and wish that they are working on that? Even you are good at your job, but what happens when your skills are not needed in the near future? In this fast changing time, you cannot stand still but must continue to learn to keep your skills current and look for new opportunities that benefit you. Besides technical skills, you need to develop additional soft-skills such as collaboration skills, leadership skills, presentation skills, etc. and help your company to improve its efficiency and productivity.

In this globally competitive environment, every company must change quickly to stay alive. With the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) there will be more changes in the near future so either you learn new things and make progress, else your job may go away or replace by robots or other technologies. In the past two years, I have seen a lot of jobs get replaced by automation, and many jobs get moved to cloud-services companies. In my opinion, cloud-computing services will explode in many countries and soon many in-house Information Systems will be moved outside to the cloud computing companies. If your company is planning to do that, your job could be gone soon. To make sure that your job is safe, you will need to learn more about cloud computing. If your job is an activity that can be replaced by a “smart AI program then it is time to learn more about AI and Machine Learning. It is better for you to improve your skills to be valuable worker than for your company to make a decision of letting you go.

You may not agree with me as you may find yourself in opposition to a change as you still believe that your job is safe for the time being. But take a look at the rapid changes in the world today. With new technology innovations, many business approaches and values have changed much faster than ever before. In the U.S. alone about 75% of big companies are gone in just a few years because they are too slow to change and cannot compete with more aggressive technological focused companies like Google, Amazon, Wall-Mart, and Costco etc. You may argue that it has not happened where you live, but it could happen sooner than you think. My advice is to keep learning new things and keep your skills current with the trend. I know that lifelong learning may not be taught in your school but it is a necessity in this globally competitive world. If you have not learned anything new, then consider finding ways to learn some new skills before it is too late.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University

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