Your Career in the Digital Age

Original Spanish version published in El Comercio newspaper (Peru) on September 30, 2017

Many of us tremble when we hear about the impact of technology on jobs. What used to be interesting topics of conversation about what would happen in the future are now a reality, and some predictions terrify even the bravest. These predictions include, for example, new artificial intelligence applications that would eliminate a large percentage of jobs that many of us do today, just as other technologies have already eliminated widely used business models.

Think about how Kodak, Blockbuster, or Nokia disappeared. Or how new applications like Airbnb, Uber, or WhatsApp are forcing complete industries to rethink and redesign themselves. That is how we know that we are on the brink of a digital revolution that will completely change the world of professional and executive jobs as we know them today. In fact, our most valuable skills today may no longer be “sellable” in the job market in the medium-term due to evolving talent requirements in organizations.

So, how do we plan our career into the future? How do we stay ahead in our different positions as professionals, executives, businesspeople, or organizational leaders? How do we develop the necessary skills to be relevant in this world of rapidly and profoundly evolving technologies? What do we do to learn ever faster? Top concerns for business leaders today are: How do we redesign our business models? How do we lead the transformations in organizational culture needed to implement innovation processes?

I have learned that the key to not falling behind is to change our attitude so that we stop seeing only the threats of rapidly evolving changes, and instead lose our fear of technology and its consequences, advances, and benefits. To do this, we must seriously commit to learning and keeping up to date on a daily basis, humbly and with no pretentiousness.

Allow me to make some suggestions to help with this. You could, for example, start with introductory books to technology, such as “Innovate or Die!” by Andres Oppenheimer, and “Exponential Organizations” by Salim Ismail; and videos on YouTube, such as “Abundance” by Peter Diamandis, founder of Singularity University. To keep us connected with what’s new, Singularity University offers many free bulletins. Fast Company and Bloomberg Technology also offer publications, among many others. Attending courses, conferences, and seminars on innovation and technology is also vital. These can also be seen online, where they are almost always free.

All of this will enable us to start imbuing ourselves with what’s going on without delay. I believe that it will be very hard to sustain a professional or business career in the short-term today, without being curious about digitization or at least a basic understanding of digital concepts. And, in my experience, I have found this to be a very fun, creative, and inspiring world. Jump in and be a part of it!

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