For years now, we’ve been telling our children that a
degree in tech would be their ticket to a great career. It’s not hard
to see why.
Technologyfrom self-driving cars to automated personal assistantsis a
pervasive, seismic presence in our lives. New interactive technology
is promising to re-invent all aspects of our lives. Everyone is now
online all the time. Social media allows us to be in contact with
each other on a constant basis, no matter where we live or work.
We are living now in a time of constant, disruptive technological
change. But, according to a recent article in the Wall Street
Journal, of all the things the technology revolution has given us,
more jobs hasn't been one of them.
The article pointed out that Google Alphabet Inc. and Facebook Inc.
together employed about 74,000 people, one third less than the
workforce at Microsoft Corp., despite having a market cap that is
twice as big. Instagram, the article continued, had only 13 employees
when Facebook acquired it in 2012 for $1 billion.
The discontent among the general public about an economy that is
still creating wealth but not jobs is palpable and powerful.
The authors of the Wall Street Journal article believe it is an
underlying factor in the dramatic political changes now unfolding in
the United States. “The gap between what the tech boom promised and
then delivered is another source of the rumbling national discontent
that powered the rise this year of political outsiders Donald Trump
and Bernie Sanders.
The math doesn’t lie: the most valuable companies today are just not
creating as many jobs as once thought. For the job seeker, what
conclusions should be drawn from the current state of the tech boom?
1. There are no sure things when it comes to finding a good job. No
economic or market trend is a panacea for job seekers. As such, it is
never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket and pursue one
specific role at one specific company.
2. The labor market is a living, breathing entity that relentlessly
changes and evolves. Thanks to a myriad of different factorseconomic
demand, consumer preferences, global economic eventsas one sector of
the labor market shrinks, others will expand. To be successful in
your career, read everything you can not only on your own current job
or industry, but other related industries and jobs.
3. It’s not about changing careers or professions; it’s about finding
other sectors or companies where your skills and experience can be
applied. We don’t normally associate novelists and playwrights with
the IT sector, but those exact people have been hired in droves by
companies such as Microsoft and Apple to construct language for
automated personal assistants like Siri. Many different
industriesfrom financial services to manufacturing and health careare
looking for people with solid technical skills and experience.
The lesson here? Expand your horizons, consider alternative career
paths and keep an open mind about how to take your skills and
education and apply them outside the typical or traditional channels.