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.
Technology—from self-driving cars to automated personal assistants—is 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 an 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.
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.
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?
- 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.
- The labor market is a living, breathing entity that relentlessly changes and evolves. Thanks to a myriad of different factors—economic demand, consumer preferences, global economic events—as 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.
- 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 industries—from financial services to manufacturing and health care—are 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.