The fourth revolution (Industry 4.0) is driven by innovative technologies that cause profound effects on both production systems and business models. Among these technologies are Artificial Intelligence, BIG Data, Machine Learning, the Internet of Things, and Cloud Computing... all of them will somehow affect how we work today, with the most impact on IT professionals.
Industry 4.0 is the moment in which we now find ourselves. Seeing costs decrease on one hand and the increase in technological capabilities on the other means that a significant population rate lives online and that more and more professionals are migrating from a more traditional area of activity to the technology field.
The basic foundation of Industry 4.0 is that by interconnecting machines, production systems and equipment, companies will be able to create intelligent networks along the entire value chain and thus control and manage production processes independently and with less dependence on us humans.
According to the World Economic Forum, more than a third of the skills needed today will change in 5 years.
By 2025, just three years far from where we are today, 85 million jobs could migrate to "robotised" labour. However, that does not mean that 85 million people will inevitably lose their jobs.
In all revolutions, both the industrial revolution of the 18th century and the third revolution in the 20th century (information revolution), many jobs ceased to make sense and disappeared. In exchange, jobs that required specialised talent for specific tasks emerged. Therefore, that's an opportunity to develop new skills that will bring us greater personal and professional fulfilment.
The winds of change are already at our doorstep. There is a growing demand for new profiles, with an estimated 97 million new jobs created in the same period time — 3 years until 2025.
Sooner or later, all profiles will inevitably be transformed by the 4th revolution. That means, for example, all IT professionals will coexist at one time or another with artificial intelligence and will be trained and retrained according to their needs.
In estimation, by 2024 programmers will have AI as development partners that will guide them in the steps to follow during the development of a given project.
How can we keep up to date to secure a place in the labour market in our sector of activity?
Just like AI — today supported by Machine Learning and Infinite Learning by observing behaviour — we, humans, also need to enter a circle of continuous learning. But not only do technical skills need to be enhanced, but it is also essential to bet on developing social skills, often referred to as soft skills.
When we live in a world where AI can produce code, analyse behaviour and make decisions to solve problems (which often hold entire teams) - Skills such as creativity, originality, critical thinking, empathy and knowing how to communicate become differentiating factors for professionals. These skills are what will lead to their recognition and professional growth.
You (we) — professionals in the IT field and who every day observe the rapid changes in our industry, need to bet on the development of our skills, focusing on our soft skills, such as:
1. Empowerment of the skill of motivation and leadership: Knowing how to listen, inspire, and help our people to become increasingly better professionals.
2. Creativity: This will be one of the most differentiating factors. What can we do differently? What will mark innovation?
3. Emotional Intelligence: The ability to recognise and evaluate one's own emotions as well as of others and thus be able to make better decisions when faced with complex problems.
4. Analytical Ability: Making informed decisions supported by data, observing from different angles on how to solve a problem.
5. Adaptability: IT changes happen every day and all the time. We need to be flexible to adapt to these rapid changes. Our very life has turned "Agile".
6. Communication: The ability to communicate well, to express two ideas and your thoughts correctly, to reduce friction/noise, and to know how to be in front of an audience (internal or external) is fundamental for the professionals of the future.
7. Negotiation: Having negotiation skills is essential, whether in a sale, in the delivery of a project, or simply in managing day-to-day tasks. Today or tomorrow, we are constantly negotiating something.
8. Time management: One of the most precious and scarce assets is "time". To know how to manage it is to define expectations, setting priorities and deliverables within realistic deadlines. Time management is also about balancing personal and professional life, striving for health and reducing emotional stress.
9. Project management: Knowing how to define goals, deadlines, and deliverables. Working collaboratively, listening to the team and prioritising urgencies are fundamental to creating a good relationship between all parties.
The balanced bet between Hard Skills and Soft Skills allows IT professionals to no longer be seen as individuals isolated in a small room, producing code for an idea that someone has launched into the "air". Instead, as creative people who can contribute to developing those ideas.
They are the ones who can put the "WOW" factor into the launch of a new product or service and thereby create true "unicorns" of the future.