Stay Relevant, Stay Sure:

Taming the automation tiger

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On a random day these days if you open any newspaper or switch on any news channel the probability that you read or hear about any automation is very high. Along with that you are more likely to read or hear about the consequential jobs that will be lost and the growing threat of unemployment. This may seem overwhelmingly frightful scenario especially for entry level college graduates and post graduates. After all they are at the cusp of starting off their careers. It may seem like you are facing off with the all too powerful automation tiger.

What should one read into this kind of forecasts? I believe that things are much brighter than one would read into at first sight.

The fact of the matter is that as people prosper economically new industries come up and replace some others which vanish. Old jobs give way to new ones. Steno typist as a job opportunity has almost vanished but the opportunities to do such wonderful desktop publishing and design has created many, many jobs and made several entrepreneurs’ pockets jingle. When people prosper Leisure travel and tourism industry grows and creates more jobs. Fashion, lifestyle goods and luxury goods and so on are on the rise creating jobs associated with those sectors.

The message for college students and faculty is not to dread job shifts due to automation. I believe JOB SHIFT is a more appropriate word not JOB LOSSES. The students should be ready to learn and adapt to changing technologies and areas of work.

Various new jobs are arising in Analytics, AI, Regulatory and Compliance that did not even seem like attractive options earlier. Statistics and Econometrics which looked like doomsday options are today hot cakes.

The IT industry has seen several shifts. Mainframes, COBOL, and Fortran gave way to JAVA, .NET and other programming languages and today even those have matured and are on the decline. Digital programming languages, Big Data, Hadoop, Python are the new emerging fields to build careers in.

Same goes for the surgeon in today’s corporate type hospitals, the pilots in today’s hyper-competitive airline industry or the hairstylist of 2017.

The mantra is to be relevant by up-skilling, recasting the knowledge you have and unlearning the things that you so methodically mastered. To do this we are very fortunate today to have access to latest knowledge at our finger tips on our palms and in our pockets. Real time nano learning has made it possible to learn in small chunk as and when needed and the ability to connect the dots by adding the stuff just needed in the next installment of learning.

So the reassurance that one should stay with is that the automation tiger is not going to destroy jobs and people’s careers. It is only going to need you to be agile and stay relevant and that way we will be able to tame this tiger like we never thought before.

Condensed from article by Dr. Rajiv Noronha,VP and HR Head (Analytics and Insights) at TCS which was published as a part of the TCS AIP News Letter Vol. 12, April 2017.

Republished with permission.

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