How to Keep Your IT Job in an Age of Automation

Develop new skills and learn the latest tech to stay relevant.

Written by Yuval Erez
Published on May. 31, 2023
How to Keep Your IT Job in an Age of Automation
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Automation and artificial intelligence are becoming increasingly prevalent in the workplace, with a particularly noticeable impact on the IT industry. The increased efficiency, cost effectiveness and scalability opportunities provided by automated processes unlock a new source of value for organizations. 

5 Tips for Staying Employable

  1. Get comfortable with the latest programming languages.
  2. Work on your soft skills.
  3. Brush up on data analytics.
  4. Keep up with cybersecurity trends.
  5. Consider a career pivot, perhaps to freelancing or consulting.

But they also displace IT workers, who find that the premium once put on their skills disappears when a machine can do the job.

Such shifts in workflow and tools pose numerous challenges to IT professionals. Engineers in roles at risk of being automated, for instance data entry, customer service and technical support, should actively consider a possible career transition and ensure that their portfolios are up to date. Fortunately, there are several ways they can increase their chances of keeping pace with the landscape and staying employable.

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Become Proficient in Emerging Tech

Engineers should get comfortable with the latest programming languages, software development methodologies, cloud computing platforms and other technologies. They should also learn to interact with chatbots and robotic process automation (RPA) to be able to build and implement them on behalf of their clients and companies.

In an age of automation and machine learning, it’s quickly becoming a prerequisite for industry workers to be conversant in these tools. In the past, engineers were primarily responsible for developing products, systems and structures. They’re now responsible for the design of automated systems, the integration of AI into products and processes and the management of high volumes of complicated data.

It may be helpful, even necessary, to take courses. A certification can set one engineer’s CV apart from others. Many employers, if called upon, will make financial contributions toward additional job-related education. These skills and knowledge are transferable and will be key to any career move within the industry, or even to maintaining one’s current position.


Brush Up on Data Analytics

IT insiders continue to talk about big data and the need for businesses to extract insights from large datasets. Naturally, data analytics has become a critical skill for industry professionals. As companies continue to accumulate more and more data, the demand for skilled data analysts continues to skyrocket. With the rise of AI and machine learning, data analytics has become essential, as these technologies require vast amounts of data to train their algorithms effectively. 

To achieve success in a data analytics role, employees must have a strong foundation in statistics, mathematics and computer science. They must also be proficient in tools such as Python, R, SQL and Tableau. Additionally, they must be able to work with large datasets and understand how to use machine learning algorithms to uncover insights and patterns in the data. 


Stay Locked on Cybersecurity Trends

Cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly sophisticated issue as engineers are called to build online infrastructures that process large quantities of data quickly and accurately while defending against attacks and interference. Engineers can secure their value to employers by continuously cultivating a perspective on how AI and automation can both help and hinder efforts toward a safer, more trustworthy internet. 

This includes learning about emerging threats, as well as being versed in the latest tools and technologies used to prevent and mitigate attacks. In addition, engineers must gain a solid understanding of risk management principles and regulatory compliance requirements, as these play a critical role in protecting businesses from legal and reputational harm.

To stay current on the latest cybersecurity trends and techniques, engineers should attend industry conferences, participate in online courses or webinars and take formal courses with industry certifications. In addition, they should participate in open-source projects and contribute to cybersecurity communities, which can help to demonstrate their expertise and increase their visibility in the job market.


Remember Soft Skills

As a wider variety of jobs are outsourced to machines, greater emphasis will be placed on skills that are difficult to replicate mechanically, chief among them creativity, critical thinking and communication. Generative AI platforms have recently dominated the conversation with their previously-unheard-of abilities to mimic the authenticity of human speech, but they too have their limits, which both organizations and individuals have to recognize.

To hone these skills, employees can turn even tasks related to developing these robotic systems into opportunities to highlight their unique capacity for ideation by holding workshops, brainstorming with coworkers and creating in-person networking opportunities where people can trade industry experiences and goals.


Consider the Many Forms of an IT Career

In 2023, work of all kinds is less tied to location than ever before, with tech talent in especially high demand in the burgeoning digital nomad economy.

IT professionals can take advantage of these newfound levels of mobility by building a personal clientele through freelancing or consulting gigs. Talking to other IT specialists and engineers in an array of workplace situations can provide valuable insight into what a successful career can look like and what setup best suits an individual.

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Change With the Landscape

The breakneck pace at which the tech sector evolves is what makes it exciting and draws so many professionals into its orbit. But this same unpredictability manifests undeniably in the job market. 
By staying educated on new and perennial industry trends, identifying and honing transferable skills and being flexible in imagining the nature of their work, IT professionals can weather the advent of automation — or any new tool — and continue to build meaningful careers in the industry.

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