So today, while watching the Indy 500 of course, thought I'd not only react a bit to an article I read, but ask for some input from some of my favorite tech thinkers as well.
So I was quickly browsing my google reader friends shares and came across this article "Yes, Technology is Taking Away Jobs, but here's how it might give them back" .... feel free to read and comment there as well. But the article did help me begin to think through the same question, where are the jobs in the future, what will disruptive innovation do to the economy for the positive or negative?
I then sent emails to some good friends asking for quotes and comments on the same article. I'll keep revising this post as I get those comments.
From Dan O'Day, internet security and forensics expert, another great response:
The job market I expect to see grow is software engineers, information assurance/security specialists, networking analysts, and database architects/administrators. The bottom line is that every field is increasingly being driven by technology, and people are needed who can develop and maintain that technology. Software engineers write the code and develop applications and solutions that address real-world problems, database folks manage the massive quantities of information and data that these applications must interact with and analyze, and information assurance folks ensure secure communication between various facilities and work to prevent data breaches and information loss. I should also mention networking technicians, but increasingly many of these roles are beginning to blend. In some ways, many businesses need all of these skills but only have the budget for one or two persons to do all of this. The market will likely increase for folks with strong skills in all or most of these areas: general IT support, networking, software engineering (programming), database architecture, and information assurance. I think it will become increasingly rare to find employed people skilled in only one of these areas, and in those cases that individual will likely be a specialist. For instance, a database specialist would be very skilled in business intelligence warehousing and have in depth knowledge of specific database management software such as SQL Server or Oracle management software, and a software engineering specialist may be extremely skilled in one particular programming language and development environments specific to that language. But in most organizations, one person will be expected to possess all of these skills, which is somewhat unrealistic. This is a large reason why contracting IT support to larger firms is desirable, because for one flat price you bring an entire team of experts on board for support for essentially the price of one skilled IT employee.
Concerning industries that will likely be hiring more information technology workers, I expect environmental science to significantly increase, creating high-paying IT jobs. This is due to increased interest (read funding) in climate and geothermal technology. I believe much of the high pay will be due to many of these jobs being located in places that are less-than-desirable to live due to temperature extremes. Remote IT support may become necessary if positions are difficult to fill. I also anticipate investigative technology to increase, as law enforcement and the public increasingly rely on technology to assist in solving crimes. As technology continues to play an increasing role in people’s lives, more skilled workers will be needed who can identify digital evidence stored in rapidly evolving technology. The third major industry I expect to see a dramatic increase in jobs being created in is healthcare. Up until recently, most hospitals and clinics purchased well-made medical technologies and prices among competitors were comparable. Due to an increasing role of the federal government in healthcare, hospitals are being forced to provide more services with less reimbursement for these services. This will drive competition for more affordable technology, even if it is not as advanced as more expensive options.
From Dave Woodson, a social media marketer and consultant, the following response:
"Taking the marketing side of things as new platforms roll out there will need to be those that are ahead of the curve. Who will be able to teach, show and lead by example to show best use of the new tools. As new tech comes out there will be a need for companies to help ease the transition to make new work with old.
For myself, as google and the web as a whole, moves towards "local" I've sought out areas to help local companies get noticed online, create a lead generation site designed to create leads vs just an advertising portal."
So Dave suggests the need for more trainers, teachers, counselors, and local marketing experts. A big question that Dave and I often discuss is how exactly do you measure your expert? Are they really doing anything all that great?
From Allyn Hane of Blogger Illustrated, blogger videos worth watching, and of course Northwest Indiana's AroundCrownPoint.com:
There are hundreds and hundreds (maybe thousands) of old, big, clunky companies (some in the Fortune 500) that simply refuse to jump on board with new technology and trends (due to the investment it requires), and in return, they are being left behind. This will cost jobs - the younger generation of workers coming up will not work for a company that is slow, old and out of touch.
But this is not the fault of technology, rather, it is the fault of CEOs and decision makers who effectively bury their collective heads in the sands of time and let their competition run past them.
You can see this exact same thing happening in the marketing world. There are new ways to market (via social media and the internet) but old school brand leaders are either scared of it, or they don't believe in its long-term viability, so they ignore it while smaller competition embrace it and kick their collective asses.
I for one found the author's suggestion that personal robotics may be the next breaking and disruptive technology a solid start. I think I tend to agree. I remember the sense of awe when I read one of Alvin Toffler's books a few years ago predicting that we would all eventually have personal 3D manufacturing capability in our homes. It is happening, 3d printers can make 3 dimensional objects even now! Think of the number of things that robotics could handle for a home or office environment. Think of the number of jobs in technology this will require to design, install, service, and maintain.
What about the legal profession? Chris Hedges, northwest indiana attorney and legal advisor, sent the following great response:
Technology is already impacting the legal field. Some examples:
Electronic communications have made the world a smaller place and is equalizing the playing field allowing small firms to compete with larger firms for certain legal business opportunities. Outsourcing work overseas to lower-cost American-trained attorneys might become a reality.
Firms will start to use computers to analyze documents, rather than assigning the task to associate attorneys. Legal workers will see their job descriptions change as more documents end up being filed and stored electronically.
Legal workers won't just do one job assignment as technology does some of the heavy lifting. This may lead to job redundancy as individual worker productivity increases.
Prices for services will decrease for certain fields. Document preparation services continue to grow online. Some courts are providing free forms for self-represented individuals.
From Jeff Freeze, medical outsourcing management consultant:
I'll speak briefly to an area I am very familiar with. Technology in medicine. It certainly is not eliminating jobs. With the Government mandate that healthcare providers "digitize" all patient medical records or suffer reduced Medicare compensation by 2015 the industry is being forced to adapt technology.
Obviously diagnostic and testing equipment leverages technology and that creates many opportunities for specialty techs to work on, operate, and interpret the information these devices deliver.
The big change will come in the business of medicine. The processing, handling, and storing of patient information. Privacy is a huge concern. Where to store the information, who has access to it, and how do extremely varied practitioners utilize the information all have to be worked out. This shift from paper to electronic will create opportunities for jobs at nearly every phase. Currently deployment of technology is a huge field. Moving on to integration, storage, processing, and finally the patient education component. Many job opportunities will exist. We may even have the opportunity for a "digital" doctor. Can you imagine a time when your smart phone is able to monitor, record, and transmit real time data to a trained person interpreting the data and able to take action on adjusting meds, notifying the patient to seek care (urgent or routine), and interfacing with your doctor for final consultations?
Yes technology will cost some jobs in the medical arena, but I believe it will create far more opportunities for a properly trained staff.
I'll pause here while I wait for more responses from even more friends. Thanks a ton to everyone who took the time to respond.