Unintentional or Evolutionary: How Digital Platforms Impact Future Jobs

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Two technology catalysts have changed the workforce needs of both government and the private sector.

Unintentional or evolutionary, the positive impact of digital platforms on society’s future jobs should be recognized by educators, governments and individuals across America. The rapid pace of change over the last few years demands that we find creative, new ways to use technology to enable fast-paced technology modernization, while also creating value and opportunity for workers to succeed in traditional office, remote and hybrid environments. 

To elaborate, consider the emergence of new jobs such as citizen data scientist, social media influencer, blockchain analyst, telemedicine physician and cloud architect. These occupations all come to life from two technology catalysts: Resilient Information Technology and HyperAutomation. These catalysts have simultaneously created the need for new skill sets, fueled the global talent deficit for technology-related workers, and are now addressing skilling and reskilling of our global workforce for the needs of today and tomorrow. 

Let’s dive into these job catalysts a bit more:  

We begin with Resilient IT, which includes what is commonly referred to as secure cloud technologies, noting that its role in the market ultimately enabled HyperAutomation. To simplify, Resilient IT encompasses computing services and supporting infrastructure typically offered by cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud. In a short time, these providers have changed the game by automating many of the legacy tasks associated with information technology and operational technology, creating entirely new fields of knowledge, including HyperAutomation. 

Not only have these providers created new jobs and the need for jobs such as cloud architects and big data scientists, but they also now offer programs to prepare unemployed and underemployed individuals for Resilient IT careers. For example, the AWS re/Start program prepares such individuals for cloud careers through classroom-based training with employee and employer success stories from around the world.

HyperAutomation refers to technologies such as low-code development platforms), artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation that enable organizations to rapidly automate mission services. 

One benefit of HyperAutomation is that it widens the talent pool by empowering entry-level and mid-level professionals to quickly build secure software applications. Technology firms like Dataiku, help harness the power of HyperAutomation by allowing data scientists with software development skills and those without software coding experience to collaborate on automation projects in a full-code, low-code or no-code environments. Users, including a burgeoning job type referred to as ‘citizen data scientists,’ can build models in a low-code or no-code manner with advanced tools at their disposal. One example of citizen data scientist impact has been the analysis of housing eviction data from local court records to reduce bias. 

Similarly, LCDPs increase access to high demand training and professional technology certifications for a wider range of people, including those without formal software development or coding experience. Industry leaders such as ServiceNow are enabling automation across practically all markets and sectors and are shifting from charging fees for training to offering free training for the next generation. For example, ServiceNow offers a NextGen Professionals Program that “builds critical, entry-level skillsets for candidates, many of whom have been marginalized by the technology industry.”

Furthermore, programs making use of LCDPs are increasingly intuitive for the digital-first generation and can provide exceptional content for middle and high school curricula. 

Unintentional or evolutionary by design, this Resilient IT and HyperAutomation knowledge improves critical youth skills and enhances transitioning-worker skills, both of which help to reduce the talent deficit. 

As a society, we must prioritize closing the talent deficit that’s currently challenging our country’s economy. This starts with recognizing that academic learning alone is no longer enough to attract and incentivize digital skilling and reskilling. With digital workforce training programs now more widely available, we can increase the amount of hands-on training that is available through a variety of more flexible business experience scenarios, including part-time employment and remote work. 

Understanding that the barriers to entry into the digital workforce are being lowered or eliminated by Resilient IT and HyperAutomation, we encourage the following. First, for educators to introduce cloud, low-code and AI/ML/RPA technologies earlier into the education system. Second, for federal, state and local governments to cooperatively fund skilling and reskilling initiatives with industry. Lastly, for those interested in being part of the workforce of tomorrow and the digital economy to seriously consider taking advantage of these free programs. Taking these steps will take full advantage of these cutting-edge technologies and position workers for fulfilling, long-lasting careers.  

Lakshmi Ashok is the VP of Enterprise Service Management at Leidos. Brendan Walsh is the SVP of Partner Programs at 1901 Group, a Leidos company.