Tech Reshapes the Way We Work

How Technology Reshapes the Way We Work

By DeVry University

Despite what you might have heard, the job market isn't dead, and technology isn't hurting your shot at finding a great job. Evolving technology is, however, changing everything — including careers. While automation, for example, may replace humans with machines for some jobs, it opens up other positions for humans to perform different tasks around the machines. With the advent and growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), expect to see technology become part of nearly every job — and it might even create new hybrid positions. 

The New Industrial Revolution

Job worries are nothing new. During the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries, workers feared that evolving technology — steam engines and machines — would destroy their ability to make a living because those tools would eliminate the need for human involvement. Indeed, some jobs became obsolete, but the technology also opened up new opportunities, including employees needed to operate and maintain the machines.

Fast forward to today's digital revolution and you might see similar concerns. As robots, automation, interconnectivity and advanced technology continue to emerge, some jobs are bound to become obsolete. But in many cases, technology will enhance what people are able to do instead of taking over their jobs entirely.

For example, in the financial sector, a mortgage broker might spend about 90 percent of his time processing applications. Automation and advanced technology could streamline the paperwork process, freeing up more of the broker's time for advising his clients instead of crunching data.

Industries Disrupted by Technology

Although tech isn't replacing human involvement, it is reshaping many industries. For example, advanced technologies such as automation, Big Data and virtual reality (VR) have the potential to improve connections between workers and consumers by streamlining their interactions. Four industries experiencing big changes include:

  • Construction: Technology is speeding up the process to get people into their high rises and homes faster. Key technologies include three-dimensional printing for increased efficiency in designing complex buildings, automated robots that can be used to build structures, and drones that speed up pre-construction inspections by assessing a construction site’s soil, drainage and other key factors.
  • Insurance: Drones, dashcams and sensors — oh my! Applying technology to traditional insurance practices is creating opportunities for safe drivers to save money and time with telematics programs driving lower premiums and online applications, streamlining the entire underwriting process.
  • Retail: Imagine getting a personalized coupon and greeting as soon as you walk into your favorite store. As more consumers shop online, retailers are increasingly turning to technology to improve the in-store experience with everything from personalized service to better-informed employees.
  • Healthcare: The IoT is changing healthcare with an increasing number of wearable and smart devices ranging from fitness trackers to smart pillboxes. Advancements in medical technology already allow patients to schedule appointments through an app on their smartphones and log in to a portal to access all of their medical records. Some hospitals have started using sensor-enabled beds that automatically adjust the angle and pressure for optimal patient comfort.

3 Ways Technology Changes How We Work

In addition to reshaping the industries we work in, technology is also reshaping the workplace itself. Some of the changes include:

  • Increased Mobility: Our Millennial-driven workforce is increasingly on the move, and the workplace is becoming increasingly mobile to keep up. Mobile devices let employees work from nearly anywhere, while telecommunications technologies, like hosted voice, give a consistent, in-office appearance to customers whether you're in the office, on the go or on the beach.
  • Virtual Collaboration: Robust networks and ever-faster technology are boosting employers’ and employees’ abilities to collaborate from anywhere in real time. This supports a mobile workforce, but it also eliminates extraneous business trips and offsite meetings without leaving anyone feeling disconnected.
  • Space-Planning Efficiencies: Sensor-enabled seats and beacons give businesses information about how their office space is being used to help them design spaces with maximum efficiency.

Tech Skills Needed

Aside from driving dramatic changes in all industries, technology is also creating a remarkable skills gap across the board. In addition to hard skills like programming and engineering, employers are in need of workers with applied technology skills — skills that let workers analyze a problem and apply technology to solve it.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is already changing the way we live, play and work. Planning now for the changes ahead is a great way to keep your skills sharp.

Brought to you by DeVry University where we put technology at the core of our business, tech and healthcare education to help prepare our students to solve the problems of tomorrow.