So what do you think? Should you be qualified for a tech job at a place like Google? The truth is that it no longer matters what you think or what excuse you make. If you want to keep earning in today’s economy, you better catapult your skills into the 21st century real fast.
Before you conclude your skills are in tune with the technical demands of 21st century jobs, do a little research. I thought I was current. I did the research, and I have been going back to school since the moment I left my old job in February.
Let’s Hear From Someone That’s Actually In Da Game
A Trip Down Memory Lane
When I was in my 20s, 30s, and even early 40s, I remember watching people my age struggle with some real basics of personal computing. I’m talking about things like password reset or connecting to a network printer. The usual excuse was, “I’m not very good with computers.”
Who said anything about being good at computers??? At my last job I would hear coworkers call IT because they couldn’t remember their password. They couldn’t map their terminal to the local network printer, when the printer’s IP address was labeled right on the side of it. I guess they didn’t think they needed to be qualified for a tech job, and I haven’t talked about anything technical yet.
All I could think was, “Get ready for early obsolescence.”
As HR Director for a company that was considered the industry standard for innovation, it concerned me that much of our company management team was close to being replaced by our online software. By the time I left, I could see how our online software had finally accumulated the same technical wisdom it had taken some of these managers a lifetime to accumulate.
I wasn’t concerned for them. I was concerned for the young men and women working under their leadership. We’d hire entry level staff straight out of high school, as unskilled as possible, that could answer the phone, navigate various screens, write down an order, finish writing it as soon as the call was done, and be ready for the next call. How would they climb the ladder now, if there was nothing new to learn – no value to add? The software did all the heavy lifting, AND it never called in sick.
Online Software: Opportunity Killer Or Creator
The online software eliminated the need to 1) know complex mathematical operations, 2) know what system components were compatible or incompatible, or 3) know technical aspects about the products selected for the solution requested. Once the customer learned to use the software, the software eliminated the need to have as many estimators other than those with power user knowledge. In that regard the software was an opportunity killer.
However, as the old proverb says, where one door closes another opens. The example of my old job is the narrative of a company doing what it had to to stay ahead. It is the individual’s burden to remain aware of risks and opportunities, to react productively when they present themselves, and to reinvent him or herself when the harsh reality finally sets in that there is no staying still. There is only move forward. The only constant in life is change.
For The Unprepared: An Encounter With A Harsh Reality Awaits
The day of career reckoning is coming for those who won’t get their skills 21st centuried-up. Unfortunately, many of the managers at my old job used their age to define them. All they did was say they were too old to go back to school. They got offended, retired, or looked for work at another place. The fact that they’d seen the train coming and didn’t do anything to stay in the game was a hard pill to swallow for many of them.
Is The Self-Deception More Prevalent Than Just At My Last Place of Employment?
If you’ve read our mission statement it says that our mission is to prepare the youth from working class families to become undeniably qualified for a tech position at a Silicon Beach/Valley company, like Google. I’ve now shared that mission statement with people hundreds of times, and they look at me like I’m a fool, or there’s no reaction at all – just a glum facial expression. It feels like I’m the crazy one.
It’s been almost as if the fate I’ve drawn for those I’ve spoken to didn’t think that it applied to them and their kids. The concept of becoming obsolete overnight was just too hard to grasp. They continue believing that somehow we are going to figure it out for those who fall behind.
Let’s Face It. Ignorance Is Bliss. Delusion Is Even Better.
Seriously. Who wants to wake up to the question, “Should You Be Qualified For A Tech Job?”. I do, and every day I talk myself out of answering Yes. But the delusions must stop. You must stop running away. If not, you run the risk of believing your own bull—t. I did.
For a moment I had started second guessing myself. I had fallen for the lure of self-deception. Heck, I even played along.
The mission wasn’t gaining traction. So I threw a picture of a homeless encampment on my YouTube channel’s page, and all of a sudden people started paying attention. I had changed nothing else. I just added the picture. Self-deception rewarded.
Lie To Yourself Once & You’ll Lie To Yourself Again
The positive feedback felt so good, I had to keep playing along. I added a few stories about families I knew who had fallen victim to displacement, and people started telling me they liked what I was doing. Can you say, “WHAT”?
Once again, I had changed nothing else. Just added a few pictures and talked about displacement.
Sure, there’s a connection between these different topics, and they are all worthwhile fighting for. The problem is people are seeing their fate come at them like a speeding bullet, but they can’t find it in them to move out of the way. So no more distractions and trying to find the long way to speaking the truth. Let’s just talk straight truth. We can’t help others if we can’t help ourselves first.
This Problem Is More Ours Than Anybody Else’s
It would appear there’s a few people out there paying attention to the complex truth, and talking about it. The rest of us are resting on outdated trends in income-education correlations. But education is where the urgent change needs to happen first.
The educational attainment indicator can no longer just be looked at as degree-not degree. It has to ask, what kind of degree did you obtain? The college enrollment indicator can no longer be looked at as college-no college. There has to be a measure of, “How good is your school?”
I’ll tell you right now, if the best my kid can do is a JC or a Cal State, it may not be worth the hefty investment. The school better have a value return that’s worth the cost.
But the problem isn’t our kid’s problem. It is ours!! Our education needs a boost. If you are in your 20s through 60s, and you are not beefing up your computer skills, you may not get to make that final house note, because you’re not going to have work, and you’ll run out of money.
An Intermission For Some Inspiration
So Let Me Ask Again. Should You Be Qualified For A Tech Job?
To think you will be employable without at least some level of technical computer knowledge that goes beyond knowing how to use MS Office or Google Apps is like this pawn pretending to be a king. It is delusional.
So What’s The Takeaway?
If your past education did not involve learning how computer hardware and software work, you need to go back to school. I mean, that’s if you’re interested in working for pay.
I’ll leave you with an excerpt from an article I just read in the Wall Street Journal.
If these are the expectations for blue collar jobs. What will they be for white collar jobs? So should you be qualified for a tech job?