No longer just for "that type of job"

October 27, 2022

Technology skills now required in every job!

By Tory Campbell, ’00, Senior Associate Executive Director, Experience OSU Alumni Association

The last two and a half years of navigating the pandemic have revealed the increasingly integrated role technology plays in nearly every industry and sector. Grade school classrooms use Google Docs and Zoom calls to facilitate learning; supply chains mobile monitor through a cell phone app; grocery stores employ self-service check-out machines; crops are constantly evaluated via highly sophisticated sensors for moisture content and growth patterns. What once felt like a measured but steady pace toward learning emerging technologies is now an all-out sprint to not be left behind in your current job.

This accelerated adoption of technology in all sectors and the required competencies to use it skillfully is real. It is no longer a “nice to know” to remain competitive and gainfully employed in your company, but rather a necessity.

In our workforce history, the advancement of technology has consistently trended toward more, better and more complex. Yet within those expansive phases, many workers had time to do their job with only a minimal amount of adoption, if any at all. For many jobs, technology has been present but merely a buzzing annoyance in the background that you could work around and still be effective in your job and be considered a solid contributor. Those days appear to be fading quickly. The last few years of the pandemic pushed many of the slow to adopt sectors into a full plunge into the deep end of the daily utilization of technology and automation where there is no turning back.

Now more than ever, for those not born with an iPhone in their hands, such as Baby Boomers who are putting off retirement and Generation X who flirt with but don’t always commit to being early adopters, we must quickly adapt to remain effective and competent in our roles to extend our careers. We must seek training and support to grow our bandwidth with technology. It is possible, but we must break through the stereotype of “you can’t teach old Beavers new tricks” to show and prove that we can successfully wield the vast powers of technology in our jobs.

To those who have recently entered the workforce, this is to your advantage and requires that you capitalize on what you may feel is common knowledge as you often enter in a junior role as the “resident expert” on how to integrate and use many technologies to build teams, execute assignments, drive company culture and help to evolve a company’s antiquated approaches.

Because of this generational shift, OSU remains committed to improving access to its university colleges for such learning, its role in advancing state-of-the-art technology, and preparing the future workforce from liberal arts graduates to engineers to be leaders in this new normal. The university’s ongoing campaign to raise $1.75 billion and strengthen connections through career mentorship and volunteering will support such a mandate to build out and ready the skills of the next generation.