It’s no secret that millennials often feel lost in their day-to-day lives and, well, in general. While many millennials have taken to challenging the 9-5 office norm by working remotely or starting their own companies, many are staying in their industry, but simply adapting to the more tech-driven demands of the job market. From web developers to coders, tech is becoming an integral part of every company, industry and standard business practice.
So what do we mean when we say “tech,” and why is learning the ins and outs of tech so important, especially for young people that are hungry for good professional roles?
High-Tech Stuff is Taking the World’s Biggest Companies By Storm
Tech is taking some of the world’s companies by storm, both big and small. A good example is something that happened recently in the news; the CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra, made headlines because she led the company’s decision to cut 15 percent of its salaried workers. Barra approved the decision not just because it’ll save the company $6 billion by the year 2020, but also because it aligns with her ultimate goal of preparing for a future of self-driving and electric cars.
While the decision to close GM plants seemed to shock many people, including President Trump, the fact of the matter is GM is a century-old company and needed to shift its business model to fit the times. Companies and employees alike need to be quick to evolve; in this economy, they must learn to sink or swim.
The most successful people are adapting to the times of tech. Even celebrities who seemingly have zero relevance to anything high-tech related, like Karlie Kloss, are getting involved: Kloss has a two-week free summer program for teenage girls called “Kode with Klossy,” (and if “free” and Karlie Kloss aren’t enough to motivate you to learn how to code, what is?)
And If You Want to Keep Your Job, You Need to Keep Up
I’ll refer back to this handy-dandy Deloitte survey that’s chock-full of relevant information. According to it, millennials are very concerned about what it calls “Industry 4.0”—or the future of business—because they feel they lack the necessary skills to keep up with so much tech and, well, keep their jobs.
The experts recommend learning to prepare for Industry 4.0 by starting small and simple. Angel investor and author of Disrupters: Success Strategies From Women Who Break the Mold Dr. Patti Fletcher told Refinery29:
"Every industry is a technology industry and being able to understand that, and knowing how to use these tools, regardless of what you're doing, is huge. If you don't, it's like not knowing how to use a word processor 20 years ago."
One way to make sure you’re ready for the future of work? Being able to master things you may not even realize are tech-related, like making informed decisions based on data roundup or learning different video conferencing softwares. These skills, while crucial to becoming a low-key tech wizard, will ultimately increase your odds of finding a job that presents, and will continue to present, more market demand than ever.
While these techy things won’t necessarily altogether replace necessary modes of communication like face-to-face meetings, they’ll still help you stand out from the crowd, because they'll help you help your company thrive.
How to Dip Your Toes in the Tech Scene Even Further
Teach yourself how to code. You don’t need to have gone to college to learn specifically how to code. Nowadays, there are free online courses and classes galore that will help teach you how to code. And while coding may sound super intimidating, it mostly just sounds scarier than it actually is. (Fun fact: Coders can make anywhere from $70,000 to $100,000+, depending on the company and industry you work for.)
Connect with your techie friends. Are you even really a millennial if you don’t have at least one friend that’s in the midst of developing some really cool app? If you’re a writer or editor (like me), consider getting involved with the app, company or start-up from the beginning. You’ll learn a ton, and you could eventually transfer those skills to another job you decide to take on or, if you’re super ambitious, possibly develop an app or website of your own.
Get rid of the stigma that tech is just for nerds. It used to be that tech was reserved for people that love video games and still live in their mom’s basement. But STEM is the future, it’s where the money is and the industry is counting on us women to help fill it up with flexible female minds. After all, women hold only 20 percent of tech jobs, and it’s up to us to change this sad stat.
Luckily, girls in tech like codergirl_ on Instagram are using their platforms to change the way we view tech and making it—what’s the word?—fetch. Change is scary, but change is also a good thing: Change makes us think and work harder. So go expand your skills and increase your hirability!