Bringing it Back to People Skills (And Maybe a Little Tech)


More than half of the jobs that exist today require employees to maintain at least some semblance of proficiency with respect to technology. Over the next decade, it’s projected that more than three out of every four workers will need to be a tech wiz in order to land a gig.

To be sure, the tech industry itself has grown rapidly in recent years. And of course the people who work in tech all need to be familiar with technology on a substantial level.

But as waiters and medical assistants start using tablets and data analytics is becoming increasingly prevalent at law firms, jobs that have traditionally been tech-agnostic are increasingly getting with the times.

Progress is great and all. But technology isn’t intuitive for everyone. Keep in mind it’s not just older folks who can’t find their way around an iPhone; a recent study characterized 6 out of 10 millennials as having “low” technology skills.

How are the technologically inept folks supposed to make a living in the modern economy?

People Skills Never Go Out of Style

AI may be on the way to replacing a ton of jobs previously held by humans. Still, no matter how sophisticated AI technologies get, there’s no substitute for a human.

People skills will still matter in jobs of the future. We need to communicate with one another to get things done, after all. No matter how technology affects business in the coming years, companies are always going to need employees who know how to work well their peers.

People skills play a very vital role in the strength of any company. Those who have people skills will always be able to find work because they’ll be able to help:

  • Maintain a healthy culture. Company cultures are important for a variety of reasons. When cultures are strong, employees enjoy showing up to work. They’re engaged and more productive. People get comfortable with one another and collaborate more effectively. On the flipside, employees who work in terrible cultures are miserable. They don’t want to be there, and neither does any prospective jobseeker. Companies will always need workers who can contribute to an enviable corporate culture.
  • Broker agreements. Engineers, for example, aren’t always known for being the most communicative people. When a number of engineers disagree over the path of a project, things could get a little dicey. Companies will always need workers who can help build a consensus. If you’re able to translate engineer-speak into English to accelerate the decision-making process, you won’t have a problem landing a gig.
  • Brainstorm innovative ideas. You don’t need to know how to code to build the next disruptive platform. Every product starts from an idea. No matter what happens, you will always have what a robot will never have: a human brain. If you can come up with great ideas on a regular basis, companies will want to work with you.
  • Offer feedback and respond to it. There’s no such thing as a perfect worker. From time to time, everyone screws up. Even the best employees slack off every so often. Such is life. The best workers understand that they can always get better. They also understand that, so long as they’re honest and supportive, they can help those around them get better, too. If you’re able to offer constructive feedback and are willing to make changes to improve yourself, employers will be interested.
  • Deal with angry customers. Enough said.

While many workers of tomorrow will likely have sharp technology skills, there will still be careers for folks who don’t know how to code or have a hard time figuring out how to use Trello or Slack.

But just because you might not have the slickest technology skills right now doesn’t mean you’re forever damned to a life of people-skills-only jobs.

Adopt a Growth Mindset

There are two kinds of people: those who feel as though they’re born with a certain level of intelligence (fixed mindset) and those who think they are capable of always gaining new knowledge and new skills (growth mindset).

If you’ve got a fixed mindset, it’s time to change the way you look at the world. You have the power to shift your mindset and start learning new skills.

The good news is that you don’t even have to open up your wallet to increase your skillset either. There are a number of free learning resources on the internet you can use to become a stronger professional. For example, Codecademy allows you to learn how to code for free. And you can use Coursera to take a number of free courses. You can even browse Wikipedia to learn about topics that interest you. The list goes on and on.

If you’re worried that your tech skills are lacking and you’ll be unable to find meaningful work in the coming years, there’s no better time than now to start teaching yourself new skills (assuming, of course, you don’t want to spend money or can’t).

But maybe you just don’t care for technology. What good is it when the power goes off and WiFi stops working? Keep your people skills sharp, and you’ll be employed even if the entire grid is knocked offline. They’ll always need good people to keep the worker drones calm during a crisis anyway.

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