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How to Future-Proof Your Career in Tech As the technology industry continues to evolve rapidly and big tech players are shedding thousands of workers, it's more important than ever for tech professionals to stay current in their skills and continue personal development to remain competitive in the job market.

By Denis Litvinov Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

One of the most significant shifts we are witnessing is the disruption caused by evolving technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain. While they are still far from being perfectly refined, we are already seeing more significant use of AI and blockchain-based innovations across industries.

Add to this the cyclical nature of the economy — the current downturn and the inevitable headcount reductions — that are making many tech professionals, not unlike myself, wonder what their career in tech will look like five to ten years from now.

Seeing disruptive technologies

There will inevitably be a move towards simple tasks automation in user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) development and design. Neural networks trained on huge data sets are set to significantly speed up and simplify the work of engineers and even replace some of those engineers to some extent.

To stay in demand, I believe it is becoming essential for tech professionals to expand their horizons, including by deepening their knowledge of higher mathematics to help improve their skill set for solving complex architectural and scaling problems. Being able to come up with creative solutions and solve tasks in unorthodox ways is already important, but the trend toward valuing out-of-the-box thinking will only intensify going forward, in my view.

The most in-demand skills in 2020, for example, were cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytical reasoning, people management, and UX design, according to research by LinkedIn. These skills are expected to remain highly sought after as technology advances and organizations look to leverage innovation to drive growth.

However, It's not enough to simply possess these competencies because your skills and knowledge must be continuously updated to keep pace with the ever-evolving technology landscape.

Learning new tricks

To stay ahead of the curve, tech professionals must be proactive in their own continuous learning and professional development.

For example, platforms such as Coursera, Udemy and Codecademy offer a wide variety of courses, ranging from beginner to advanced level, that can help tech professionals brush up on the latest technologies and best practices. Additionally, attending industry events and networking with peers can provide valuable insights into the latest trends and developments in the field.

Learning doesn't have to be formal or certificate-based. The most important thing is for a person to have a thirst for knowledge, a desire and the drive to want to become a better version of themselves every day, and a good grasp of advanced mathematics and similar STEM disciplines as a strong foundation for continuing to build future skills.

Vetting soft skills

Regarding future-proofing your career in tech, I would stress that soft skills are nearly as important as hard skills or technical knowledge and abilities specific to your field. Soft skills refer to the personal attributes and qualities important for working effectively with others. These include communication, problem-solving, and leadership — all are key for future career advancement.

When interviewing candidates for positions at FunCorp, a developer of entertainment tech products, including apps for meme lovers, certain soft skills are the key to success. We look for people who enjoy creating and are not solely focused on completing the tasks set for them. We also want the type of person focused on ongoing personal development with the passion and drive to continue learning and evolving. This type of person will make sure to continue learning to make up for any gap in the hard skills they may possess.

Staying motivated

Striving to be a professional committed to ongoing personal development can go a long way. Motivating yourself to keep learning and upgrading your tech expertise can also be challenging. Luckily, several strategies can help.

Setting specific and measurable goals for yourself is a great way to stay focused and remain on track. For example, you could set a goal to complete a certain course or certification by a certain date, or aim to attend a certain number of industry events every year. Breaking larger goals into smaller, more manageable tasks can also make them less daunting.

Another effective strategy is to find a community of like-minded individuals motivated to learn and grow. Sharing progress and setbacks with them can provide a sense of accountability and motivation. Reward yourself for completing tasks or reaching milestones. Continuously remind yourself of the benefits of learning and upgrading your tech skills, such as increased job opportunities or higher pay. Setting yourself up for a brighter professional future should be a great incentive!

It's also important to find the right learning methods that work for you, such as taking online courses, attending workshops or regularly participating in online forums relevant to your specialization. Keeping yourself updated with the latest trends and what's happening in the industry can help you to stay motivated and engaged. But it's also essential to take a break if you feel burnout and revisit your goals with a fresh perspective from time to time.

After all, nothing is set in stone when it comes to thinking about and planning for the future beyond 2023. Despite the recent turbulence, I believe the tech sector is still the place to be. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 11% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all other occupations. So the demand will continue to be there as long as your technical and soft skills stay current and well-aligned with ongoing technological advancements.

Denis Litvinov

CEO at Yepp

CEO of Yepp and co-founder of FUNCORP. Denis brings an extensive amount of experience in tech product management, and the development of user-generated content platforms with AI and ML content feed aggregation, including the social media space with more than 10M monthly active users at the moment.

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