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Friday fun for the IT crowd: Are robots coming for your job?

October 24, 2014

It’s official when Gartner says it is: The famed research organization expects one-third of human workers will be replaced by drones or robots by 2025 … or about 10 years. What does that mean for you?

Will your IT skills become obsolete?

With advances in artificial intelligence, knowledge workers shouldn’t assume their jobs are safe. IT workers are no different. In fact, 59 percent of IT workers worried about this very thing in a poll by Tech Pro Research. While some companies have already replaced certain IT functions with automated processes or robots, these are typically lower-end positions that don’t require lots of decision making or creativity. However, people in IT Service Management should worry as companies increasingly look to automate whole fields like help desk, application management and infrastructure maintenance.

What can you do about the robots?

We can’t really say this in enough different ways: If you’re worried about your skills becoming obsolete, broaden them. Specifically, learn more about business, communication and interpersonal relations. The ability to see the big picture (how IT enables business and opportunities for revenue/savings), lead teams and communicate with nontechnical people never goes out of style. And a robot simply can’t duplicate those skills.

How is this “fun”?

So maybe this doomsday talk doesn’t live up to our blog title, “Friday fun ...” But it’s not all bad: Economist theorize one outcome of robots stealing our jobs could be the utopian dream of shorter work days and longer vacations. It also might lead to jobs that are more socially rewarding.  

P.S. Some good news for IT workers

In the short-term, IT pros should generally feel optimistic about their career outlook. Thirty percent of companies surveyed plan to increase IT staff in the fourth quarter, and 4 percent will see a significant increase in IT hiring. Eighteen percent will increase hiring of temp IT workers. In the short term, most of you are enjoying a hot labor market. In the long term … well, you may want to learn to speak ROILA.

Why not read about the coolest jobs in IT?

Or if this post wasn’t enough of a bummer, read how Big Data may take all the fun out of baseball

Lisa Dare is a marketing writer for TEKsystems who enjoys learning about IT from some of the smartest folks in tech. She frequently blogs about IT career advice and the lighter side of tech, and on her off days loves to kayak and play with her toddler son.

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