The 2020 Digital Employee: 10 Characteristics

Whilst this blog is focused at the characteristics that millennials (and others) functioning in the technology sector will need to have in the coming years, it could be associated to other industries also. Some of these features are already in play, however they are not seen currently as a full set. Happy reading.

1: Collaborator

Internal company perspectives will no longer be enough. With the lines between various technologies and industries blurring, to truly understand the necessary trends to keep up, both the person and the company will require one to forge strong active links with external companies, startups and universities. The tools required to achieve this will also evolve, with social media collaboration tools to come into the mainstream, along with the continued influence of smart devices and wearables for managing our workload.

2: Applies Relational Technology

A positive from active collaboration is the potential to see other technology methods across various industries. The wide lens approach will provide plenty of food for thought when the technologist looks to solve their immediate challenges. A  good example of this is applying classical file compression algorithms to bioinformatic problems in genome sequence analysis for disease susceptibility patterns. There will be huge advances on the adage “Think outside the box”, where people will build algorithms to find best fit algorithms to solve a related challenge. Seriously.

3: Brand.me

Personal brand is going to continue to grow in influence for future technologists. There are a few aspects to brand to consider. First, your internal brand within your immediate company – how your colleagues view you, how you ensure you remain visible in the right areas within your company. Next, your external brand is how you are viewed in immediate applicable technology areas, both geographically and in parallel companies. Lastly, the social brand of a technologist will require a suitable online social media strategy, to compliment the first two, and ensure that you are visible in areas that may very well blur into yours in the coming years.

4: People Person/ Personality

For years, technologists had an interesting reputation! Most people believed them to sit in dark rooms, writing code, and building circuits, with “geek” and “nerd” aimed in their general direction. Not so now. Its now “cool” to be in technology, given that the technology we work on is impacting everyone’s lives. We can see it, feel it, touch it. Its real. And thus, the impression that technologists can make in various circles has increased. We are now in boardrooms (see my previous blog on trends), becoming online influencers, some are even getting celebrity status (Elon Musk). Also, there is going to be a continued evolution in the number of generations that we will have to work with, which will mean more youthful employees will have to lead the aging generations.

5: Employee Skills as a Service

OK this may sound controversial. But think about it. As the lines between companies blur, with collaboration having a magnetic effect in pulling them exceptionally close to one another, it is predicted here that employees may begin to work in different organisations, with companies contracting their core employees into other partner companies that may need a particular skill set for a fixed period of time. It is predicted here that it may go a step further, with employees interviewing companies, rather than the other way round. The shift in power will happen, and employees will maintain their time bandwidth per week/year, and will give their services on a consultancy basis to multiple companies. Also there is a trend that the “one company employee” is a thing of the past, with employees more free to move quicker between jobs.

6: Self Managing

The next generation of technologists will have independence in their DNA, and will possess the required soft skills to be able to self manage their time and tasks. Point 5 above will demand this, but this is not to say that upper management will not be required. What is being said is that the hierarchical org charts will be a thing of the past, with flat structures work best in evolving technology companies.

7: Mobility

The walls of companies will be well and truly knocked, with advances in technology ensuring that “work from anywhere” is a distinct reality. Augment reality will play a part in this, when renderings of colleagues will solve the lack of contact/visibility challenge that currently exists. Enabled by technology, an entirely new work environment is on the horizon. According to Wakefield research, 91 percent of C-level executives and IT decision-makers believe that today’s teenagers will be working in roles that do not exist today. 72% agree that the traditional office as we know it will become obsolete within four years. Think about it. How are the generation in school now communicating? There were born into technology.

8: Educational Diversity

With online education companies such as Coursera becoming hugely disruptive in the education sector, it is predicted that the classical – Degree – Post Grad – Work (with training) model will change greatly. Numerous people have been quoted as saying “I don’t use a huge amount of my primary degree”. This will mean that certain individuals (think of the 16 year old kid who became a millionaire) will be hired quicker by companies, and then incrementally receive their education throughout their company. This is quite common in Japanese companies, with kids being given apprenticeships at 16, and mix college with work over the next 6 years. Now if the employment laws would catch up! Whilst incremental training is happening now within companies, colleges/companies don’t recognize it as a sum of the parts.

9: Startup(s) as a Hobby

Currently, having external commitments in technology areas, such as startup involvement is seen as a bad thing by most companies. There are trends to suggest that companies are actively opening the door to employees who use their spare time to engage in other opportunities. And rightly so. The skill set that can be gained from contributing in different company and academic structures are incredibly valuable, and there is the added bonus for the company in that they have a viewpoint into more early stage alpha and beta companies.

10: Mass Parallel Processors of Information

Yep. Its happening. And we don’t even know it. The way education is being delivered these days demands huge levels of multitasking. The ability to respond to several different stimuli at the same time is called continuous partial attention. We used to teach in a way that demanded a tremendous amount of memorization, but now it’s more about cognitive agility and multi-tasking. The part of the brain, called the hippo-campus, that’s involved in memory is a little different than the multitasking part at the front of the brain.

We see it currently in technology. To every Splunk there is a Hunk. Hadoop was barely alive when Spark came along. Java now has over 50 different varieties. Argh! Do we need to be expert at all of them? No, but we need to be able to switch between them seamlessly. Or at least know what gets used where to meet the challenge we are working on.

 

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deniscanty

DENIS CANTY IS EXCITED TO BEGIN IN JULY 2017 WITH MCKESSON, A FORTUNE 5 COMPANY – AS THEIR SENIOR DIRECTOR OF CYBER SOFTWARE ENGINEERING IN CORK. HIS LAST ROLE (TO JUNE 2017) WAS AS THE LEAD TECHNOLOGIST FOR IOT WITH JOHNSON CONTROLS INNOVATION GROUP BASED IN CORK, IRELAND. THAT ROLE MEANT COLLABORATING EXTENSIVELY BETWEEN HIS TECHNICAL AND SALES TEAMS TO DRIVE FURTHER COMMERCIALISATION OPPORTUNITY THROUGH TECHNOLOGY (BOTH OUR OWN AND PARTNERS/STARTUPS) INTO OUR SALES CHANNELS, SPECIFICALLY LOOKING AT THE EMERGING SMART BUILDING MARKET. THE PROJECTS INCLUDE OUR EXISTING TECHNOLOGIES – BUILDING SECURITY, RETAIL, HVAC AND BUILDING ENERGY – AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES SUCH AS IOT, AR AND MACHINE LEARNING. A KEY COMPONENT WAS TAKING KEY INPUT FROM NUMEROUS STAKEHOLDERS AND PROCESSES TO DELIVER ROI FOR CUSTOMERS AND PARTNERS. HE THEN LED THE TEAM TO BUILD AND DEPLOY THE SOLUTIONS IN AN LEAN AGILE MANNER. DENIS SPOKE ON THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT FOR JOHNSON CONTROLS AT NUMEROUS TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCES. HIS LEADERSHIP STYLE IS LEADERSHIP THROUGH TRUST AND DELIVERY, AND I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY TEAM, COMPASSION AND HUMILITY ARE ALSO IMPORTANT AS A LEADER IN MY OPINION. I LIKE TO BUILD A BALANCED CULTURE, WITH THE PEOPLES PERSONALITIES IMPORTANT INPUTS INTO THAT. DENIS HAS A DEGREE IN ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING (2H) FROM CORK INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, A MASTERS IN MICROELECTRONIC CHIP DESIGN (1H) FROM UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK AND A MASTERS IN COMPUTER SCIENCE (1H) FROM DUBLIN CITY UNIVERSITY. PRIOR TO JOHNSON CONTROLS, DENIS HELD A POSITION OF PRINCIPAL DATA ARCHITECT AND DEVELOPMENT MANAGER WITH EMC FROM 2010 TO 2015, SPENDING 2011 IN SILICON VALLEY. HE LED A TEAM FOCUSED AT REDUCING AND CONSUMING NINE TEST AUTOMATION PLATFORMS FROM EXTERNAL MANUFACTURERS TO ONE EMC CLOUD HOSTED PLATFORM. HE ALSO WORKED ON A NUMBER OF WORKFLOW AUTOMATION SOFTWARE REPLACING TEDIOUS MANUAL EXTRACT, SEARCH AND REPORT COMPILATION THAT RESULTED IN EFFICIENCY GAIN (WRITTEN IN PYTHON). I ALSO BUILT PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS APPLICATION IN MANUFACTURING AND DATA SCIENCE MODELS FOR THE CUSTOMER VERTICAL WITH THE CTO OFFICE. DENIS BROUGHT MICROSERVICES BASED DESIGN ALONG WITH DISTRIBUTED STORAGE AND PROCESSING TO THE GROUP, CHANGING THE DEVELOPMENT CULTURE IN THE PROCESS. DENIS WAS ALSO A MEMBER OF EMC’S GLOBAL INNOVATION COUNCIL AND AS AN AMBASSADOR WITH THEIR OFFICE OF THE CTO, LEADING THEIR CUSTOMER INSIGHT SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT. DENIS WON TWO GLOBAL INNOVATION AWARDS IN HIS TIME WITH EMC, IN THE AREAS OF SUSTAINABILITY AND E-SERVICES, AND HAS A PATENT IN INTELLIGENT POWER MANAGEMENT ON STORAGE ARCHITECTURE. HE ALSO WORKED PREVIOUSLY FOR ALPS AUTOMOTIVE DIVISION FROM 2005-2010, IN A VARIETY OF ROLES, INCLUDING AS THE LEAD COMPUTER VISION ENGINEER, AND THE LEAD TECHNOLOGIST ON EUROPEAN RESEARCH PROJECTS IN THE AREAS OF IN-VEHICLE DISTRACTION MONITORING AND SMART HOME DEVICES. DENIS ALSO SPENT TIME CONSULTING IN THE START-UP WORLD, SUCH AS A HEALTHCARE INFORMATICS CONSULTANT WITH ACE HEALTH, LEADING THE DEVELOPMENT FOR AN APPLICATION WHICH HELPS HEALTHCARE SERVICE PROVIDERS ACHIEVE BETTER PATIENT OUTCOMES AND CUT COSTS THROUGH A REGULATOR-APPROVED PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS PLATFORM IN THE DUTCH AND US MARKETS. HE ALSO HAD HELPED NUMEROUS STARTUPS ON BUILDING THEIR TECHNOLOGY ROADMAP TO ALIGN WITH DEFINED TARGET MARKETS AND CUSTOMER BASES.

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