Technology is driving change in our world faster and faster. With this speed of change comes an expanded landscape of possibilities; stranger, weirder, more exciting, awesome, dangerous and impactful than ever before.
Who builds this technology? Who dreams up what is possible? Who figures out what needs to be done to make it real? Who tests it, fixes the bugs and makes it ready to actually use? Who manages it? Understands how it works? Improves it?
The answer is you. And people just like you.
10 years ago, Facebook only existed in a limited capacity, available to students at particular universities. It seems unimaginable when you consider the amount of people now employed directly or indirectly by social media. A whole industry has sprung up around social media consultants, social content marketers, social influencers, writers, and experts leading the legions of community managers who are building this fast-moving, ever-evolving industry every day. For many of them, it’s not where they thought their careers would take them when they were starting out.
We have some work to do to ensure we have the thinking skills to keep up with this quickly-unfolding tech future. We need minds that are wired to solve problems for an interconnected world. We need to shift our thinking about what having a stable job means, and we need to embrace a careers of constant learning.
How does New Zealand keep up and compete in this world?
This is one of the core questions that drives the work of Enspiral Dev Academy. For the past two years we’ve been training junior software developers in intense, practical, industry-driven 18-week boot camps with a simple, clear mission: to help New Zealand build the talent to become a global leader in technology.
The demand for skilled, passionate web developers and technologists is burning hot in this country - 80% of our grads, most of whom had never worked in tech or IT before the bootcamp - get jobs within four months of graduating. And that’s a good sign. As money pours into tech all over the world, many New Zealand companies are working hard to start up, stay up and keep up so that, as a nation, we can position ourselves as a ready homebase for globally focused leaders.
The likes of Xero, Trademe, Powershop and Orion Health are proving that it’s possible.
Tech isn’t just for physics and maths geniuses anymore.
With the rise of cloud computing, the mainstreaming of web-based services, and the advent of mobile devices in nearly everyone’s pockets, the landscape of skills and opportunity in technology is growing. It’s become widely recognised that you don’t three years training and a technical degree to be useful enough to add value in a tech company as a junior these days.
A need for new emerging skills such as UX design, product management and agile coaching mean that if you have a background with “soft skills” (such as people management and interpersonal skills), and strong communication, leadership and teamwork, you’re at a great starting point to consider a career transition or side-skilling into tech.
Some of our Enspiral Dev Academy graduates now working in tech came from careers as musicians, creatives, marketers; a whole range of backgrounds.
In fact, Fast Company have called 2016 the year of the hybrid; they’re seeing strong global trends with employers looking for the “yes/and” mix of technical and non-technical skills.
Am I a tech person? Do I work in a tech company?
Being able to groove along to the tunes of this blaring techno future we’re entering doesn’t need to mean learning to code or working for a startup either.
There is a huge opportunity for anyone to add value to their lives and their work, no matter what they do, simply by embracing the internet and thinking just a little more openly about all the tools on offer.
It could start as simply as taking control and organising your life using a colour coded calendar, using apps to put words over pictures, just for fun, or - with a bit of investigating and experimenting - transforming the way you manage your time, your tasks, your documents, your identity and your budgets, and before you know it, your life.
So, the answer is probably, yes, you can be (more of) a tech person and yes, you probably work in a tech company.
Strap in. The future is going to be amazing.
The truth is, the future is going to be amazing - we’re on the edge of possibility that is hard to fathom, let alone envisage or understand. In New Zealand we have everything we need to launch and grow world changing, world-class technology companies that can literally, take us to the moon.
What we need now are the minds that can make it happen and more importantly - the cultural shifts that enable more people to realise the potential of technology and their place within it.
Anthony Cabraal connects people at Enspiral Dev Academy - which runs 18-week coding bootcamps - was a co-founder of Chalkle, and is part of the wider Enspiral network. He has a background in marketing and business.