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Effective Tech Requires

Skills Diversity

Hannelise van Wyk CA(SA), Senior Functional Consultant:FP&A, Decision Inc.

At a time when developing technology skills for a digital world has become a priority, companies will do well not to limit their focus on acquiring computer science and programming talent but also expand into other, more diverse fields.

As technology evolves, it is increasingly important to maintain the human link to it. Conversations need to shift from the nuts and bolts of programming into examining more of what and why solutions are made. Fundamentally, companies need to shift the way they recruit and train. So, instead of limiting themselves to those in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, they should pull in people with backgrounds in the humanities (think musicians, writers, and artists).

Of course, it is not a case of choosing one over the other. Instead, the modern workforce revolves around a diversity of skills. Technology has become intuitive thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and neural networks. This means modern systems can often be manipulated without having to know any code.

On the one hand, you have skills targeting the sciences. These are the people that know how to build. And on the other, you have those skills envisioning the final product and what is required to be developed. Furthermore, these contrasting forces need people that can provide context to the world and help teams work better together.

Many problems today still revolve around unstructured data. This sees the need to have people who understand what the goal of something is. Traditionally, developers do not think this way. They are very much geared towards a logical, and clinical approach to problem-solving. However, individuals who ask the philosophical questions and approach challenges more creatively can greatly enhance how developers work.

Even though some might fear that big data, automation, the Internet of Things and machine-learning will replace jobs, human intelligence still retains unique qualities that computers cannot fill. Instead, people should examine how they can use technology to elevate their skills to a more advanced level for the digital age.

Technology has become an indispensable part of our lives. It is something the entire organisation has become involved in. Why then should a business limit themselves to solving problems by only empowering IT staff and developers to do so? Instead, a broader cross-section of skills and expertise can bring fresh insights into overcoming these hurdles.

The business environment requires the breaking down of stigmas that technology is something only limited to purely analytical thinking. Instead, it needs people who can embrace creativity with technology.

And while the diversity of skills is important, it is also essential to stimulate this diversity to gender as well. As more women enter these fields, they need to be role models for girls to start embracing this joint technology and creative environment.

After all, technology is not just about coding, developing, and thinking in bits and bytes. It requires creatively-minded individuals that can help solve problems in innovative ways.



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