Technology is changing the way we work. We don’t even need to go down the road of robots to see that the job market is impacted in a huge way by the invention of new technologies, large and small. Over the course of history, as industries have turned to digital solutions and introduced technological platforms, the way professionals in those fields accomplish their work has adapted and developed. And in addition to the jobs that have been fully created by tech innovation, in many ways, tech has shifted and augmented the very underlying skills that enable us to do our jobs. We took a look at 5 jobs that were made possible by the introduction of new technologies, from art to advertising, cinema to social, and business leadership to business growth.
Before the days of computers and digital art-making, advertising agencies and art departments worked with pen and paper to produce the type of visuals we’ve come to expect from companies. Today, graphic designers often work exclusively with digital tools like Illustrator and Photoshop. And as new platforms and tools are introduced, designers in the digital space are expected to adapt:
“As graphic design software becomes more intuitive and simple to use, it is more accessible to everybody. Designers now need to be of a much higher standard than ever before. From the way I gather inspiration, to choosing colors and creating logos, my workflow is constantly changing to incorporate new pieces of technology.”
- James Renouf, Marketing Art Director at Wibbitz
Perhaps more importantly, the advent of technological tools specifically for graphic design empower a different type of creative professional. Digital design is often expressed as an entirely separate skillset than its pen-and-paper predecessor, and artists who make careers out of one medium are not always skilled in the other.
“I can't draw use a pencil or paintbrush to save my life, but I can hop on the computer and create basically anything that comes to mind." said Renouf. "Without new tools and programs I would be lost!”
Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) Artist
If you’ve seen a movie in theaters lately, chances are you feasted your eyes on CGI. Computer-generated imagery is a mainstay of the film world today, but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, video and movies are a great example of the way an entire industry has been revolutionized time and time again by technological innovation - just take a look at our infographic, The Evolution of Video Production. In the same way that cable technicians didn’t exist until cable television was introduced in 1948, CGI artists, designers, and editors didn’t hit the scene until computer animation software was introduced in 1973.
As we well know, technological innovation isn’t a one-and-done phenomenon. Classic and critically-acclaimed movies are remade and remastered all the time as new technologies become available to improve color, sound, quality, and, yes, CGI components. The Star Wars films are a wonderful example since the franchise spans decades packed with brand new, cutting edge technologies. Without getting into a fan debate about the filmmaking merit of the different Star Wars eras, it’s clear that the original trilogy (which spanned from 1977 to 1983), the prequel trilogy (released between 1999 and 2005), and the sequel trilogy (which began in 2015 and will end in 2019) each represent enormously different landscapes in the availability of CGI technology, and boast longer and longer lists of CGI technicians.
Information Security Officers
Information security is really an entire field born of technological innovation. As humans have transitioned more and more of our lives onto our devices, individuals and businesses alike are faced with pressing concern to ensure that our data and digital information assets are protected. Chief Information Security Officers are responsible for the safety of those types of information assets across an entire company at the C-level of management, while InfoSec officers, analysts, architects, and more work to build, manage, and monitor the structures that ensure that safety.
Even more targeted for the technological world we love in, cybersecurity officers are responsible exclusively for data protection in the digital space. InfoSec and cybersecurity jobs can incorporate the safety of both physical and digital elements in a company, whether that means protecting a file cabinet or a server room. And while the days of paper filing systems surely faced their own challenges in the category of security, the digital age has necessitated a dedicated effort to keep our information assets safe from vulnerabilities, from hackers and bad actors, and from flaws in the technologies themselves.
Technology has also impacted the way we make and store information in the form of Big Data. Everything we do online generates data points about who we are, and now that we have computers in our pockets in the form of smart phones, we generate data points in our lives even when we’re not actively plugged in. Multiply a single person’s average data creation times the population of the developed world and you get more data than you’ll know what to do with. And in any amount, the collected information itself isn’t always readily readable or actionable for the businesses that hope to use it. That’s where a data scientist comes in.
From advertisers to tech companies and social media companies, it seems like everyone’s doing something with our data. Data scientists make the insights and conclusions that power those businesses possible. Layering on an analytical, insights-driven approach to raw data stores, data scientists combine complex mathematical algorithms with a deep understanding of human behavior and psychology in order to make sense of the enormous amounts of data companies collect from today’s digital world. And even if Big Data isn’t a technology in its own right, the gadgets and devices that have digitized the way we live and made Big Data possible certainly qualify as technological innovation that has spurred on a job that never existed before.
Chief Listening Officer
One of the most obvious categories of technology factoring into daily life today is the world of social media. From the many platform options out there like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to the many different ways that businesses can now put these technologies to use, social media has given rise to a huge number of jobs that never existed before, or at least, existed in different ways. Social media influencers exist thanks to these technologies, as do community managers and social media managers, digital reputation managers, social media analysts, etc.
The position of Chief Listening Officer (CLO) brings us back to the C-suite, demonstrating precisely how important the implications of social media have become to businesses in the digital age. CLOs are responsible for monitoring and interpreting a company’s mentions across the internet, the media, and the in-person communities that company touches. The idea is that customers are speaking up in more ways than ever before, and if business aren’t listening, they’re missing out.
“Before social media, business was a one way channel of communication. The company talked, we listened. Now we’ve become accustomed to two-way conversations. We expect them to listen, and so we see these kinds of roles.”
- Charles Purdy, Senior Editor at Monster.com (Forbes)
The way we live changes as technologies interrupt the world around us. It’s a necessary cycle of adaptation and growth that has inspired and realized countless futures. At the level of the ever-changing job market, technological innovation constantly shifts the capacity for how we can do our jobs, what employment looks like, and what those jobs will eventually become.