Never has the ability to understand the language of the web been more important than it is right now. It is impossible to separate our future from technology. The collection and analysis of data, the provision of services, the distribution of news, the way we transact and consume, and the way we connect as a society is, and will continue to be, governed by these advanced technology systems.
I’ve been around computing science and technology as a consumer and creator for the best part of 30 years. I remember the launch of the IBM PC and using DOS 1.0. I remember when e-mail was t-mail and I remember a world without the internet.
During this time I’ve watched the industry morph, scale and re-imagine itself many times over. The IBM PC, World Wide Web, mobility, social networking and cloud computing are all key technology milestones that have irreversibly shaped the world as we know it today. Collectively their impact has been to change everything. Cultures, science, education, commerce, politics, media, economics, religion, war et al. So what can we expect next?
In 2013 we will start to see a real meshing of the physical and virtual worlds. Everything from light switches to milk cartons will begin to be integrated with uniquely addressable sensors connected to vast sensor grids, made accessible via the web and controlled by software. Some refer to this as the age of “the internet of things”. A virtual next step in the evolution of automation.
Lets park the similarities to certain science fiction films for a moment and remember that automation is long and evolving reality. In 3500 BC the Mesopotamians placed rollers under heavy loads to make moving these objects easier. Six iterations later came the Wheel.
The thing for me that differentiates this next stage in the evolution of automation most is that computers connected to a vast semantic knowledge graph will start to make decisions and drive outputs because they understand the world the way humans do. http://www.google.com/insidesearch/features/search/knowledge.html
So with all this automation what will the humans do?
Well its much less of a threat than you think so long as you are prepared to face your future head on and start thinking strategically about your career. Understand that the speed and nature of these changes drive the need for much greater awareness from you. Look at the bigger picture: what’s happening in your sector; what are the emerging trends; where is the growth; which jobs are vulnerable; how do you measure up?
As the evolution of automation speeds our world up even more, the skills that make you relevant and useful today will have an ever-shorter lifespan. You need to be strategically sensitive, agile and adapting constantly in order to transform yourself, your career and your business without losing momentum. Perceive early, decide quickly, act with strength and speed.
Getting in step with the technology curve and developing your digital mindset is absolutely essential to ensure you’re career is future proofed and protected in both the long and short term. I think everyone has a responsibility to “bootstrap” themselves. Start learning the basics of code and the cloud. I’m not suggesting that you need a computer science degree or that your future lies in hardcore programming but your ability to converse and interact using the language of the
Web cannot be overstated.
So where do you start? Well thankfully the web has a culture of open and spontaneous generosity. A quick search on Google will throw up a solid range of online offerings like Treehouse and Codecademy or you could choose to attend face to face training.
The short answer is that it’s now easier than ever to learn the language of the programmable web. My advice for the would be coders is to attend an entry level course like the one now being offered by The DoLectures. http://dolectures.com/workshops/
The value of attending a workshop like this is that in addition to learning the language of the web you’ll also learn an invaluable lesson about how to structure your ongoing learning.
To get you started on the journey I’d advise joining a community like http://stackoverflow.com/ with members who can help support your Q&A. Register with http://www.codecademy.com and take some of their free online classes. Lastly you can make things much easier for yourself by using an existing web development framework. My favorite is the twitter bootstrap. http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap/
I wish you luck on your journey from technology consumer to technology creator.
Blog by Jonny Lennon, Posted by: