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May 24, 2021

Artificial Intelligence: Will they replace us or provide new opportunities?

How likely is artificial intelligence (AI) to replace my job? This is a question playing on the minds of most graduates, especially during these challenging times, when the economy and future seem bleak.

We are at the sunrise stage of AI. There is a long way to go but everything around looks promising.

Even though AI is still in the nascent stage, it has already begun to change the work process in some fields. So how secure are IT, engineering and fresher graduates and what can they do to future-proof their careers? While most of this is prediction and speculation, let’s look at what factors contribute to a job being automated, and thus, what skill set to pick up that can’t be automated. In this article, we’ll also learn about the potential new jobs that are likely to be created with the emergence of AI.

Which factors contribute to automation?

Routine low-to-mid skill jobs are being eliminated quickly. Like with the industrial revolution, the dawn of the AI era is bound to replace and create new jobs. Even as many experts predict that the full potential of AI will not be realized soon in the future, AI is capable enough of automating certain work processes. So which processes are AI likely to impact first? Jobs that are routine, repetitive, take long time or are dangerous, and which are more costly for a person to perform create more opportunities for employers to leverage AI.

Are tech jobs safe?

Artificial Intelligence is an instrument to achieve better and faster. It shouldnot perceived as a threat. Jobs like software programming or coding, though a slow-moving and sometimes repetitive job, is still a creative engineering process. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for software developers will grow by 22% from 2019–2029, faster than the average for other occupations. While simple code writing will be automated, this will prove an added advantage for software developers as it will make their work more efficient. AI algorithms will be able to store more code in memory, making room for large databases of code, allowing for Big Data analysis and making it easier to automatically detect bugs. This in turn results in solutions that would never have been achieved by humans alone. While the extent of advancement is hard to predict, AI Algorithms will likely serve more as inputs to human employees, freeing up time for developers to work on more complex projects, than replacing web developers, security analysts or computer network architects all together.

How can you future-proof your tech job?

AI will be used to take up methodical and repetitive tasks, so you will need to be a creative and critical thinker with complex problem-solving skills. There are many short career training programs for graduates in the market which you can apply for. HCL First Careers is one such on-the-job short term course that not only refreshes your core skills but also trains you in new-age skills for AI developments, like Spark; Big Data technologies like Hadoop; data engineering; Internet of Things; infra tech; and many others. The course curriculum is prepared with the aim to improve technical skills and creative skills through applied communication and behavioural training. Such courses offer for both engineering graduates and graduates from other streams the chance to take charge of their future.

Will AI bring in new jobs in tech?

There is no doubt that AI will transform each and every industry in the forthcoming years.

Like any other technological disruption, the advancement of AI will bring in a host of new jobs. According to the World Economic Forum Report 2020, AI is likely to create more new jobs (58 million by 2022) than shrink the available opportunities. Most of the emerging jobs are for those in the tech industry, with AI directly leading to the creation of AI and machine learning specialist and process automation specialist jobs. Other tech jobs on the rise include data analysts, database and network professionals and Big Data specialists.

How to be non-replaceable by an AI?

In order to keep abreast, we need to develop creative skills to commensurate with the fast changing world.

Graduates will need to up-skill periodically to stay relevant. Figure out other skills that cannot be performed by robots or AI and work on them. Remember to take up projects that also teach you management and leadership. Be open to learning new technologies as they come and be open to learning non-technical skills, like creativity, emotional intelligence, negotiation, reasoning and leadership, which set you apart from an AI. While there is debate whether these skills can be taught, companies who put their employees through such courses have reported improvement. So, sign up for job-oriented courses after graduation as that will give you this advantage and make you more valuable to any hiring manager. The game plan to win is to not stop learning and keep improving your social and creative skills!

Thirumurugan Subbaraj
about author

Thirumurugan Subbaraj has IT experience of 23+ years. He is operations director at HCL Technologies. He has a track record of executing many ‘first of its kind’ initiatives. Currently, he is managing HCL Madurai operations. He may be reached at Thirumurugan Subbaraj

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