Digital hesitation is a career-killer

Digital career advice of the day: ask yourself if you are a digital winner or a digital survivor. Are you winning benefits from your digital abilities – or does your level only stretch to survival in a growing digital world? You can answer this question by looking at how you relate to your colleagues and college friends. Are you the one they come to with IT related questions? Or are you the one asking for others’ knowledge of digital tools and online information sources?

Dear Cphbusiness Alumni - within the next 5-7 years, you will get a job that doesn’t exist today. Your professionalism, personality and digital competences will make you valuable in a way that is hard to predict.

Does that sound weird? Then ask the many Social Media Managers, IT-business analytics and AdWords-consultants working today if they saw it coming. This is the consequence of the colossal change that society is going through these years; digital opportunities and cloud-based services create a jumble of new ways of creating value, both in your private life as well as in your work life.

And yes, the digital transformation will influence your career as well. Your IT abilities and approach to the digital opportunities will either strengthen or weaken your professionalism. So even if you are the best in your year, your IT skills will influence the way your boss, clients or business partners rate you. If your IT skills are weak, they will limit your chances of making a career – just like F1-driver Sebastian Vettel will not win a Grand Prix in a Niki Lauda racer from 1976.

Your approach to new digital tools is central in your personal improvement. There are courses and tutorials that can teach you most of it. Interfaces are becoming gradually more intuitive, meaning more people can apply complex communication tools in their everyday life. But a hesitation towards new technologies can also limit your own understanding of the new technologies. Were you one of those people that shrugged at the new PokemonGo, when it rolled out in the summer of 2016? If yes, you are already lagging behind when augmented reality is implemented in your business area – if it hasn’t been implemented already….

Digital hesitation can be reduced with curiosity and a continuous interest in digital development. But you should also pay attention to digital hesitation in your workplace. The IT-infrastructure and IT tools that businesses offer employees has a direct impact on their digital skills and workplace satisfaction. You will experience a relative downfall in your own abilities if you end up in an organization where digital hesitation is big.

I myself had the pleasure of knowing the journaling program OPUS2000 at my former workplace. It was an organization with more than 450 employees and OPUS2000 was the same as an ERP-system in most companies. OPUS2000 was named in the development phase, where year 2000 was a magical year far out in the future. When I worked there in 2010, OPUS2000 was a daily joke. It is, of course, not free to replace such a system. But the organisation paid the price for keeping it every day. Journaling was time consuming and employees with an understanding of digital solutions had already started using Dropbox and Google Drive on the side.

The employees that “hacked” the ways of working back then are the ones in top positions today. Not because they used Dropbox. But because they have the abilities that are asked of digital winners.

The digital starting point for your career is about both your personal approach, as well as the organization you decide to develop within. Keep that in mind for job changes – and demand a certain standard for the IT tools at your workplace. It will help both you and your workplace, when it is time for the next digital step.

About the blogger:

Mads Svaneklink is a Communication Advisor and partner at Analog. The blogs are about what happens when technology meets business, with a focus on the barriers that occur in the introduction of new technologies to existing work practises.

Since 2012, Mads has been a digital trainer at higher education institutions, businesses and unions. Mads and Madeeha from Analog are trainers at workshops for students and graduates at Cphbusiness - on behalf of the union HK/Privat.