The world is changing rapidly and if you want to be job-ready you need to have the skills that will be in demand both today and in the future. Increasing automation, in particular, is changing the way people work, including in information technology careers. Ironically, this increased automation is feeding a demand for businesses and employees who excel at soft skills, like empathy, compassion, and human connection. This future is being called the Empathy Economy and it could have a big impact on your career in IT.

As you undertake your journey towards an exciting IT career, it’s important to understand how you can best leverage your skills to become more attractive to employers today and tomorrow. Here we’ll look at how rising automation could make the soft skills you’ll learn in college especially valuable.

It Could Soon Be a Required Skill for an Information Technology Career

Advances in technology mean that many jobs that are today pervasive could soon be done by computers and robots. For example, an Oxford University study found that 47 percent of workers are at risk of having their jobs computerized within the next 25 years. Fortunately, if you want to pursue an information technology career then you’re probably safe since that same study found that many IT jobs are among the least likely to be computerized.

However, technology will change the importance of certain skills for those working in IT. Tasks that can be easily replicated, for example, are likely to be computerized, which will help boost productivity and efficiency. However, businesses risk alienating their customers if they embrace automation too much because there are some things robots cannot do very well, such as empathy. As the world becomes increasingly automated, customers are likely to demand that businesses provide customer service that focuses on connection, belonging, and creating a sense of community. It is this high value on human empathy that is leading to the so-called Empathy Economy.

Learning About Customer Service Can Prepare You for the Empathy Economy

So, ironically, while technology will increase automation, it will also increase the desire for human interaction when a client needs an IT-related issue fixed. Businesses and IT workers will be able to stand out from the competition by combining technical expertise with an empathetic approach. Fortunately, there are ways you can prepare for a future where greater automation will lead to a demand for more empathetic customer service.

Customers will increasingly desire IT professionals who are able to provide empathetic service
Customers will increasingly desire IT professionals who are able to provide empathetic service

For example, in information technology college you will learn about customer service. You will be instructed in how to communicate with customers, how to manage customer relationships, and how to respond to customer feedback. These soft skills are ones that computers cannot easily replicate and they are what will help IT employees stand out today and in the future. Customers who have an IT issue that needs to be addressed may be frustrated and confused, for example. Having a real human who understands their frustration can help them feel as though they are being carefully listened to, which in turn can create a sense of loyalty and community around a business.

Of course the hard skills—like PC configuration, network security maintenance, and hardware troubleshooting—that you’ll also learn in information technology programs will continue to be extremely important in your IT career. Your ability to combine these hard skills with superior customer service skills will help you stand out to employers and customers on your journey to a successful career in IT.

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