It’s easy to put your head down and focus on the work that you have to do today. To think about the job you’re doing now. To think about the technology you know already. To understand the team structure you’re currently in.
Focus on Learning
- What’s Going On: Hiring managers have figured out that tomorrow’s skills won’t be today’s skills, so they’re looking for learners. With the time and productivity crunch managers face — not to mention their desire to sweeten the pot for qualified talent — they’re going to be more inclined to support your ideas for training. More and more companies are creating training budgets that employees can use any way they want.
- What to Expect: In interviews and reviews, expect to start seeing more emphasis on how you learn, how quickly you learn and what you learn. The good news is that it means you’re also more likely to get an interview even if you only have 80 percent of the job’s matching skills. It also means that you’re going to be more responsible for identifying your own training opportunities such as online courses, podcast subscriptions and conferences to name a few.
- How to Handle It: Take charge of your own training, whether you’re working or between jobs. Ask your manager what projects are coming up, do some research and suggest training options that make sense. Make your learning projects public even if they’re for personal use, and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Write a summary of how you went about learning so you have a good story to tell at your next performance review or job interview.
Mobile First and Mobile Only
- What’s Going On: Apps are everywhere. Smartphones are everywhere. According to IDC, PC sales are dropping and will continue to do so through 2018. At the same time, global smartphone sales are up 46 percent, a solid mix of Android and iOS.
- How to Handle It: Software developers and the companies they work for need to reach people where they are: on their phones. That means more apps, more mobile websites and more emphasis on semi-connected use. If you’re a PC application developer, it’s time to figure out how to build mobile apps. If you’re a Web developer, make sure you’re up to date on responsive design and mobile constraints. If you’re a server developer, there’s good news: All those apps still need servers. You’ll be building a lot of REST APIs. Focus any outside-of-work learning you do on technologies that are mobile-friendly. Volunteer for any mobile projects your company is starting so you can start to learn.
- What’s going on: The future isn’t bright for manual testers. More and more teams are focusing on “whole team testing,” which usually translates to automated testing by developers and “acceptance” or light manual testing by business users or customers. Dedicated testers are turning into specialists, particularly in performance, load and security-related testing.
- How to handle it: If you’re a manual tester, you’ll need to find a niche (automation, performance, security, etc.) or you’ll have an increasingly hard time finding a job. If you’re a developer, expect to start testing your own code, usually with existing test frameworks. All engineers should expect to spend more time with interested business users and to start explaining features and bugs to a wider audience.
Technologies, techniques, patterns and team dynamics are all places where today’s solutions won’t solve tomorrow’s problems. The onus is on you to keep up so that your career today is a career you can continue tomorrow. Fortunately, you have some notice, so you can be ready.