Part 4 – A look to the future

We survived the Y2K bug, watched helplessly as Facebook took over the world and saw web users rise from a paltry 360 million to more than 3 billion (almost half the global population). But what have the last 15 years really taught us about the way the internet and digital technology is going to change our lives in the future?

There are some very obvious differences between now and the year 2000. Remember the Sega Dreamcast? Well, just 15 years ago the world celebrated as the first ‘annual’ Dreamcast Championships were held in New York. Sega pulled the plug on Dreamcast support in 2001 and the last official licensed games came out in 2002 – so naturally, the world championships fell by the wayside. Other big hitters in 2000 offered much more long term success.

April 2000 saw the release of USB 2.0. Although, not as exciting as the crisp graphics and smooth gameplay of the Dreamcast, USB 2.0 literally changed the concept of inter-connectivity forever. And it can be argued that both Bluetooth and WiFi technologies have benefited hugely from its open-platform success. Other big successes to have emerged in the last 15 years include handheld devices, modern server virtualisation and that crowd favourite – the cloud.

The way that we use technology has clearly changed, but in reality how much have we, the users, actually changed? “Everything changes but you” sung Gary Barlow and the Take That boys, and that will forever be the case for technology. We will always need our trusted IT departments to remind us to use a number and a capital letter in our passwords, stop leaving our laptops charging all day, and to notice that that Caps Lock light is on when we can’t sign in.

Whatever year it is, there is one thing that will never change. American Author Louis L’Amour put it beautifully when he said: “The only thing that never changes is that everything changes.” Ironically, change is here to stay. By its very nature technology will always evolve, and at a rapid pace too. So follow these three simple rules to ensure you’re aren’t left behind;

  1. Skills pay the bills – In most professionals, practice makes perfect and skills will naturally improve with experience. However, this isn’t always the case in IT. Whether it’s a new tool, trend or technology, take the time to learn it and you will become invaluable to your business.
  2. Know your value – Expanding your skills and knowledge base will ensure you stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s for a current or future employer, find the ways that you add value to the business and maximise and exploit them.
  3. Be a friend not foe – From clients to colleagues, it’s vital that you’re seen as a trusted advisor and not their adversary. As you grow your skillset and recognise your true value, take the users with you by educating them to show that you know exactly what you’re doing.

If any IT professional chooses to stay still, they will be committing career suicide simply by making themselves obsolete. So the best advice must be to stay ahead of the curve, remain on the cutting edge and keep up to date with all the latest challenges, technologies and solutions.

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