Tech & Work

The No. 1 asset for job seekers of the future: The ability to learn

As tech continues to accelerate the world, your job prospects won't be about the degree you have or what you already know.

Tamara McCleary, CEO of brand strategy firm Thulium, talked with TechRepublic at the Digital Business World Congress 2018 in Madrid about why the most valuable employees are those willing to adapt and change:

"The best asset that anyone has actually—looking at work for the future—the best thing is the ability to learn. And the reason I say the ability to learn is that in the future, when you look at how fast technology is really [moving]—it's exploding. We have artificial intelligence, machine learning. These are algorithms that iterate on themselves. As things get smarter and faster and quicker, the reason our greatest asset is the ability to learn is that it's no longer about what we knew from the past or the degree we earned. All of these things that we're talking about are not found in books, and so this is why I say what's most important is your ability to learn because you're going to be in the moment, learning new things, and adjusting and being quite agile with what you might be doing. What your job title might be might change many, many times because, as technology shifts and changes, so do the roles that are available, and so does the creativity that we apply to it as a human being change, as well.

SEE: IT Jobs in 2020: A Leader's Guide (ZDNet) | Download as a PDF (TechRepublic)

What I think is really unique about human learning versus, say, what artificial intelligence with their algorithms learns is that with human beings, what we're learning is we're learning how to apply what's uniquely human, and that's creativity. How do we apply this piece that artificial intelligence doesn't yet have, and I say yet because I do believe, in the future, artificial intelligence will also acquire the ability to be emotive, to express creativity because if you look at this, if we can teach a chatbot to mimic Shakespeare, then, over time, these algorithms will iterate enough times to actually crack the code on creativity. I believe that to be the future future, but before that time, we might as well capitalize on our greatest human gift, and that is our ability to create, to form from nothingness something truly unique and special and to solve problems with creativity versus, say, set rules."

Also see:

Tamara McCleary at DES 2018

At the Digital Business World Congress 2018 in Madrid, Tamara McCleary gave one of the opening keynotes on day one.

Image: Jason Hiner/TechRepublic

About Jason Hiner

Jason Hiner is Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

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