A self-described ‘human capitalist’ shares insight and experience.
GUEST COLUMN | by Pam Schilling
The worry and opportunity of emerging technologies like AI are rapidly spreading, even reaching high school students worldwide. As educators, it is crucial to share insights about the ever-changing technology landscape and its profound impact on today’s students and their future careers. This is a topic that occupies my daily work leading a career readiness EdTech.
Recently, I had the privilege of addressing high school students from Colégio Trilíngue Inovação in Brazil, many of whom are considering university studies, including education in the United States. They posed several insightful questions, with the first one directly addressing the role of technology: “What jobs will be important and eliminated in the future because of AI?”
‘They posed several insightful questions, with the first one directly addressing the role of technology: “What jobs will be important and eliminated in the future because of AI?”‘
As I pondered my response, I realized the significance of considering the context in which we were engaging with these students. Technology played a vital role in generating this educational experience. I was introduced to the school by a former student, currently attending a U.S. university and utilizing our mobile app for career education. Despite being thousands of miles apart, technology allowed me to enter their classroom and discuss careers. It is the undeniable power of education technology.
Taking a step back, I strongly believe that education and educators must thoroughly contemplate both the use and effect of technology. These two aspects are distinct yet interconnected.
The use of technology is crucial in education. Students today rely on various educational tools for research, online quizzes, exams, papers, lectures, and assessments. Technology has become routine in their daily lives, especially when it comes to social media, gaming, and apps.
However, when high school and college students enter the workforce, they often face a steep learning curve with technology applications. The level of difficulty depends on the student and the specific technology involved. Across most careers, it is essential for students to have a strong grasp of technology to effectively perform their job duties. Technological acumen is critical.
Moreover, it is vital to emphasize the ability to learn new technologies. The speed and cost-effectiveness of building software and applications today have increased significantly. Organizations frequently introduce new tools with minimal training, expecting them to revolutionize work processes.
An example of this trend can be seen with ChatGPT. Recently, I demonstrated to a group of MBA students how to use ChatGPT for resume editing. Only a few of them had prior exposure to it, requiring multiple repetitions to synchronize their understanding.
As an educator, one area that deeply concerns me in the deployment of education technology and how we explain the need for mastery of fundamentals and then, to use technology to get better. While I can easily calculate 5% of 1235 using a spreadsheet, understanding the core mathematical operation is necessary.
I recall an experience from years ago when I hired a highly qualified financial analyst from Johnson & Johnson. Although the analyst had previous experience working with large businesses on financial forecasts, their ability to create a financial model from scratch was severely lacking. It became evident that they lacked knowledge of the foundational business drivers and necessary assumptions. The training they received focused on downloading data and relying on formulas, lacking real-world experience and application from day one.
Technology creates excitement and fear. Anticipation and anxiety. As educators, we must consider the effect of technology advancement. It impacts access to education, where students go for education, the type of academic programs pursued, securing an internship, doing research, and moving from campus to career. Technology can help and hinder each of these in the education to career journey.
The impact of technology becomes vivid when reflecting on my experience speaking to students in Brazil. While the United States is highly technology-forward, I observe both similarities and differences as I travel globally for business and engage with students regarding careers and leading an Educational Technology company. In an emerging market such as Brazil and other countries within Latin American, advances can be rapid by deploying technologies that scale and create cost efficiency. Students may study abroad and bring ideas home. This is powerful for economic and societal development.
Education, Technology, and Future Careers
In this moment, as technology leaps forward, the foremost question arises: What will be the impact of Artificial Intelligence on future careers, particularly in an emerging market, like many countries in Latin America?
Students raise several crucial questions when considering next steps in education and career:
- Will technology support or hinder my future career?
- Should I pursue a technology-focused path or explore other roles with great opportunities and income?
- What if emerging technology disrupts fields like medicine or engineering?
- How can I acquire the essential technology skills valued by employers?
- How do I build a sustainable career that safeguards against technological volatility?
I worked in the telecom industry during the 1990s and witnessed a hyper-drive acceleration where communication technology advancements, such as mobile phones and internet access, transformed work and careers.
Now, the question arises: Is this time different? Is the acceleration greater? Is the shift more significant? My crystal ball to predict the future accurately may be a little hazy. However, one undeniable fact is that today, information flows with minimal friction compared to 30 years ago. News in the U.S. becomes instantly accessible in classrooms across the world, such as Brazil—a dramatic change. This means students must be more educated and aware.
‘We should foster career readiness by not only building applicable skills but also cultivating a mindset focused on growth, adaptability, and resilience.’
As educators, we must thoughtfully consider the use of technology. It is crucial to identify tools and applications that make the most sense. Equally important is to discuss technology-enabled careers and their future impact. We should foster career readiness by not only building applicable skills but also cultivating a mindset focused on growth, adaptability, and resilience.
Pam Schilling is the CEO and Co-founder of Archer Career, a platform empowering early career talent to achieve better career outcomes by boosting confidence and reducing underemployment through micro-learning paths. Using structure, momentum, and accountability, Archer helps users launch a successful career. Connect with Pam on LinkedIn.