Have you ever wondered what your career would be like if there was no digital technology whatsoever? Many of today’s professionals are too young to remember a time when the internet was nothing more than the brainchild of a handful of scientists, engineers, and programmers who had a vision of a network of wireless communications between computers. It really wasn’t until the early 1990s that the advent of the internet as we know it today came about and from there, the rest is history.
Bringing us back to today, can you imagine what your day would be like on the job if you didn’t have digital technology at your disposal? You would have no more email, no more Google searches, no more social media and certainly no more intranets within your organization. It’s hard to imagine for anyone born after the late 1980s but the fact is, many of today’s workforce did work in times when everything was done ‘old school’. In fact, have you even seen a manual typewriter other than on an old movie you happen to be watching when the latest Marvel hasn’t been released yet? Probably not! So, it may be hard to fathom a world in which you had to do your job without digital technology, so let’s look at 10 ways in which your world just might come tumbling down. All it would take is one powerful EMP and you could very well be living in a pre-digital technology world!
1. Career Advancement: Online Graduate Studies
Consider today’s professionals looking to advance their career by taking graduate classes online. This is often the case in the nursing profession when a nurse holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, BSN, decides to continue on with graduate work toward a Doctor of Nursing Practice, DNP. With that advanced degree, a nurse could achieve some level of autonomy, depending on the state in which they practice, as an FNP, Family Nurse Practitioner.
Not only is it a higher-paying career, but one with a higher salary and a greater level of independence and, yes, autonomy in practice. Schools like Marymount University offer an online curriculum taking nurses from a BSN to DNP-FNP without interrupting their careers. They can work and study at the same time without ever attending a land-based class. Clinicals, however, would require physical placement, but that is the end of the academic journey before licensure as a DNP and all possible because of digital technology.
2. Automated Processes
There are too many careers out there that rely on automation, but you probably have at least one function automated that you think nothing of. It’s second nature by now and it probably never dawned on you to ‘thank’ digital technology for this time and effort saving function. Office lighting and temperature controls are two of the most common automated tasks which are second nature and the only time we remember they are running in the background is if there is a power outage which necessitates the system being reset again. What about that automated teller at the bank? How many times have you taken just a quick glance at the long lines only to turn to the ATM to make that deposit or withdrawal? These are just simple examples of automation but enough so that you understand just how routine digital technology has become in our daily lives at work or at home.
3. Video Conferencing
How many Zoom meetings have you conducted this week alone? Whether you are meeting with clients or team members, it’s so easy just to turn on the computer, launch Zoom, invite attendees and instantly you are all together in cyberspace. Not only is this an amazing time saving feature, but it also saves money and other resources that could be put to better use. There are times when it’s nice to get away to a function or perhaps an industry show, but video conferencing is the most efficient way to meet with team members, clients and other creatives when you are collaborating on a project.
4. Business Website
There is nothing quite like having a business website in today’s small business arena. There is so much you can do from introducing your brand to selling product online. A business website is also a great place for a blog that has the potential to generate tons of traffic to your site. Not only can you introduce members of your team but with a little bit of work you can begin selling your products or services there as well. Perhaps you would like to automate a way to create service tickets for the field, simply leave a form for visitors to fill out and if it is a time when no one is in the office, they could request a callback or a visit to their location. The next day, those forms can be followed up on and there is little time spent on a process that really is as easy as filling out a form!
5. Email and Email Automation
Another amazing digital technology is email. Since the advent of email, there are fewer letters going through the US postal service but that actually is a good thing on several levels. More and more ecologists are saying that it is totally unnecessary to waste that amount of paper because most people simply don’t read ads like they once did. It is far less hazardous to the environment to send emails than a letter and the beauty of email is that the digital file can be saved in the cloud or on a local drive and there is nothing that will promote global warming. Of course, the way in which electricity is produced may raise our carbon footprint but if you buy electricity as ethically as you refuse to waste natural resources, then you can say you are doing your part in saving the environment as well as reaping the benefits of digital technology.
6. Data Collection & Analytics
All levels of business operations rely heavily on data collection and analysis. From marketing to recruiting new talent, it is imperative that a business run the numbers before embarking on any strategy. Digital technology makes this a fast and pain-free process because everything is collected using the very same digital technology which will seek to analyze trends. Crunching numbers used to take days, if not weeks once the data was collected, but that left a lengthy time of gathering data before analytics could take place. No matter what industry you are in, data and analytics form the backbone of several departments within your organization which means that this is one digital technology that has the power to grow your business exponentially. For just a moment, think about how rapidly a computer calculates a long list of numbers, not counting the rapidity of analyzing that data. Time and money saved can be put back into the business which will also help to grow your company.
7. Online Job Searches
Whether you are looking for a job or are in HR seeking job applicants, the internet can be your most valuable employee. Where there once was a time when job applicants relied on the classifieds in the local newspapers, message boards in local companies or at companies like Manpower, they can now do a simple search online to find listings within their field. Several online recruitment companies have matched literally tens of thousands of applicants with job openings and all accessible online. You can upload a CV or resume with the online application, and you can even write a cover letter to submit with the application. One mega job search company that comes to mind is Monster.com and if there is a job opening within the parameters you set, your chances of finding a match are better there than on many of the smaller job search sites.
8. Social Media Networking
Perhaps one of the biggest boons for today’s professionals is networking through social media. Platforms like LinkedIn were established with professionals in mind but have since branched out to brand networking as well. Yes, laypersons do network on LinkedIn, but the original concept was for business professionals to network and that is still one of the leading functions of the platform. Even so, this is not the only social media platform for business professionals as each of these sites have facilitated huge followings for members:
Facebook is undoubtedly the largest social media platform and a place where brands and professionals alike can gather a huge following. This kind of audience was never before possible but thanks to digital technology, professionals can now interact with others within their field and those who are seeking their products or services as well. Any old timers out there who had to network the old-fashioned pound-the-pavementway can tell you that it was never possible, even in a lifetime, to gather as many followers as you can on social media with a matter of mere days.
9. CAD Technology
Then there’s Computer Aided Design (CAD) technology which is an amazing advancement in digital technology. Instead of sitting long hours at a drafting table, designs can be completed on a monitor in front of them, in 3-D graphics and can be changed with the click of a mouse button. Not only is the graphical interface an amazing bit of technology but so too are the mathematical functions used in resizing blueprints. Instead of the labor-intensive process of drawing those plans out again to scale, you can simply plug in the dimensions while letting the computer do the work for you. There isn’t much you can’t do with CAD technology in any field of design imaginable. From aeronautics to interior design, infrastructure to new build construction, if it needs to be drawn up, there is a CAD program for that specific job.
Did you know that within the past decade, online searches have taken over as the number one way in which consumers find new brands and products to deal with? And, among those online searches, mobile searches have taken the lead over those conducted on a stationary PC. More people connect via mobile devices and if you ever see a crowded room without at least 90% of everyone in attendance without a cellphone or tablet, it must be that they left them in the car! When it comes to marketing products, brands or people, there is no better place than cyberspace. Of course, it takes a pro marketing team to reach the right audience, but online is where you’ll find the audience you need.
What You Need to Take Away from All This
There isn’t one aspect of 21st century life that isn’t profoundly affected by technology. Although not specifically mentioned, healthcare is another industry that relies heavily on digital technology. From EHR (Electronic Health Records) to diagnostics and everything in between, medicine has perhaps benefited more than any other industry out there. Now consider that nurse who wants to advance their degree by studying graduate work to take them from a BSN to a DNP-FNP degree. It would be possible but much harder to facilitate while holding down a full-time job. The only part of that advanced degree that requires land-based attendance would be the clinicals that come at the very end of the studies.
No matter what generation you belong to, it’s amazing to realize just how important digital technology is within every area of our lives. For a technology that has only been around for such a short span of time within human history, one can only imagine what tomorrow’s digital technology has in store for us. Whether you are seeking to advance your career or simply make life easier to manage, there is a technology that can offer the benefits you need. Are you looking to advance your career? If so, look to digital technology to show you the way. How much easier can it get?