Professional development is the art of turning yourself into a more valuable individual. Be it for your organization, your industry, your geography and, above all, yourself. Today, your self-value-adding proposition extends to the virtual communities you belong. And in Open Source, the ability to let anyone gain value from your work adds an interesting caveat.
Today, many of these ideas stay on paper. Making a door “Open” does not mean people will “get through” to it right away. Fortunately, a cropof advocates are finding a new space where they can bridge Open Source’s “impact gap.” Likewise, a Professional Development industry is maturing. New occupations help distill the signal from the noise regarding professional development. Coaches, new types of recruiters, and “Skill Prospectors” are some popular examples. (Not free from the risk of adding to the noise themselves, of course.)
An Industry 4.0 to tend to
By now you know the drill: Automation threatens jobs.But some more than others. And wait, remember that there will be jobs that don’t exist yet. Where were the autonomous driving path designers or the “Instfluencers” 20 years ago? And so on. To sum up: Worry a little, but not too much.
So, how much exactly? And in what ways?
Itcan indeed be frightening to think about your current and future skillset. Will it stay relevant enough, and for how long? Does it add value in a way that is sustainable for your segment, the environment, yourself? Money is always a tricky issue, and when it comes to Open Source it becomes even more complex.
An Open Source 4.0 Industry?
Onthe Open Source aspect, here’s a way that’s helped me and my clients frame the issue better A “profit-maximizing” enterprise takes sustainability, well-being and value as given minimum constraints. But you can set a minimum profit as the constraint, and set out to maximize something else. At worst, it is a harmless rule of thumb.
And a Risk Management reality check
Take a Risk Management point of viewto think about your skillset. You can see it as a way to protect your from anything that threatens your ability to add value. There is a general correlation between how disruptive something can be, and the time it will take to do so. Always with exceptions and “black swans.” Never rest assured you will have enough time for upskilling!
In the learning and education space, we grow aware of the value in Competencies and Competency-based approaches. So how about getting its benefits for our own career?
Vygotsky dreams of an LMS? Competency Roadmap basics
Whenit comes to tech skills, it is not really about subject matter knowledge. Rather, it is about the processes and systems through which we can update and increase it.
Our current skillset is the best predictor about the easiest skills we can master next. We know this at least since Vygotsky’s writings on ZPD in the early XX century. Given its persistent relevance, we could repurpose “Proximal” and redefine ZPDs.
Next time you think Vygotsky, think “Zones of Proximal Professional Development.”
Only a little bit of theory behind ZPDs can help set a couple of things straight. Berk’s “Scaffolding Children’s Learning: Vygotsky and Early Childhood Education”gives good pointers. Despite its focus on children, it helps understand the issues that led to a transversal theory that is valid at any age. Background details gives context and universality at once. In particular, it explains how real learning happens in context. It is not ‘good’ to view professional development learning under this framework. It is the only way.
It also brings new light into common misconceptions about Competencies and Learning Plans. So much so, that for the sake of accuracy it might be a good ideato replace all “static” notions altoghether.
- Competencies are, for the most part, non-sequencial. Therefore, Learning Plans should not be linear.
- Competenciesare not mutually exclusive. Given enough time and other resources, you can work towards a “professional” skillset and a “passion” skillset.
- (And while you can rely on trends, there is no true certainty about which one will be more relevant in the future.)
- Froma Risk Management view, your “Competency portfolio” should mix “wagers”and “hedges.” The former are those you believe will become valuable as they speak to your own journey. The latter are general skills, includingthose with a verifiable track of demand.
- You can build a Plan out of learning experiences, coaching and advice. But your Competency Roadmap is a very personal thing. It reflects not only your professionaljourney, academic background or skilled hobbies. It can also incorporate your habits, life lessons, your media consumption habits. Here we are also suggesting to replace “Plan” with “Roadmap.” This is tobetter reflect a sense of movement and growth.
Taking a page off the PDZs we can adopt a more flexible, and yet a more quantitative approach to our own Competencies.
Choosing Open Source Skills to invest in: The Hard-to-Soft, Urgent-to-Promising matrix
Thefollowing list and its organization is better viewed as the result of an exercise. Not as strict guidance. Use it as an example of Competencies you should be aware of.
Having said that, the following list is based on Open Source jobs data we have harvested for the past year. And we will update it with the same regularity.
Soft skills: Invest now, apply until the end of your career
Softskills are all the rage now, and many will capitalize on them. At leastuntil we find acceptable ways to measure their quality. Would quantifying a skill remove its “softness”? That remains to be seen.
The reasonably hard
Thereis no age limit nor excuse to pick up even some basic programming syntax, or a rudimentary understanding on the Object-Oriented Paradigm as an entry poiny toward a systemic or computational thinking. It is, however, unreasonable to expect everyone picks it up with enough proficiency for the marketplace, but learning technologies and interfaces are evolving, which could prove highly valuable.
Wild guesses… written in Lisp?
Thenthere’s the unpredictable future an its set of demands. Lisp, one of the oldest programming languages, is discarded as often as it is brough up when discussing practical applications in Artificial Intelligence.
Thereare also safer, still unkown bets. We know, for example, that data science is here to stay. But at this point it is unclear if universitiesor schools will drive part of this demand, which could be a factor of the technologies they put in place.
Epilogue: Or why Problem Finding is a more necessary Competency than Problem Solving
Let’s end for now by getting our focus back to the problem of job automation and the obsolescence of skills. One thing Artificial Intelligencewill not be able to do any time soon is finding big problems. Compelling issues whose solutions rely on equal footing of community andtechnological action. Keep finding yourself active on both fields, withgood enough answers to get started. Your income will be more or less safe if you do.
On the same note, Professional Development itself seems full of problems waiting to be found. On the case of Competency Roadmaps, for example, opportunities seem to abound for Unsupervised Machine Learning to assist personal paths based on ZPDs. The solutions, of course, pending the understanding of real needs.
Latest LMS Jobs and Tech Trends Update
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