When I started career, I was in design/research side, and everyone I worked with loved technology- on the extreme installing Linux distros, but on the low end at least interested in new technologies and products and we could all speak the same language.
The devs I work with at current company are great, but testers, BAs, scrum expert, and even my manager seem to struggle with using digital apps (I’m not joking but a lot of my team joke and say things like “one day I’ll be as good as you” when I’m screen sharing and use a keyboard shortcut to copy/paste something) and I hear our devs simplify their language to the extent that it’s not entirely true (for example I heard our tech lead explain to our manager that ‘encryption’ and ‘hashing’ are “basically do the same thing”)
Has the industry just grown to the extent that a lot of non-technical people are working within the industry- does anyone else face this?
What industry do you work in?
I work with colleagues who don’t have a clue about technology either, but it’s cause I work where the company tries to create digital products to sustain themselves.
None of the people have any exposure to any other industry (most been around for 15+ years).
Last 5 years had been in finance, it’s kind of funny because the people on the finance side are actually more techy than a lot of the people in digital org.
Oof, this sounds bad, because in my experience the finance or business side has been absolutely clueless.
I think your last paragraph is right though. A lot of newer people who are re-skilling and so it’s now your job to teach!
I definitely have colleagues who are otherwise very knowledgable but have trouble learning new-to-them technology as quickly as the rest of the company. These colleagues are generally very pleasant to work with otherwise and don’t get involved in the office politics/drama and are also super reliable - they will get done what they commit to getting done in the timeframe they commit to 99% of the time.
For that reason, I have made it my personal mission to make sure those folks feel like they can come to me with “stupid” questions about how to use their software that they may not be comfortable asking their direct team members. (Of course I don’t believe those questions are actually stupid, but I do understand the feeling of feeling weird asking seemingly simple questions to colleagues that aren’t receptive to it.) These folks are very self-aware and don’t take advantage of this to the point where it eats up a lot of my time, but if I can spend a few minutes every couple of weeks helping someone learn a skill or trick that will save them hours of work in the future… why not?
As a result, I’ve made some solid work friends and work allies and when shit hits the fan on my end, I have people that are willing to take a little time out of their day to help me just like I did for them.
I know someday it’ll be me in their shoes, needing a little extra coaching to stay up to speed on current technology… so for that reason I feel like it’s important to pay it forward and also make work a little more pleasant for everyone.
I had a stakeholder a couple of years ago who couldn’t use Excel. Couldn’t filter or find data which absolutely blew my mind!
Worked at a startup with a dinosaur COO that couldn’t use sheets or excel. Highest paid, lowest ROI. Had a parachute clause larger than my 5 year income, and boy did he get it too.
Performance so bad that he skipped our company in his work history, just made a “consultancy” company to fill the gap to cover the work he did for us.
One of the PMs I’ve had to work with doesn’t even know how to navigate excel/sheets. He makes tables in word/docs. Couldn’t navigate our internal tooling either. He is an outlier but really made me think PM hiring is very broken.
What are the concrete problems this creates for you? Or is this more of a rant/discussion?
I have Gen Z teens, and they’re tech illiterate compared to our generation, because they never really had to figure anything out. Learning how to use computers was something we had to struggle with, because troubleshooting w
Careful. The masses are more technical yes, but I wouldn’t say they’re more techy until they’ve shown that they can keep up with the IT/Developers in at least one of: writing code, creating deployment pipelines, managing cloud services, creating architectural diagrams, managing networks and firewalls, security reviews, etc.
Edit: using apps can be a false indicator of technical prowess because apps are made to be user friendly, the person using the app likely, has limited understanding of the impact and depth of what they do beyond just rolling back a change if an adverse event occurs.
It’s unbelievable how many people still struggle with VOIP programs and presentations
On the flip side it doesn’t help that everyone (developers of these services) is rushing to cloud hosting, sharing, and collaborative based access in a chaotic manner. This has meant a lot of churn, and product changes. As well as unintended consequences. (Like when our IT broke my OneNote because they moved all our local files to OneDrive. But OneNote already had built in cloud syncing working in the background, which was different than other office apps, and Microsoft poorly communicated the implications of this. Still haven’t recovered that info).
Until things stabilize, it’s a bit of a mess. And every year brings new changes and directions, to what’s effectively a paradigm shift in internal content management and access.
There’s also some bad habits coming out, that will need to be fixed. Now people tend to share files directly from their “personal” cloud storage, and they aren’t always getting placed in a centralized repository for that project / business op. Or placed in general storage, and tagged with relevant meta data. Whichever strategy a business uses for documents of record.
I work as a luxury appliance industry and it’s quite baffling how many technology illiterate people I’ve met. It doesn’t help that this industry is mostly made up of older folks. My colleagues in PM position are okay though.
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