There is almost nothing I do in my life or my career that has not been improved by modern technology, or made possible by it. I have taken online training and researched careers, published books and gotten job advice, run websites and found work. Modern technology is why I'm where I am now.
In fact, as I look around, the IT age has made it far, far easier to live our dreams. You can publish your novel via an online service and get it out to the world. You can take classes online. You can publish a web comic. You can find a new job.
So why is it so hard for many of us to find the careers we want, to be happy, to find integrated lives of professionalism and unrepentant geekitude?
I think it's because, with this wealth of blessings upon our creative and professional lives, there are downsides we miss and challenges we didn't see. You have more tools and opportunities than ever to pursue your career dreams, but there are issues you have to be aware of:
1) Technology that empowers you to do something may not empower you handle related issues. You can publish your first novel for free online – but you have to get a cover, typeset it, edit it, and more. The things once taken care of by a publisher – if you can get one – are up to you in the world of self publishing.
SOLUTION: Be ready and open to learning new skills and study up on the technologies you're using. Also be ready to ask for help.
2) Technology that's out there doesn't mean you know it's out there. It's often not a case that we can't find the resources for our careers, it's that we've got so much to sort through we can't find them or figure them out.
SOLUTION: Stay aware without becoming overwhelmed. Take time to get to find and review new resources.
3) Too Many Options. As I write this, if I wanted to do an eBook, I can think of four different services to publish through. If I wanted to learn game programming I can find a wealth of books and a myriad of helpful websites. How do you select the best?
SOLUTION: Pick your resources carefully and be open to not using some. It's often better to move forward than dither endlessly over if you're using the right website, tool, language, format, etc. You'll learn those lessons anyway as you move forward, or with a little research.
4) Change. We get more options all the time from the technologies that empower our careers. We also have to keep up with them – and find which are the best, and which are no longer the best.
SOLUTION: Be willing to change the tactics and resources and technologies you use in your career – just be sure you know why and how you're doing it. If you keep up with trends (as noted above) you'll be ready to do this. Certainly I know that my career has been helped by being willing to admit that some job search sites and target companies just weren't doing it for me.
5) Everyone Else Is Doing It. We're not the only ones improving ourselves and leveraging career-enhancing technologies – so you have to stand out from the crowd.
SOLUTION: Be yourself and then some. Learn how to express yourself and find out what makes you unique – then communicate it!
6) Distraction. All these fantastic new tools don't replace other important skills, knowledge, and practices. Social Media still requires good networking skills. Publishing still requires marketing. Programming still requires the ability to meet a deadline.
SOLUTION: Set specific goals and figure out what you need to do – and what you need to know to reach those goals.
So I think we're in a time where technology has given us progeeks great power to find and build new careers. But they bring out hard truths and create new challenges as well. Be aware of them so you can succeed.
– Steven Savage