What is the foundation of our current society? The government? The economy? The answer is more basic than most people think: technology. Technology controls this generation of the world. The average adult spends more than eleven hours a day sitting in front of a screen. This includes using technology or any type of digital media for work, school, etc. Digital media in 2018 had an average of 6.5 hours a day per adult by itself. This number has been increasing since it was at three hours a day in 2009. Even from 2017 to 2018, the average amount of time on digital media increased by 42 minutes a day. Basically, the usage of technology is controlling the growth of our society.
Without the expansion of technology, each aspect of society would be drastically different, especially in business. The service industry is a great example. Twenty years ago, if a customer had a complaint about the service they received, he or she would need to present that issue either to the branch manager or customer support. Today, that customer can just log onto Twitter, Instagram, or another social media platform and directly contact that company and its support department. Companies have even started hiring people as social media managers to maintain and control its presence on these platforms. Fifteen years ago, these jobs were nonexistent. With the availability of modern technology, consumers are able to get a response within a few hours. Due to the invention of this technology, more jobs were created to accommodate the newfound needs of the company.
Cyber Security has also become a large factor to the expansion of technology. More people are beginning to put their personal information on the internet, whether it is on the cloud or just saved on the computer. The overload of personal information on the Internet increases the potential for people to steal lucrative information including passwords, Social Security numbers, drivers licenses, medical records, and other sensitive information. As technology expands, so will the people who want to use it to steal from others. Businesses have started taking what their customers share on their social media accounts more seriously. The need for people to know how to combat these potential thieves has increased exponentially over the past five years. In 2014, there were 83 thousand people who had cyber security jobs. In 2017, that number had increased to 780 thousand people hired in that area. There was no need for information in cyber security because it was non-existent; it is just another part of an expanding industry that is creating new jobs.
Social media and cyber security are also only two examples of how technology has impacted the businesses. These applications and websites would not be able to exist without individual coding. Coding languages have evolved drastically over the years. The first main coding language was COBOL in the 1950s. These languages then evolved into C++, PASCAL, Java, and Python, with each one getting more complex than its predecessor. C++, Java, and Python have influenced the creation of these newly found software. With each evolving language, more programs were able to be created and specialized. Understanding that the current state of coding is only a phase is important to many business managers. As a new language is created and gains traction, a requirement for an expert in that language now appears. Next, a creation team helps transform the business onto that system when it becomes needed. All of this needs to happen while not losing a constant stream of revenue from their business. Companies that are not permanent will always need to adapt to the evolution of technology.
Although it is necessary for companies to continuously adapt in order to stay competitive, there are always exceptions to new technological revolutions. Recently, banks have adapted Artificial Intelligence software that scan checks and deposits it into a consumer’s account. It would appear that banks would be at the front of the technological revolution, but they are not. So, why are they an exception? In short, it is because of their programming language. Over 40 percent of banks still use COBOL. While they have apps that use other languages, such as Python, for trading, their fundamental programs still run on the most basic of languages. Ever wonder why banking applications or websites always seem to work slowly? It’s because they need to have a translation process from COBOL to whatever language the app uses and then have the operating system display the information. Around 95 percent of all ATM transactions and 80 percent of in-person transactions go through some sort of COBOL program. The reasons for this lack of adaptation is fairly simple: they cannot risk shutting down their system for an extended period of time. Banks believe that time is money and each day their system is down, they are losing opportunities for potential profits. Although they have to remain with their original program, they are still expanding their operations to new technology and creating new areas of their company.
A former teacher once told me “the job that you will want in the future does not currently exist.” While looking at our society and how everything is constantly changing, that should not be seen as a surprise. Considering that the whole business industry runs on the operation of technology and knowing that technology will be forever improving and changing, so will jobs. Knowing that Big Data is an issue and won’t be going away anytime soon makes jobs in this field even more vital. Walmart says that they collect 2.5 petabytes of data every hour. To put that into perspective, one petabyte is the equivalent of 20 million filing cabinets of data. The volume and velocity of Big Data is rising each day and the increase of jobs is reflecting that. Sixty years ago, COBOL was normal; now it is an ancient piece of coding. That is how we will look at our current technology in twenty years. Each industry shift will start with a change in technology. Whether it is a new programming language or a new industry, nobody can be sure where society is headed. Change is inevitable, and each company will need to embrace that change when it comes.