Here are some questions I was asked by the organizers of the Landing Festival in Lisbon, where I will be speaking on 28/29 June 2018.
How do you keep up-to-date with all the changes in the tech market?
I use my professional network to help filter information for me. For example, Valdis Krebs is an expert on social network analysis. Thomas Vander Wal has deep knowledge on enterprise network technologies. Jane McConnell understands the digital workplace in large multinational companies. All three of these people are fellow members of one of my online communities of practice. By engaging in these communities, and developing a diverse network of perspectives on Twitter and LinkedIn, I am able to stay abreast of the tech market, without being an expert myself. I practice personal knowledge mastery — a sensemaking framework for the network era — that I also teach to others.
Which technologies and companies do you think it’s important to follow?
You should keep an eye on technologies that may influence your life. For instance, financial technologies will affect all of us. So does cyber-security. It’s good to have a small network of experts you can tap into to guide any decisions you may have to make. It was my professional network that urged me to use a password manager to increase my online security.
How do you find the right job, and how do you allow the right job to find you?
If you have a broad and diverse professional network then the right job can often find you. You should let your network do the work. But first you need a network. This should be an ongoing priority: developing and nurturing your professional networks. Those who do not give to their networks, do not receive from them. Sharing code, writing a blog, or contributing to forums, are some ways to do this. You don’t need to over-market yourself but you need to be easy to find and make it clear what you are able to do.
Which are the main skills to achieve a successful tech career?
All careers today are ‘tech careers’. The future of work is people augmented by machines (technology). If you are looking at how best to change our training and education systems to prepare for an augmented future, then ‘asking better questions’ should be at the top of the list. Some human skills that will be critical in an augmented world are: social intelligence, analogous thinking, creativity, empathy, and intuition.
Can you share with us the secret behind the success in your career and what do you think it’s important to share with who is just starting?
To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumours of my success are greatly exaggerated. However, I have to say that whatever success I have had is connected to my blogging, which I have been doing for over 14 years. It was only by putting myself out in public, writing about things that others consider useful, and engaging in the online world was I able to develop a global professional network from a small town in Atlantic Canada.