In December 2007, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) News published Bill Gates’ viewpoint with the above headline. I think what the co-founder of Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, said is more relevant now than it was five years ago. Like it or lump it, the technology trend has come to stay.
Today, if you apply for the position of an accountant in any organization, it would be a classic example of an error of omission if you are not asked this question: “What accounting software do you know?”
*Be an information worker and IT literate
As Gates rightly said, “one of the most important changes of the last 30 years (now 35 years) is that digital technology has transformed almost everyone into an information worker.
“In almost every job now, people use software and work with information to enable their organisation to operate more effectively.” I am still trying to think of a job that is an exception. Can you help me out?
Gates went further to say: “That’s true for everyone from the retail store worker who uses a handheld scanner to track inventory to the chief executive who uses business intelligence software to analyse critical market trends.
“So if you look at how progress is made and where competitive advantage is created, there’s no doubt that the ability to use software tools effectively is critical to succeeding in today’s global knowledge economy.”
To sum it up, he said: “A solid working knowledge of productivity software and other IT tools has become a basic foundation for success in virtually any career.”
*Improve your communication and interpersonal skills
“Communication skills and the ability to work well with different types of people are very important too.”
Is there really a job that does not require communication skills? Gates disabused the minds of those who assume that creating software is purely a solitary activity where you sit in an office with the door closed all day and write lots of code. He said: “This isn’t true at all,” adding that “it requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.”
Who does not require these skills?
*Be a lifelong learner
“I also place a high value on having a passion for ongoing learning. When I was pretty young, I picked up the habit of reading lots of books.
“It’s great to read widely about a broad range of subjects. Of course today, it’s far easier to go online and find information about any topic that interests you.
“Having that kind of curiosity about the world helps anyone succeed, no matter what kind of work they decide to pursue.”
*Do you have numerical and scientific skills?
“I don’t think you can overemphasise the importance of having a good background in maths and science.
“If you look at the most interesting things that have emerged in the last decade – whether it is cool things like portable music devices and video games or more practical things like smart phones and medical technology – they all come from the realm of science and engineering.”
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