Fourth industrial revolution - connected world

What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The world is moving forward at a rapid pace, and it’s only accelerating as we’re moving along with it, sometimes slightly confused by what’s happening around us. The era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, otherwise known as Industry 4.0, is upon us and this is expected to change up everything we know and love. Does this mean that we’ll develop new normals? Or will we fight it to keep what we know? Let’s have a look at what Industry 4.0 is exactly and how it will affect us in the years to come.

A Brief History of The First Three Industrial Revolutions

To understand where we’re going, we need to have a quick look at our history. Before Industry 4.0, there were three revolutions, which have naturally influenced how we do things today. Each one in their own right was significant at the time and changed the period that followed it.

In 1765, we had the First Industrial Revolution, where we saw mechanisation occur; which is the replacement of agriculture (our reliance on animals) with industry (reliance on machines). To get us to where we are today; forging the development of railroads, the invention of the steam engine and the mass extraction of coal took place.

The developments in the previous revolution directly influenced The Second Industrial Revolution, which brought us electricity, gas, and oil in around 1870. Chemical synthesis, telephones/telegraphs, factories and the division of labour were all developed as well.

The Third Industrial Revolution, which took place in 1969, exceeded its predecessors with the most important invention of them all, nuclear energy. Along with that, we saw the rise of electronics, biotechnology, and automated production.

These revolutions all built on each other and lead us to Industry 4.0 and to where we are today.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

With all the potential to be a positive revolution for the population and at the same time risky for almost every industry and country involved, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is set to be a mover and a shaker. This revolution includes the adoption of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things and the Internet of Systems. This revolution is entirely different from the previous three as it’s expected to change what it means to be human completely, it does, however, have some aspects that build on the Third Industrial Revolution.

What this revolution will bring us and in some cases has brought us is a smart technology that we use in our factories, workplaces, and households, that ends up making decisions and controlling the entire production process for you. This revolution is said to have the most significant impact on the human population, and we can see evidence of this in factories already.

Technology has come a long way and rather than just be seen to improve our lives, it can be a lot more. It can be a powerful facilitator that can change how we see the world, change our behaviour and what it means to be human. This era will be regarded as the movement that will add to and extend the impact digitalisation has on us in ways that we don’t expect. In other words, we will be the generation who will always be challenged by what is being invented and what is changing around us.

Nicholas Davis compares this revolution’s impact on us to that of a tsunami, he states that the outcome of every revolution is a reflection of the desires of the population and ultimately the choices that it made. Think of the Law Of Attraction phenomenon; what you seek is what you receive.

Professor Klaus Schwab, who wrote a book called The Fourth Industrial Revolution, mentions that leaders and citizens should be in control of the future by shaping it together. We need to be proactive in empowering people and reminding ourselves that the new technologies are tools that have been made by people for people; therefore the fear of uncertainty is not so great.

How Does This Revolution Impact Us?

Industry 4.0 has its pros and cons for the human population. On the upside, with this revolution, it’s possible that the population’s income can increase as well as an improvement in the quality of life for some. Goods will become cheaper for consumers, but will remain high quality and efficiency will also improve.

The revolution stands for a connected world, and many of us experience this every day, being able to book flights and order our dinner online. We’re able to contact someone halfway across the world with an email or a simple message, which they can then access immediately. The thought of this a hundred years ago, would not have been comprehensible.

On the downside, with the rise of technology, there could be an even more significant gap between rich and poor. In this modern world that we live in, technology and sometimes the basics, like running water, are not available to people who live in some rural and developing countries. According to the latest report from Oxfam, which put this issue into perspective, 62 people control more assets than the poorest 3.6 billion people combined, which is about half of the world’s population.

William Gibson once said: “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” This quote perfectly sums up the above. While some of us are living in Industry 4.0 with access to everything (think First World), others are still living in the Second or Third Industrial Revolution (think rural Third World).

Some people’s jobs, especially those who work in factories, could be taken over by robots and technology, and lastly, times might move too quickly for us to keep up.

As we are still at the beginning of the revolution, it is difficult to predict precisely what could happen and which way the revolution will swing for us. According to WeForum, the three significant areas of concern are identity, inequality, and security. The big question that is at the back of our minds is; what jobs will be left for us if technology takes over?

Your 4.0

Whether we like it or not, the world is going to continue growing and changing at a rapid pace. Technology is only going to get more complicated, and life as our grandparents knew it will be over. Depending on how we handle these changes as a population, they can work in our favour, or against us. The choice is still ours.

how to future proof your career - lady working on laptop

Future-proof your career

The world we live in is constantly changing, much faster than it has been in the past few centuries. With Industry 4.0 upon us, there is a concern in the air. We’re unsure what to expect from it, and the biggest worry for most is that automation will replace all our jobs one day, and maybe not one day anymore, but soon. Here are some tips for you to future-proof your career, so the ever-changing world doesn’t have to be such a big worry. What this means is that you’ll be slightly more prepared for anything that comes your way. Will this be enough to give you peace of mind?

Understanding Technology and Digital

Technology can be daunting, especially when you start to think of hackers and how anyone can access your information if they had the necessary skills. But, instead of going down a deep, dark hole and being scared of things you don’t completely understand, get to know them. Take courses and read up about how programmes you’re unsure of work and after you’ve done the theory, use these platforms practically online.

By understanding the unknown, you’re taking back that control. As artificial intelligence becomes more and more popular, we’re going to have to work side by side with it.

Be Open To Change

Change is scary and sometimes threatening, and that generally means people close themselves off to anything that scares them. Instead of doing that, challenge yourself and be open to the changes that could take place. Learn to expect that anything can happen, when we change our mindsets, we reverse the course of how we react to situations.

It is crucial for you to try and put a positive spin on the unknown and use what we already know to your advantage. For example, if you own a hardware store, we know that digital is on the rise and that people like to shop online. Why not start an online shop? This could expand your consumer base while setting you up for the future.

Ashira Prossack suggests thinking about where you want to be in five years and then figuring out your steps on how to get there. These steps would be an excellent way to train your mind to think ahead.

Have an Online Presence

Expanding on the example of how you could prepare by being open to the changes that are coming, make sure that you have an online presence. Use the free social media tools that are available to you to market your brand or yourself (LinkedIn is an excellent example of this). A website for your store or brand is never a bad idea as customers are then able to understand your offering before visiting your premises. Encourage customers to write reviews online. Peer-to-peer recommendations boost the sales process.

At the same time, clean up your digital profile. Devan Ciccarelli mentions that Googling yourself is never a bad idea and that getting rid of content that makes you look unprofessional is highly advisable.

Network, Network, Network

Talk to and get to know people who are professionals or who are just starting in your industry. Keep open relationships with clients who you are no longer doing work for as you never know what they could mean for you in the future.

By being friendly with people in your industry, you have people who you can turn to when you’re unsure about what to do next. If you’re an amateur, you could learn a lot from those around you as well. Lastly, these people could be open to collaborating with you in the future, which creates more work for you.

Career Profiles suggest joining professional networks, keeping in contact with people you meet along the way and attending seminars. You can take this process into your own hands by organising a get-together for people in your industry, and they will appreciate the invite.

Be Creative

The next tip is to always tap into your creative side. With the presence of AI and technology ever increasing, creativity is something that they do not have and cannot recreate. There are specific careers that digital will not be able to recreate, these include acting, sports, and visual arts.

By thinking creatively, you’ll stand out from your competitors. Brainstorm for a few minutes a day, you never know what fresh ideas you might generate.

Customer Service

As automated customer service is slowly but surely taking over, more and more people are left wanting human attention. Yes, the process can be much faster when all you have to do is click a button, but sometimes we want to speak to a consultant to help us with our issues.

Make sure that the customer service representatives in your business or in the company you work for are excellent. Great customer service will leave a lasting impression with the client, people remember when they have had a good experience with a company or brand. Excellent customer service is a good way to keep the customers you already have!

Keep an Eye Out

It’s important to keep up with the trends in your industry and to keep on predicting what is going to happen next. Keep an eye out for what is going on in the world, look at what other thought leaders are saying and take note of them. Keeping yourself in the loop will future-proof your career.

Keep Learning

This tip relates to understanding technology, digital and networking, keep educating yourself when you come across something you don’t understand. Even if it has nothing to do with your field, read up on it anyway. You could assist someone with that information at some point where they could then help you in the future as well. The more you know, the better off you’ll be.

Go Out and Get Them

The latest Industrial Revolution has proven to cause some discomfort for many, and the only way to face the uncertainty that may come is to prepare for it. Follow these nine tips, and you’ll be sure to future-proof your career.

Study and work - the balancing act

Study and work – the balancing act

Whether you’re a student who is working part-time, or whether you’re working and studying part-time, juggling the two is not an easy task, it’s a balancing act.

With the world’s ever-growing population, the job market is slightly more limited than what it was years ago. We have to do everything we can to stand out by earning another degree or gaining that much-needed experience that everyone requires in a job ad. But, the cost of living is expensive, so you have to work to keep yourself afloat while studying.

Sound familiar? Don’t stress, we’ve got some tips for you on perfecting your balancing act!

Time Management

The most important thing to do when you’ve got a lot on your plate is to manage your time effectively. The easiest way to do this is to be organised and to create a schedule for yourself. Your programme should include your time at work, your study time, and some “you” time (we’ll have a look at this later on).

If you’re smart with your schedule, you could incorporate a study session in your lunch hour at work or create study time for when things are quiet at work.

If you’re working part-time, schedule your shifts so that they don’t interfere with classes, online tutorials or exams. This is an easy way to limit your stress levels from rising too high.

Student Brands gives a great tip; use the calendar app on your smartphone to track your schedule and manage your time. We use our phones every day, so it’s quick and easy just to check it to see what you have to do on a particular day. If you prefer writing on a piece of paper, make sure you have a diary so that everything is in one place.

Having a plan is the easiest way to make sure that you get everything done.

Be Flexible

Life is unpredictable, you never know what could happen at any minute of the day, so to avoid the stress of the unknown, be flexible with the schedule you’ve created for yourself. Maybe you’re working late one evening, and you won’t be able to study when you get home. You might feel unprepared for an exam and might have to cancel one of your shifts at work to study a bit more.

Rather than letting this worry you, have a mindset that your schedule is adjustable and you are able to adapt with it as you go along. There are, however, some things that you cannot be flexible with and learning to work around those is an excellent skill to have. For example, use your leave days to stay at home and study if you need them. Lots of companies have study leave, so remember to ask HR about them.

“You” Time

Something that should be included in your schedule, that isn’t so obvious all the time, is “you time”. Rest and recovery are as important as the work you’re putting in. As they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup, and when you’re tired, you make mistakes.

By taking time off, you’ll be able to take care of yourself by managing your stress (meditation and yoga are good options), looking after your health (eating healthy foods and exercising), and spending time with people who are important to you. Doing activities that you enjoy, like watching a series or grabbing a coffee with a friend, are essential to incorporate while you have a busy schedule.

If you don’t take breaks and holidays, you could burn out and what use would you be to yourself then? There is too much emphasis on being busy and working and not enough on time off and chilling.

Should You Multitask?

Vikas Rana advises that you shouldn’t try to multitask when you have a list of tasks that need completing. This takes more of your energy and could leave you feeling confused, which could cause you to make mistakes. It’s best to focus on one task at a time with small breaks in between. By only focusing on one task, all your attention is on that job, and you’ll create something to be proud of.

According to Time, multitasking is something that’s in our heads, we’re not really doing it. One study found that only 2.5 % of people are able to really multitask. We live in a fast-paced world, and sometimes it might be a good idea to slow down and just focus on one thing at a time.

What’s Most Important?

Make what’s essential a priority for you, but be realistic. If you have an assignment deadline and there’s a big event on the same night, you need to consider that the task might be more important than the event. Maybe you could compromise, you could still make the event, but you might be late.

This tip relates back to being flexible, don’t punish yourself but set boundaries, tell yourself that you can go to the party after you’ve finished your assignment.

Complete the tasks that need completing, don’t procrastinate.

Work and Plan Ahead

This tip goes hand-in-hand with sticking to your schedule, try working ahead when you have the opportunity. This will give you the upper hand and will minimise stress at the same time. If you’re up to date with your work, and you’re still feeling productive, carry on working, that can lighten the next day or next week’s load for you.

At the same time, if you know that you have a wedding or a birthday coming up in the next week, try to schedule some extra shifts or study hours into your current week. That way, you’re ahead with your work so you can take the time to spend with your family or friends.

It’s All About Balance

Balancing work, study, and life will never be easy, but with these tips, you should be able to get through it.