Ten years ago, MP3 players were mostly stand-alone devices that could only play music. Today, their functionality – as well as that of cameras, game players, and a host of other applications – have been integrated into smart phones, launching a vibrant industry of thousands of app programmers, whose products are expected to create a $25 billion market by 2015.
No matter what industry it's in, your job may soon get a tech upgrade. By 2020, 70 percent of jobs will have a high-technology component. Every field will be affected: Office workers will manage company social media accounts; factories will invest in computer-controlled machinery requiring maintenance and programming; and health care will rely on high-tech equipment for training, remote monitoring of patients, and growing disciplines like medical informatics. Companies will expect their workers to collaborate with overseas partners, interpret masses of customer and sales data, and make the intuitive decisions that even the "smartest" computers aren't yet able to master.
So plan your career with technology in mind. Basic office-technology skills will be a requirement for nearly every job by the next decade. By learning the technology that fuels your industry, you'll be better able to shift to other jobs with higher pay or greater potential. Accept any offer of workplace technology training. And keep these tech skills fresh – the ones you learned during college or even in your last job are probably already obsolete. Nobody wants to be last decade's model!