Cosmic’s Executive Director on how technology is taking over

Cosmic’s Executive Director Kate Doodson is on a mission. She wants us all to know about the technology revolution and how it could be coming for YOUR job. Want to know more? We met Kate to get all the info you need.

After doing a degree in Civil Engineering at Liverpool University, Kate decide to take a step in a different direction. She went to work in the tech industry and now Kate wants to educate people about how important it is in all of our lives. Technology isn’t just changing how we do simple things, like booking a hotel (hello Airbnb) or getting a cab (Uber is everywhere!), it’s transforming jobs in EVERY industry.

Here Kate tells List for Life how we can get more tech savvy and why women shouldn’t be put off by the male-dominated world of technology.

Image Credit: Cosmic

Image Credit: Cosmic

1. Tell us about Cosmic?

Cosmic are a digital agency and tech consultancy with a difference. We re-invest profits made by our commercial activity into projects centred around digital inclusion. We operate as a Social Enterprise and have no asset share to the business. We run a web development arm and social media, search engine optimisation and pay-per-click consultancy. We also offer training programmes or workshops and mentoring. All of our training is aimed at supporting small and medium sized businesses to learn and make the most of digital marketing

2. Why is being digitally native so important in working life?

Being digitally native helps in a working life because your solution to problems will always be ‘digital-first’. If you’re thinking up a new business process, be it a sales process, or a manufacturing process, you will not revert to paper based model and then try to replicate that in a digital world. Instead you will look for digital solutions first. Digital migrants, those who tend to simply replicate paper with digital, are at a disadvantage. This just isn’t innovative. I think that not being tech savvy is going to become a social faux pas – it will be embarrassing not to be in the know. If you can constantly adapt and also have a good attitude you will do well.

3. What would your advice be to young people who want to improve their tech skills? 

There’s a perception that all young people are born with a firm grasp on tech skills but it’s not true. It’s good to ask for help. My advice would be to always be in learning mode and anticipate change. Don’t be precious, find enjoyment in menial tasks as well as challenging ones.

Be an early adopter in whichever sector you are in. LMGTFY is one of my favourite acronyms – (let me Google that for you). When people ask me a technical question my response is to Google it. If there is an error code in a system, I’ll Google the error code. Knowing how to check for accuracy is a vital skill to have. Soon none of us will be able to keep up with the pace of change in tech, so understanding how to find the right information, just in time, will be one of the most important life skills to have.

Be fierce about maintaining your digital reputation. Ensure LinkedIn is showing you off to your best, but check Google Index and Google Images for your footprint. Google your name and your town/profession to check what appears. Work on improving it, create blogs, YouTube channels and images that reflect your passion for work. This could be the help you need to get a new job or get yourself noticed.

4. Where do you see technology going over the next decade? Will it completely transform the way young people work?

Yes for sure. It’s estimated that 30% of existing jobs will be automated in the next 20 years, jobs that include law, accountancy, engineering and more. Many sectors are already being disrupted by new platforms like the accommodation sector with Airbnb and transport sector with Uber Taxis. We don’t really know how to legislate these businesses, how to tax or regulate them and yet consumers are adopting them at a fast rate.

One thing is for certain, technology is coming for your job. You’ll need to outwit and compete with not just a global workplace but also potentially robots. The other thing we all need to think about is communication between devices and ordinary things. This will definitely dominate our lives and it’s actually estimated to be a $90bn industry in the next 10 years. It’s both an opportunity and a threat to us all.

Everyone needs to know about tech. I can’t think of one single industry where tech isn’t needed – even if you’re a plumber there will be a digital element to your job!

5. Do you think the tech industry is male-dominated?

Yes, the industry is very male-dominated. IT teachers are usually men and it’s viewed as a masculine industry. One of my key goals is to encourage more women into technology and to help them understand that it is not just about coding. We need really creative and thoughtful people in tech as well as coders and developers. There’s a perception that tech is very complicated and geeky but it’s not. There are loads of creative opportunities in the tech world such as social media work, management and designing.

6. What is a typical working day like for you?

My working day starts as soon as I wake up and finishes whatever my last session is booked for. I’m often presenting on a digital marketing subject to business breakfast groups and evening business associations. I lecture locally and nationally, so at times my job also involves long journeys. Those are times when a good audible app comes in handy!

I try to practice what I preach and use many apps in my daily life, Triplog for mileage logging, Harvest for timesheets, Google Voice for navigation and reminders, ToDoIst for my actions, Google Keep for my personal productivity and IFFT for many shortcuts in the day.

7. You’ve won some impressive awards (well done!), do you always feel confident in your job? 

I’ve just been shortlisted for IT advocate of the year in the Women in IT awards. It’s a great accolade and I’m very proud to be nominated let alone shortlisted. Having self-belief is all about knowing when to say – “I don’t know”, or “I’m not sure about that!” Although I’m an engineer, I’m not that techie, but one thing I’ve really learnt is if you don’t know something, be honest and ask about it.

For more information on Cosmic and the work that they do click here.

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