Have you ever thought about the future of communications careers? Do you worry that Automated Intelligence (AI) will have your job one day? It might, but that shouldn’t frighten you. It should inspire you. I recently told Forbes in an interview, “There is a real opportunity for communications professionals to pave their own road with new technology.” (Forbes, 2016) And I believe it.

Now more than ever, technology is the future of communications careers. Keeping your skills current, isn’t just important, it’s essential. But with the tech floodgates open, it can often feel like swimming upstream to figure out what to learn, what to embrace, and what to let pass by. Make it a practice to try something new every week. Whether it is installing a new plugin on your website, or trying out a new camera, allot a couple of hours of your work week to “play” outside of your communications technology comfort zone.

It has also become increasingly difficult to navigate between what I call the “salesy stuff” (technical term), and helpful educational tools. If you feel like you are swimming in an ocean of information and are overwhelmed with figuring out what to spend time on, here are five tips to stay on top of industry trends:

1. Check the App store weekly for trending and popular new apps.
2. Read blogs like Wired that are tech news oriented. Avoid sites that offer “free” educational tools, but then require you to make a purchase to actually obtain the information.
3. If you don’t know how to do something, search YouTube for a “how-to” video. Last week, I was tasked with learning Unity. I browsed YouTube and until I found a tutorial on my level and it cost me nothing.
4. Subscribe to the blogs of major electronic brands and brands with products relevant to your career. You can stay in the know of what is coming out, by signing up to get announcements from brands you love.
5. Make sure you are surrounded with people motivated to stay ahead of the curve. They will keep you on your toes, be a great resource, and share user reviews to help you navigate what tools are a must and which aren’t worth your time.

Technology in Communications Careers

What have I tried new this week?

This week I downloaded a new app called Green Screen Pro that I have been waiting for, (seriously, tapping my fingers and checking my watch). The tech enthusiast in me is like a little kid in Toys R Us when something that is fairly inexpensive and easy to use comes out that will shorten my workflow. I’m still playing it with it, but I have easily put company logos behind people against a green screen and photos that I take on my phone are instant video backgrounds.

This type of app, makes me more nimble in the field. With a green sheet rolled up in my “go bag,” I can film anyone anytime with the background of my choice. Staying on top of emerging platforms allows me see where I can add value in my industry.

Footnotes
1. Forbes Communication Council. October 26, 2017. Forbes.com. “Meet Nicole Hanratty, Director of Communications at 1.800.NoCuffs and The Kavinoky Law Firm.” Retrieved via https://forbescommcouncil.com/blog/2016/10/26/meet-nicole-hanratty-director-of-communications-at-1-800-nocuffs-and-the-kavinoky-law-firm/.