Three Skills Needed to Stay Relevant in the Age of Automation

Almost every sector has invested in automation, from the robot arms that piece together a product to the chatbots that provide tailored responses to common questions. Automation has changed operations for the better. It has helped businesses increase efficiency and churn out products at lightning speed, at a fraction of the cost of maintaining a workforce.

The negative consequence, however, is that automation has taken over countless jobs. Everything from assembling prototype PCBs to baking strawberry tarts can be accomplished by robots, which means there are fewer jobs available for factory workers, bakers, and everyone in between.

Is there a chance that robots would eventually replace all jobs? No; for every job that is taken over by automation, a fresh kind of profession appears (they didn’t have computer programmers fifty years ago). But to be competitive in the job market, you have to possess certain skills that no robot could match—skills that only a human can perform.


It will be hard to replace creatives like writers and painters. While there are computers that have created paintings, they still run on a program created by humans. No computer can match the imagination and creative analysis of a person. Computers cannot build something out of a vague sketch of ideas.

Moreover, creativity does not just involve producing artwork; it also entails coming up with new ideas to solve a problem and thinking out of the box. To be creative is to do something that was not done before. And since robots run on a program, they only do the things they are told to do.

Here are some ways to sharpen your creativity:

  • Continue creating, whether that’s sketches, bullet points of ideas, passion projects, etc.
  • Be willing to fail, so you can try new things
  • Consume different types of art and music

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence includes self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and social skills. No matter how sophisticated the program, automated machines cannot replicate the complex way that people process and respond to emotions. They cannot decode the nuances in responses and body language the way a human does.

As such, emotional intelligence is a skill that is indispensable to workers in the age of automation. Jobs that require a high degree of emotional intelligence include therapists, teachers, human resource managers, and social workers. Automated machines could never be up to the jobs.

Here are some ways to develop emotional intelligence:

  • Be mindful of your own emotions
  • Manage your negative feelings
  • Always be considerate of how other people might feel

Critical Thinking


The ability to create decisions based on judgments is not easily replicated by a computer program. An automated machine can’t take in the nuanced variables in a situation as opposed to humans, who face dozens of important judgment calls a day. Critical thinking involves an objective evaluation of facts and formulation of possible solutions.

Here are some ways to hone critical thinking:

  • Ask questions about the problem before formulating a solution
  • Always explore a minimum of two solutions
  • Take note of the failures of past projects

These three skills not only ensure there’s a job for you in the future, but these also set you apart from other candidates. Your creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence is your ticket to a successful career path.

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