We’ve all seen the same headline phrased in countless ways, ranging from ‘Robots are stealing our jobs’ to ‘Will AI take over the world?’ Except, the thing is, it’s almost impossible to predict the unknown as it is, well, precisely that – unknown. However, what we can predict is how to upskill yourself so that you’re always one step ahead of these so-called job-stealing robots. 

We’ve boiled this down to the five key skills that you’ll need to set yourself apart – and not only will they help you to future-proof your career, but they’ll give your CV a boost too. 

1. Negotiation

The bots may be able to ease the pressures of our everyday lives, complete the mundane tasks we dread and process data at lightning speed, but can they be as persuasive as a human being? Humans boast the unique ability to establish trust and show empathy with others, which are essential qualities when bargaining a new business deal or even your own salary. A robot can’t look you in the eye, gauge how you’re feeling and then respond based on your impalpable emotions, so strong negotiation skills are about to become even more highly sought after in the workplace. 

2. Agility

With each advancement technology brings, humans will need to be prepared to respond to it – and fast. Tables have turned, and we’re no longer setting high expectations for futuristic tech… instead, it’s setting expectations for us. Devices that have been trained using machine learning are only able to learn skills by completing a task that exercises it. In contrast, humans can develop a new, transferable skill and then apply it to unfamiliar scenarios. This ability to make connections between past, present and future experiences is innately human and one that employers will continue to generously reward. 

3. Coding

Without coding, our smart devices wouldn’t exist, we wouldn’t have access to the internet, and you certainly wouldn’t be reading this blog post. For developers, computer systems engineers, programmers and even technical marketers, top-notch coding skills are a must – for now. The technological singularity is likely to rear its head eventually, but we’re still some way away from that. JavaScript, Python, SQL and PHP are a few of the most popular coding languages. But if you don’t know your C++ from your C Sharp, don’t worry. Online courses cater for any skill level – and coding has even made its way into the national curriculum. 

4. Leadership

Over the last century, there’s been an abundance of research into what makes an effective leader. To an extent, it’s easy to distil this down into a straightforward five-part listicle – an instruction manual, in other words. This means that – in theory – it wouldn’t be difficult to embed these qualities into an automated system. But at the moment, there is one key quality that differentiates living, breathing leaders: self-awareness. Though researchers claim we’re on the cusp of creating artificial consciousness, there’s currently no substitute for self-awareness and the complex communication skills required to build genuine relationships colleagues and clients. 

5. Digital literacy

While digital technology appears to be changing the world, it’s vital that we remember that we’re the ones actually conceptualising and developing this tech. From using Apache Spark to optimize algorithms, to utilising SEO or PPC in digital marketing, you must stay at the forefront of digital innovation if you are to beat the bots in the coming years. Ongoing training is the key to success here, as even knowledge gained over the course of multiple degrees may well become quickly outdated. 

Alongside these five skills, an open-minded approach and willingness to learn will be invaluable in the workplace. So don’t shy away from automated technologies – embrace the benefits they may bring and show them who is, quite literally, the boss.