Keral Patel on Future-proofing Your Career.
Keral Patel is CEO of BlueSoftWeb with 22 years of hands on experience in programming field.
What's your career journey been like and how has that led you to be an authority on this topic?
My journey in the world of programming and technology has been both exhilarating and humbling. It was full of ups and downs. I remember my early days as a coder, spending countless hours exploring different languages and experimenting with code. During my initial years it wasn't even commercially fruitful to carry on with it. But those moments of curiosity and determination laid the foundation for what was to come. As my skills developed, I had the privilege of working on various projects that allowed me to stretch my creative boundaries and problem-solving abilities. Each challenge I encountered was an opportunity to learn, refine my skills, and gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies of programming. Finding new approaches and doing features that stretch the capability of that particular programming language gave me lots of sleepless nights but also a kind of inner joy when it would eventually work. In my career I was blessed to work with like minded people and together, we embarked on a journey to develop solutions that would not only meet the current demands but also anticipate the future needs of our clients and the industry as a whole. Becoming an authority in this field was not a singular event but a culmination of continuous learning, adaptation, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. It's about staying ahead of the curve, embracing change, and consistently challenging conventional wisdom. Over time, my experiences, successes, and many failures have contributed to shaping my perspective on programming and technology.
Are there specific jobs in your industry at higher risk of AI disruption?
Absolutely, the integration of AI and automation is fundamentally reshaping various industries, including the programming and technology sector in whole. While AI brings about tremendous opportunities and advancements, it also raises concerns about jobs in programming industry. What I think is that most rhetoric tasks and low level coding jobs will be gone. Software testing, data entry, maintenance as well as some parts of debugging will be affected. The logical kind of bugs will still have to be sorted out by humans for some more years I guess.
What skills do you think young professionals should learn to stay employable in a world with AI?
Young professionals who are starting their career or have an interest in programming career should always remain curious and thrive to think out of the box. Adaptability and a life long learning mentality would help them quite a lot. If they can then becoming a critical thinker and a problem solver would also boost their skills allowing them to tackle unique challenges and make strategic decisions. Last but not the least they should focus on a particular niche and try to be a domain authority in that particular field. Keeping oneself up to date with the latest technologies is a must. Hands on practical experience is sometimes 100 times better than theoretical knowledge on the subject.
How can AI help business owners and executives make better decisions?
AI will definitely help all size of businesses flourish. Currently the companies I consult for have been adopting AI tools at unimaginable speed. With help of Artificial Intelligence a business owner can take best approach and good decision in which direction to steer their company. Things like data analytics becomes much easier with help of AI as it can process huge amount of data in fraction of time compared to a human. AI could also give predictive analysis based on parameters given to it. This in turn helps business owners to take better decisions over all. There are many other use cases like personalization, market analysis, supply chain optimization, fraud detection based on digital footprints, etc.
What ethical issues should businesses consider when using AI?
AI is a double edged sword therefore businesses must navigate a range of ethical considerations to make sure that their technology and practices align with human values, legal regulations, and responsible use. The training data on which the AI has been trained could lead to a selective bias against a group of people if proper attention is not paid towards it. If its used in recruitment then it could also oversee many aspects that a human recruiter would be able to see during a one on one interaction. Businesses should also set their own boundaries on what kind of data is collected, process and acted upon from the customers. Just throwing in a disclaimer would not suffice. Last but not the least I would say that just try to strike a balance and differentiate properly between a human and an AI.
How will AI impact leadership and management?
This one is my favorite and I think it will disrupt the management level jobs much more than the worker level jobs. Mid-level managers are the most exposed to AI disrupting their job profiles. With the help of AI the business owners can take way better decisions and get real-time data and insights to make well informed decisions. It can give a macro as well as micro view of how to allocate resources and where to. It can also perform some HR tasks like performance analysis as well as gathering feedback by analyzing employee sentiment during times of organizational or operational change in the company.
What specific skills or roles do you think AI can't replace in your industry?
AI can't replace creative thinking. AI can't replace a human who stumbles upon some new invention or discovery due to a mistake. I think AI can't replace people who think differently because it does not have true creativity and as far as I know it can't innovate as of now. What will happen in future that is yet to be seen. AI would also not be able to instantly replace user experience design, it could sooner or later because it can learn based on user feedback and user interaction and adapt quickly but as of now it will still have bit hard time doing that. Moreover it can't make mistakes on purpose or get ideas from those mistakes which were made on purpose. It could very well try each and every iteration path given to it but I still feel that it won't be that good at it.
Finally, what does the future of work look like with automation and AI, and how can ambitious professionals thrive in this changing landscape?
The future of work with automation and AI does promises to be a very transformative landscape. As these technologies continue to grow and advance, they will reshape industries, job roles, and the nature of work itself. Some routine and repetitive tasks will get automated but automation and AI will also create new opportunities and drive the need for upskilling and adaptability. Ambitious people can and will thrive in this changing landscape. As for programming I never saw it as a challenge. In fact someone asked me this some years ago and I told that when AI is busy doing my tasks, I will be busy figuring out a way on how to leverage the AI and make it work in ways that was unfathomable. You just have to keep learning and adapting to the new reality. Developing resilience and grit will help professionals navigate this setbacks much easily and help them keep moving forward. Just try to be a person who likes to think out of the way and tries to take a different approach towards a given problem.