Mobile and design are shifting to the center of technology and work


Today I am giving a keynote at the The Youth Festival of ICT (YITcon14) in Melbourne, with participation from over 1,000 students and young professionals.

The Australian newspaper yesterday featured an article titled Mobile exposes need for design skills, programming languages: Ross Dawson based on an interview with myself and Alan Patterson, CEO of the Australian Computer Society, which is organizing the conference.

The article begins:

THE rise of mobile technology was accentuating the necessity for strong design skills and higher level programming languages, a leading futurist predicts. Speaking ahead of this week’s youth festival of ICT, YITCON 2014, Ross Dawson said design as a concept was shifting to become a large part of what the technology role was.

“Whilst there is still programming being done, it is as we are moving up the stack to where there is increasingly the use of frameworks such as Ruby on Rails or other frameworks on top of other programming languages,’’ he said. “This changes the nature of how work is done, the nature of the skills that are required and indeed to a certain degree the transferability of those skills from different platforms or languages across domains.’’

Mr Dawson, who is a founding chairman of four companies and a globally-recognised entrepreneur, said mobile was for most people the primary interface technology. “This accentuates the necessity for design and fantastic design, how do you get all of this ability to interface with complex information on a very small screen and make that intuitive, useful and easy, but also that there are different sets of skills, which are required in terms of the programming languages.’’

The rise of mobile is absolutely shifting the nature of technology work as it becomes an important – and often primary – interface to digital worlds. Indeed, mobile technologies are changing the nature of virtually every kind of work.

Interface and user experience design has moved to the center of technology, partly due to the smaller screen sizes on mobile devices, as well as our soaring expectations of beauty. Design is the core skill and capability that makes technology useful today. This is just part of what makes technology a fundamentally creative field.

The full article is well worth a read, it goes on to cover some of my broader perspectives on the jobs of the future as well as Alan Patterson’s insights on mobile and the future of ICT work.