One of the major themes building in the technology space has been the threat of artificial intelligence (AI) taking over all the jobs. Thanks to Terminator and Ex Machina, people imagine AI as a sentient force that will soon outperform humans (and possibly even turn evil). In reality, AI has some limitations that aren’t well understood, and it is poised to drive economic growth rather than create social chaos.

A Deeper Understanding of Artificial Intelligence

CompTIA recently published a research brief on AI as part of a broader series exploring emerging technology. AI is definitely one of the more familiar cutting-edge topics out there: 63 percent of companies say they have consumed some type of information on AI in the past year. But this awareness has not yet translated into adoption, as only 30 percent of those companies say the technology is impacting their business today.

In the early stages of adoption, IT and business professionals will move from a surface-level knowledge of AI to a deeper understanding. In particular, these individuals learn that AI is a broad term for a collection of different machine learning techniques. These techniques, which leverage an explosion of data along with specialized hardware (often in the cloud), allow predicative behavior, contextual awareness and other new components to be added to business applications.

As a company’s technology footprint grows, some amount of automation and assistance is necessary since technical teams are usually not growing at the same rate.

The Challenges of Implementing Artificial Intelligence

Here is where some of the confusion creeps in. For starters, AI is typically not a discrete system to be purchased and installed. Instead, it often appears as a feature of existing software. Some of the data and algorithms may reside in a distinct tool (such as IBM’s Watson), but that tool alone does not provide the comprehensive function needed by the end user.

With new AI pieces working hand in hand with workflow applications, the second main misunderstanding is that AI requires training. At the end of the day, even something as complicated as neural networks only performs based on the instructions it has been given. These instructions might allow for amazing feats and some degree of organic learning within the system, but there are still boundaries. The built-in rules provide some guardrails to what AI can accomplish, but they also present some challenges, such as the bias of the engineer that built the rules and the need to understand how AI performs rather than simply treating it as a black box.

Using Automation to Our Advantage

These challenges, though, will be offset by the benefits that AI can bring. In particular, the complexity that is growing in IT environments will need to be automated with AI. This applies to both software and hardware. The top two uses of AI by early adopters are machine learning within an Internet of Things (IoT) implementation and machine learning within IT infrastructure, clearly showing how AI is influencing hardware implementation and management. Next on the list is virtual assistants, a broad category that boils down to a contextual software layer helping drive decisions and simplify workflow. As a company’s technology footprint grows, some amount of automation and assistance is necessary since technical teams are usually not growing at the same rate.

Are the robots going to take over our jobs? Well, in some cases they probably will. But that has always been the case with advances in technology, even if the technology hasn’t always been digital. The strongest employees are the ones that embrace ongoing skill improvement and find ways to enhance their work with newly available tools. AI is one of many emerging trends to keep an eye on, but it has a good chance to become a foundational part of future IT systems.

Read James Stanger’s take on automation and IT jobs in Staying Relevant: Job Skills You’ll Need by 2020 and Beyond.



Hard skills are technical skills that are studied and learned in order to accomplish certain jobs. Traditionally speaking, these hard skills are what’s listed on your cover letter and resume because they’re what initially get you noticed by hiring organizations.

However, research shows that employers are placing increased importance on a candidate’s soft skills. So what are soft skills? They are personal attributes that are non-technical in nature and reflect important interpersonal and decision-making capabilities.

According to a recent article by Dale Hes of the Oxbridge Academy, here are the reasons why soft skills are more important than ever:

  1. Hard Skills are Useless Without Soft Skills

Many occupations and jobs require a combination of hard skills and soft skills to truly succeed. For example, a salesperson with unrivaled product knowledge will fail if they don’t have interpersonal skills to connect and close deals with leads. As Dale Hes states, “All careers require at least some soft skills to make the hard skills valuable.”

  1. Soft Skills are Harder to Learn

While hard skills can be easily learned and mastered over a period of time, soft skills are much more difficult to develop. Since soft skills are linked to a person’s character, it takes a conscious effort, willingness, and commitment to self-development. While technical skills might get you noticed as a job candidate, soft skills get you promoted and lead to sustained long-term career success.

  1. The Modern Workplace is Interpersonal

Current work environments value soft skills such as listening, collaborating, communicating, and problem solving. Strong soft skill proficiency in employees leads to a more productive, collaborative, and healthy work environment.

  1. Customers Demand Soft Skills

No matter the company or industry, the modern market offers consumers an unlimited number of solutions to their problems. Most of the time, soft skill proficiency regarding customer service can provide a competitive advantage that ultimately leads to an organization’s success.

  1. The Future Workplace Will Rely on Soft Skills

Technological advancements, which increase productivity and decrease labor costs, are starting to take over occupations that are solely based on hard skills. Think of self-checkout registers at grocery stores or manufacturing plants using automated machinery instead of skilled labor. According to Dale Hes, “Automation and artificial intelligence will result in a greater proportion of jobs relying on soft skills.”

Most Valued Soft Skills

Now that we’ve recognized why soft skills are important, let’s discuss the specific soft skills that hiring organization value most.

According to a recent study conducted by Bloomberg, in which 1,251 job recruiters and 547 companies were surveyed about the skills they seek the most but struggle to find, the most important soft skills for new job candidates are:

  • Communicating
  • Leading
  • Problem Solving
  • Initiating
  • Organizing

Recognizing the importance of soft skills in personal and professional development is an important first step toward sustained career success. So what’s the next step? Like mentioned before, learning and developing soft skills isn’t so clear cut. If you want to learn more about the easiest way to assess and develop the soft skills that truly impact employability and promotability, access your complimentary eBook – Soft Skill Development: Ensuring success beyond the classroom.



Are numbers your thing? Love details?

If the answer is yes, you’ve come to the right place!

Bookkeeping is a rewarding career path and the reasons to study a bookkeeping course go further than just having a head for numbers and killer organizational skills. The field is constantly growing, isn’t narrow—nor is it boring (let’s bust that stereotype right now!). The noble bookkeeper does everything from maintaining financial records, problem solving to taking on the role of trusted financial advisor. And it can be lucrative!

Here are 6 more AMAZING reasons to study Bookkeeping:

1.Every Business needs a Bookkeeper

From big industry leaders in finance and economics to the local grocery store down the road, every business needs someone to look after their books. Bookkeepers are wanted everywhere and anywhere- the list is simply endless! And as a result of this growing demand, there are great job prospects. Equipped with a quality Bookkeeping qualification, you can expect to find employment quickly and easily.

2. Enjoy Flexibility

Need flexible hours? Depending on the organization, Bookkeepers can choose to work part-time or full time. This is especially advantageous if you have a family to consider or are looking to supplement your partner’s income. Furthermore, if you love the sound of working in your pajamas with a cup tea in hand (uhm…bliss!), there are options to work freelance or work from home at some companies.

3. No Multitasking

Does the thought of multitasking make your head spin? We get it. Fortunately, part of your job description will be to prioritize certain tasks over others and to avoid multi-tasking altogether. That’s right, you heard us—no multi-tasking. The ability to focus on one financial situation and to not get distracted is of top priority. For super organized planners, this fact alone is enough to sign up to a bookkeeping course today!

4.Steady Income

In an unsteady economy and uncertain times, earning a constant, good salary equals stability. Bookkeepers can count on earning a solid income which is set to grow with years of experience. PLUS Bookkeepers can also easily transition into higher paid jobs to increase earning potential later on, if so desired. Find out what you’ll earn here:

5.Tailor your Career to your Personality

Variety is the spice of life in Bookkeeping! Tailor your career to fit your personality and stage of life. If you love getting out of the office, choose a job that allows you to move around and work in different settings, or conversely choose a job without travel. Enjoy people? You could work in a bookkeeping job where you interact with loads of clients. On the other hand, if you lean more to the shier side, there are plenty of jobs that don’t require much socializing.

6.Rewarding Career Path

Aspirations to become an accountant one day? Opportunities for advancement are plentiful and many bookkeepers go on to become auditors or accountants. In fact, it is entirely possible to work your way to controller or CFO! Study a Bookkeeping course and you’ll get your foot in the door.

Looking to study a Bookkeeping course? Want to be indispensable to your company? ELMI offers ICB’s world class bookkeeping qualifications. Find the perfect bookkeeping course here – ICB Programmes


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The world of work is evolving every day, every hour. New technology has allowed us excel at a rate that we once thought was impossible. The change in our everyday working lives is becoming more apparent. Technological advancements make way for an exciting future. However, with this change means that there will be a greater need  for today’s workforce to learn new skills. You see, the skills that we use today, may not be the skills we need in the future. Therefore, keeping up-to-date with industry news and trends could be the key to your success for the future. It’s time to start planning!

Guthrie Jensen say that we are on the verge of the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, and they’re not far wrong!  Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and quantum computing have exploded on to the scene in recent years. With the help of advanced technology, we’ve become far more creative and productive in our work. There is angst amongst certain workers who think that technology could end up replacing them.  It’s true, human labour is declining with AI, machines and robot technology replacing them. Why? They’re faster, cheaper and ultimately, they’re more productive in the long-run.

Some may see this as a cause for concern, although I’d beg to differ. New technology brings with it new opportunities. Exciting times are waiting on the horizon and it’s up to us to seize the moment. However, each individual has the responsibility to up-skill and to be ready for what’s ahead. And with all that said, the team over at Guthrie Jensen have put together this infographic together, listing the 10 skills you’ll need to thrive in 2020.