As a Gen-Zer, I’ve grown up knowing digital technology as a commodity and a lifestyle. With time I also see the progression and the impact of this technology more clearly. Today, I can’t picture life without the internet; I can’t even imagine a day without utilizing some software system. The unexpected COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated society into a world where the internet and application software are the bare necessity. The international stay-at-home order has pushed companies over the technological tipping point – transforming any business industry forever. Understanding software is the not only key to gaining income but is the new survival tactic for success.
Technodexterous is an unofficial word referring to the ability to know the software well enough to be able to use it on any type of computer. In other words, a technodexterous person knows a software program like the back of their hand; how it functions, how it’s installed and how it operates. With technology on the rise, there is a clear distinction between the people who are technodexterous and the people who are behind in technology.
If you are slacking in the ever-growing trends of software, I’m sorry to tell you, that you are now at a disadvantage. Offices and schools that we once knew have now moved into basements and living rooms. Employers require a ready understanding of technology for employees to ensure remote workers are always on the same page. Remote workers need to have the right technology and collaboration tools for reliable, scalable, and flexible work. Statistics found in a New York Times article “The Virus Changed the Way We Internet” illustrates the dramatic jump in communication software use – including Zoom, Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams.
This demand for tech-savvy employees became clear in my life. For me, the pandemic meant more time to focus on learning, especially about graphic design. I would pour a cup of coffee every morning, sit down, and make my way through learning different Adobe programs. After 3 months, I finally met the qualifications for many LinkedIn applications and landed a job as a Digital Media Designer. The point is that knowing some software put me ahead of the competition and got me a job during an employment crisis.
The crazy thing is that this technological advantage is favoured in every career or field of study. It’s not just online retail/service businesses, but software platforms are critical for healthcare systems, education, sports industries etc. The importance of application software in society is explained eloquently in Software Takes Command, by Lev Manovich. Even though this book was published before the turn of the 2020 pandemic, Manovich notes how application software are the basis of the contemporary world; they “are in the center of the global economy, culture, social life, and increasingly, politics.” (7)
As more software and new program updates are created, systems are determined to deliver a user-friendly experience. Services like CodePen and GitHub allow users to write code, deploy it, test it out, and share their work in forums. Likewise, programs like Canva and Figma ease users into the world of graphic design, providing pre-made elements in which users adjust the style of the graphic. Manovich notes “While a user is not always given the ability to add to or modify content, s/he always navigates and interacts with the existing content using interactive interface” (27) To be clear everyone is not expected to be geniuses in every technological corner, that would be insane. Knowing the rundown of several software, however, is helpful for unexpected times when it’s so very important. People “need to account for the role of software and its effects in whatever subjects they investigate.”(15)
Understanding software is seen as the new advantage in life. Being technodextous means you’ll have an easier time getting a job in any industry. The increase of technology is impacting all corners of our society and we need to stay up to date or we will fall behind the pack. It is becoming easier each day to be technodextous, but we need to be willing to expand outside the borders of user-friend software.
Koeze, Ella, and Nathaniel Popper. “The Virus Changed the Way We Internet.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 7 Apr. 2020, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/07/technology/coronavirus-internet-use.html
Manovich, Lev. Software Takes Command. Bloomsbury, 2013.