- Workers are 43 percent more likely to say that automation skills will help them land their dream job, as opposed to coding or programming, according to a recent report from Zapier, a company that helps connect online tools so they work together.
- This suggests that low-code and no-code tools are gaining popularity in the workplace as a way to automate certain routine tasks.
- Wade Foster, CEO and cofounder of Zapier, thinks that automation is a skill that employers will start looking for in job candidates — it’s easier to learn than coding, and can help speed up a tremendous variety of tasks.
- “With the emergence of a lot of these no code tools…it’s a lot easier to learn how to build some stuff that automates some of these boring parts of your job,” Foster told Business Insider.
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Learning to code used to be high up on many people’s New Year’s resolutions lists. However, that might be changing. Workers now are more interested in automating parts of their job, rather than learning how to code, according to a recent report from Zapier, a hot startup that helps connect online tools so they work together.
According to that report, workers are 43 percent more likely to say that automation skills make them a top candidate for their dream job, over coding or programming skills. It suggests that tools that offer the ability to automate certain routine tasks, without the need to code very much or at all, are becoming more popular in the workplace.
Wade Foster, CEO and co-founder of Zapier, thinks this trend is rooted in the fact that while learning to code is a valuable skill, it takes time. For people who don’t work specifically as any kind of software developer, that skill doesn’t always translate directly to their daily tasks. Automation, however, requires less.
“In my day to day job, there is a lot of tasks that I do that are not interesting to me, are pretty boring, and can be fairly easily automated. And with the emergence of a lot of these no code tools…it’s a lot easier to learn how to build some stuff that automates some of these boring parts of your job,” Foster told Business Insider. “Stuff that if you were to learn how to code you could do too, but this is a much faster way.”
Zapier isn’t necessarily neutral here: it’s one of the no code/low code tools that is helping make this sort of automation possible. The company has raised $1.2 million in seed funding thus far, and in 2018, Zapier told Business Insider that it had a $35 million annualized run rate, a measure of how much revenue it expects to generate in a year.
The company’s platform helps connect the tools workers are already using for their jobs — like Google’s G Suite, Slack, Salesforce, Trello, MailChimp — so they don’t have to manually send the necessary data from one app to another. And users can build integrations on top of that to make the apps work seamlessly together.
What’s driving the push towards automation is that people want to do their jobs more efficiently, and so do the companies they work for, Foster said. Before these tools existed, it took a lot of bespoke coding and engineering to make data go from one service or app to another.
“I think there’s two things going on. One, there’s these real problems that people need solving and two, the tools that they use are getting a lot easier. It’s getting a lot more acceptable for them to build these little automations, it doesn’t take an engineer anymore,” Foster said.
He also thinks the ability to intelligently automate will be a skill companies will be looking for when they hire new employees. Bigger companies will start hiring people that specialize in automation and can teach others how to do it, too. He thinks we’ll also start to see more people picking up these skills outside of work, and schools starting to teach these skills.
“The value is there when you’re able to automate these menial tasks. You’re talking about, for the average knowledge worker, you’re talking about saving four hours a day for every single one of them and that is a huge value add,” Foster said.
The flip side is that automation and AI often get associated with job loss. But Foster thinks automation will take away the types of jobs that involve repetitive or manual tasks, which people don’t like doing anyways, and can free up people’s time to do the creative parts of the job. In the long run, he thinks this will create more jobs by opening up opportunities to do more creative work.
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