MPW Insider is one of several online communities where the biggest names in business answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: What is one piece of advice all millennials should take before entering the workforce? is written by Juliet de Baubigny, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Learn to code. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of software developers alone is expected to grow 22% between 2012 and 2022. And this doesn’t even include the extraordinary demand for design and product management skills that companies are searching for at career fairs and technical bootcamps.
Regardless of which industry millennials choose to pursue, technology is becoming an integral part of everything they use today. Whether they are in agriculture, where drones and big data are revolutionizing the way we grow our food, or in healthcare, where hardware and mobile applications are fundamentally transforming clinical care — being tech savvy has become a requirement. No, this doesn’t mean understanding the difference between a Mac and a PC or being able to use Microsoft office – that’s table stakes. It means being able to program, code, design and truly understand how technologies scale. For example, at KPCB we launched the Fellows internship program to expose college students not just to engineering, but also to design and product management.
We live in an age of innovation where the new bare minimum is changing drastically across the board. For example, companies like Facebook and Twitter have redefined traditional marketing and have instead implemented growth hacking, a marketing technique that uses analytics and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure. In addition, other seemingly “non-technical” jobs are being accelerated by skills in computer science or interactive design.
Whether millennials plan on becoming software engineers, marketers, recruiters or CEOs, they need to be technically fluent — their personal and professional success depends on it. This doesn’t mean you have to learn every type of programming language there is – it’s okay to start small. You can start by creating a personal website or designing a better way to organize your contacts. Before you know it, you’ll realize that what you’ve made has the power to reach millions, change industries and impact the world for the better.