Tech future of everything: 4 ways to upskill and prepare

The world has changed. Have you?

"Everything is about to be different. The next big tech revolution is on its way!"

We hear this sort of prognostication all the time these days. The revolution is on its way? As in future tense? Yikes. Much like landing a door-to-door encyclopedia sales gig back in 1996, that ship has already sailed, my friend. 

The looming “radical change” they’re talking about is here right now, as innovative technologies like generative AI and decentralized identifiers disrupt the status quo, ushering in the amorphous “tech future of everything” right into our lap(top)s.

But as an engineer, what does that mean for you? Where will tools like ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot leave you in our new shared reality?

The answer is as simple as it is complex.

The tech future of everything requires nimble engineers who can adapt and win by embracing a culture of both continuous change and continuous learning. There are no shortcuts; the winners will be those with the courage and humility to thrive in a constant cycle of adapt → learn → grow → transform.

Capital One is ready for that challenge. You should be, too.

Here are 4 tips to help you prepare for the future of tech

#1: Stay up to date on cutting edge technology skills

Every engineer has their own unique path to prepare for the tech future of everything. Around here, Capital One’s Tech College sits at the forefront of it all, providing our ~12,000 engineers with the relevant tech skills of today and tomorrow.

Developed in 2017, Tech College serves as the company’s internal tech-learning program and was designed to keep engineers, product managers and designers up-to-date on cutting-edge technology skills that could aid in developing new products and applications.

Tech College has built a culture of continued learning and development, with advocacy from Capital One’s most senior tech leaders. As we continually advance our technology stack and integrate new technologies into its products and business, Capital One is able to continually train and upskill engineers to remain on the cutting edge of technology.

#2: Unlock new skills with certifications

Tech College has been an invaluable resource for Capital One associates to grow their cloud development skills. Our engineers have eagerly taken advantage of various cloud-based learning offerings and received prestigious AWS certifications, including Solutions Architect, Developer, Machine Learning, Advanced Networking, Data Analytics, SysOps Administration and Big Data.

In fact, a staggering 88% of Capital One’s engineers currently hold an AWS certification. You read that correctly, 88%! 

Tech College is helps to empower Capital One’s creation of real-time, intelligent, automated customer experiences using artificial intelligence in financial services. With classes such as Machine Learning 101, 102 and 103, associates are provided with accessible learning pathways that build from foundational learning through more advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence use cases.

In our pursuit to position Capital One as a destination for the best machine learning talent, Tech College offers a Machine Learning Engineering Training Program (MLETP) that further accelerates our machine learning journey. This in-depth, five-month program teaches the skills necessary to jumpstart a career in ML and AI. Upon completion of the program, our learners will boast an impressive portfolio of:

  • Four hands-on capstone projects based on Capital One ML models

  • A certification from Coursera

  • Multiple opportunities to network with colleagues and leaders in the machine learning community

Game changing AI tools aren’t just the future; they’re here. The marketplace winners–companies, products, and, yes, engineering talent–will leverage and build on these emerging foundations. As for the losers in that marketplace battle? Well…the great skills gap divide can be a fickle beast. Just ask your local encyclopedia salesperson.

So, for those of you not working at Capital One, I recommend researching paths to unlock new skills with certifications either at your company or on your own time. 

#3: Understand your skills gap and address it

So how do you help ensure you end up on the right side of the skills gap ledger? For starters, you better not leave it to a gut feeling. Just as almost everyone thinks they have a good sense of humor or are above average drivers, most of us engineers are pretty confident in our coding skills. But with increasingly rising stakes, how can we be objectively certain?

At Capital One, we solved this subjective assessment dilemma by creating Engineering Roles & Skills Profiles. Our associates use these profiles as a resource to understand the different roles, functions, and technical skill expectations for engineers in tech. They empower nimble learners to explore the various engineering paths available at Capital One, customize their personal learning journey and guide their career development conversations.

We all have cracks in our foundations, and these profiles help highlight where the skill gaps exist while providing recommended learning solutions for how to address them. So, whether an associate is looking to level up in their current role or explore new engineering paths, they’ll better understand where to go and how to get there.

#4: Upskill within your company by taking on new roles and responsibilities

One of the most fulfilling aspects of working at Capital One is the ability to move around and try different things. Not only do we put trust in our people to learn and grow in new areas, we provide numerous opportunities to do so. There’s something very powerful and exciting about learning something new, taking a risk to go down an unfamiliar path or challenging yourself to gain a deeper understanding in an unfamiliar area.

At Capital One, associates don’t have to go outside the company’s walls to find resources or classes. We’ve heavily invested in our learning resources and the ability of our great talent to contribute to that knowledge base.

Beyond Tech College, Capital One offers award-winning engineering resources:

  • Capital One U: Our gateway to internal and external learning from industry-leading and Capital One subject matter experts. Over 8,000 learning resources covering topics such as: Agile, communication, customer focus, influence, judgment, leadership, personal development, problem-solving, product management and teamwork.

  • Udemy: Udemy provides personalized, sophisticated learning recommendations for industry-leading topics that help ensure you’re accessing the most relevant content that’s right for you. Udemy’s marketplace content model means they always have the most recent and high-quality content to make learning enjoyable. Since debuting, Capital One associates have consumed over 300,000 hours of Udemy Business content. 92.5% of surveyed associates reported that they’ve found Udemy Business helpful, and the average course rating has been 4.6 out of 5 stars.

  • Coursera: Coursera partners with more than 275 leading universities and companies to bring flexible, affordable, job-relevant online learning to individuals and organizations worldwide. They offer a range of learning opportunities—from interactive projects and courses to job-ready certificates and degree programs.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We leverage top subject matter experts and business leaders throughout the enterprise to always provide associates with fresh, custom learning experiences from both inside and outside Capital One that will help them reach their greatest potential.

Whoever it is you want to be today, tomorrow or 6 months from now, Capital One will help guide the way.

Change is inevitable, the future of tech is now

As Thanos would have said if he worked in tech, "It always will be. It is...inevitable."

As we’ve all learned the only constant is change–and change is inevitable. At Capital One, we believe if you want people to do truly great work, you have to give them an environment where they can be productive, inspired, motivated and continue to develop their skills. Emerging technologies will continue to shape how we live, and Capital One is ready to provide the earning experiences that allow our associates to keep pace with whatever’s next.

But remember, if you think you’ve still got time before “the tech future of everything” gets here, you’ll want to take a break from updating your MySpace page for a minute and pay attention, because I’ve got some bad news for you... 

Richard Heffron, Content Strategist

Content Strategist at Capital One specializing in tech, marketing, and communications. Making tech content fun for 10+ years.

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