The classic stereotype about a Jewish mother "My son can be anything he wants as long as he is a doctor" has become irrelevant in recent years, at least in Israel. Today's parents want their children to work in the hi-tech industry - where the future lies, the opportunity to change the world is tangible, and where the big money is. The new paradise is within 10 square kilometers between north Tel Aviv and Herzliya and its residents are pale from lack of sun exposure and wear glasses because of endless screen hours.
But is it really true that only the future of those virtuous individuals, the super-programmers, the code-lovers, the technology enthusiasts is guaranteed? And what does this say about the rest of us mortals, those who do not speak binary and have more use of their right lobe of the brain?
Data from the Central Bureau of Statistics speaks of a rate of about 10% of all employees in the market who work in the high-tech industry in Israel (these workers, by the way, are responsible for about a quarter of the state's income tax revenue). Although this number continues to rise every year, most of the population still stands outside the gates of this paradise and wonders why are they not inside? And how the hell can they get in?
Well, the truth as always is complex, but my main thesis is that as the elitist industry grows so will the need for workers who possess a more complex and broad set of capabilities and interests stemming from more creative, spiritual, artistic worlds.
As in any economic entity, high-tech companies have a variety of satellite positions that are held by people with specific expertise, one that is not directly related to programming or code, for example: administration, finance, marketing and sales, etc .. But my contention is that there is a clear trend of expanding the core of the programming world to include creative people as well. Perhaps the most prominent example of the assimilation of creative discipline right at the heart of everyday development work is the one called UI/UX or Product.
To those who are unclear what exactly is UX and why (almost) every technology company needs one? Here’s a nutshell explanation. UX stands for User Experience. Most likely you do not remember the experience of the last time you used the app or site. You probably remember the content or functionality pretty well, but the actual user experience didn't affect you that much. If you do remember it, it's probably because you've had a bad user experience. A well-designed one will blend perfectly, into your actions on the site or app, so seamlessly, that the only time it should stand out is when it was so brilliantly designed that you consciously think, "Wow it's a pleasure to use!"
My colleague, a top-notch UX expert at CodeValue, describes his work as an attempt to resolve the tension between Homologicus (the programmers) and Homosapians (the rest of humans). So, when a developer builds a product / website / app for other people, its use and understanding will be as simple and obvious.
A paper by “Forbes” I came across states that “Diversity is a key driver of innovation and is a critical component of being successful on a global scale. Senior executives are recognizing that a diverse set of experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds is crucial to innovation and the development of new ideas.” I strongly believe in this and am glad that the company I work for validates this assumption. Our UI/UX division is diverse by gender, age and interests and holds the most remarkable background stories you’ll ever hear in a technology company. Just as an example, in one case it is an Israeli Air Force pilot who after retiring from active service studied and specialized in product design, another comes from the worlds of mediation and in the past was the owner of a tea company. Other UI/UXrs I’ve met during my 20 years in high-tech come up with more diverse stories: painters and illustrators, filmmakers, graphic designers, project managers and more and more non “classic” stories in our industry.
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And the big winner? Everyone! Just as the human mind needs two lobes (logical and creative) to exist, so does the high-tech industry. And to continue to maintain its status as the leading locomotive of the Israeli economy it will need to continue to grow and advance and add people from different fields and with diverse capabilities.
Leehee Yaron-Gerti is the Director of Marketing at CodeValue