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Random thoughts on how AI can impact career choices


By Jackie Luo, TCV Growth Partner -


Over the July 4th weekend, I was talking to my children about how Artificial Intelligence is reshaping the future and how they would plan their careers in the dawn of the AI era. Both my daughters are Gen Zs, one having just graduated from college and the other entering her sophomore year in college They are familiar with ChatGPT and have used it for learning purposes. In our conversations, we went through many professions, analyzing how AI could impact the demand and salaries for these jobs. The purpose of these discussions was to make sure they are strategic in choosing their careers and jobs. Moreover, I want them to think about how to stay competitive in the age of AI.


First, we agreed that “language translators” jobs might face some existential crisis. For some time, my children have been using Google translators to communicate with their grandparents, who only speak and write in Chinese. When they were younger, I tried to enroll them in Chinese schools, but they refused to spend the time learning a very difficult language. Now it seems that technology has helped to make up for their deficiency in Chinese language, at least to some small degree. So, would generative AI further fill their language gaps? Would AI help them to speak and write Chinese fluently? We don’t know, although it seems that AI has taken that capability to an extreme level of competency. A friend of mine, who has a PhD in engineering, told me that he has used ChatGPT to translate a science journal article and the translation is of superb quality, down to unique scientific terms or phrases. He used to pay for the translations; now, he doesn’t anymore. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time learning new languages: English, French and Japanese. Although I didn’t pursue a career as a language translator, many people in my generation did, and made a very good living. When I was in college, I made some spending money by being a translator, and knew that if everything else failed, I could perhaps make a living doing that. Now, I wonder if the ability to speak multiple languages can still serve as a fallback career choice. Learning multiple languages is still a worthy and fun intellectual pursuit, but my daughters and I agreed that investing in that as a career path may not be a wise decision.


Second, we discussed how AI is impacting “computer programmer” jobs. Since the 1980s, knowing how to code has been a highly desirable skill to have to earn a living, and often you can earn a very good living, I might say. Today, many parents send their young children to coding boot camps, trying to give them a head start. While I firmly believe coding is an important skill, just like how I was trying to learn multiple languages many years ago, I question whether that will provide job security. Artificial intelligence has made code development much more automated and efficient. Many software programs, supported by AI, can design, write, and test codes, much faster and more accurate than most human programmers. More and more enterprise software products are low-code applications, which require little coding skills to use and customize. With these advanced technologies, the desired skills for “computer programmers” may be different. My older daughter just graduated from college with a computer science degree. Fortunately, she is already thinking ahead. That’s why she has taken a job as a systems analyst, which allows her to focus on business problems and translate these into technical requirements. Can AI do the job of a systems analyst superbly one day? We don’t know, yet. But now, she is ahead of the game.


After that, our discussion went further. Because generative AI is highly analytical and self-learning, it is very good at synthesizing complex and voluminous information, often faster than human brains. Could AI impact the professions that rely on rendering synthesized information, such as dietitians, psychologists, business plan writers? Yes, for sure. But will AI eliminate the need for these professions? Highly unlikely. So how could these professions offer unique and differentiated services, to compete with ChatGPT? That comes down to the question of how a professional can build world class expertise and service offerings, so their skills and insights are always in demand. That question was valid yesterday, today, and tomorrow, whether we have Artificial Intelligence or not.


After all these discussions, it seems like we are back to this basic strategy in building a career: honing your expertise and offering differentiated services. So ChatGPT, remind me, what questions are we trying to answer?


Jackie is a founding partner at TCV Growth Partners. She is a business strategy expert and much more. Her passion is helping business owners quickly get to the next level as she has done with her most recent business before joining the TCV team. Reach out to Jackie if you would like to start a dialog - Jackie@TCV-Growth.Partners

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