Why AI Skills Will Set You Apart
Achieving Excellence

Why AI Skills Will Set You Apart

by Carla Dewing
Why AI Skills Will Set You Apart
  • AI Tools: The Missing Ingredient is You
  • Right Time Wrong Side: Your Own Kodak Moment
  • How to Go From 0 to AI Proficiency
  • The Best Time to Start? Now.

Are you on the right side of the AI Skills divide? Either you’re leading the way with AI in your company, or you’re lagging behind. You might even be one of the many who just doesn’t have the time for it right now.

Because when you work remotely in technology, it’s easy to become numb to disruption. Blockchain technology, then cryptocurrency, then NFTs, then augmented reality…it never ends. So, who’s going to blame you when you take a bit longer than normal to learn how to USE AI at work?

Yourself. Exactly 5 years from now.

Statista 2024 Expected Skill Shortage Due to Adoption of AI

And they’re not sure for the same reason you’ve been tinkering your way through the AI revolution. It’s too much, too fast and you’re only human. You have enough to do.

But you’ve framed this all wrong, and you’re ending up on the wrong side of a career-defining moment in history.

Studies have proven that tech executives and decision-makers are in a temporary limbo state with AI right now. They realize that they need a workforce that has the appropriate AI skills, but they’re not sure how to get it. The result is that workers who have AI aptitude are being promoted. 

  • 90% of executives say they don’t completely understand their teams AI skill proficiency
  • Even though 97% of executives are seeing benefits from deployed AI tech
Benefits of deployed AI tech by PluralInsights.

This is your moment.

In this article, I’m going to show you how you can lead your way through the AI skills gap, and benefit from the overwhelming change happening in tech right now.

AI Tools: The Missing Ingredient is You

AI tools are everywhere.

In the US right now, there are over 14,700 AI startups and hundreds of thousands of tools on the market. If you count AI assistants, they’re part of an ecosystem of over 8 billion mobile devices. The internet itself is being remade in AI’s image.

But these tools are still only as good as the people using them.

And not enough tech leaders are using them!

  • 72% of leaders believe that the AI skills gap needs to be addressed, urgently
  • McKinsey says AI’s potential is being stifled by lack of skilled talent 

Artificial intelligence can exist everywhere and serve no significant purpose without good people driving change. And here’s the kicker. There’s a life-changing opportunity you’re not seeing clearly. 

Tech companies are willing to fork over the highest salaries ever seen for leaders who have AI skills. This isn’t Dogecoin or an overpriced Bored Ape NFT. This is what you’ve been waiting for if you’ve been searching for a career accelerator.   

AI skills = Big money. 

This is because they realize leaders with AI skills can drive additional productivity through automation, and improve work quality overall. In some niches, salaries are being increased by 30-40% if you have the know-how to work with AI in your field. 

Last year we predicted that remote workers with high cognitive aptitude and AI skills would be the future creators of the business world. And it’s happening in real time! Only now AI tools have made it even easier for ANYONE to get ahead. 

You are the missing ingredient in the AI revolution, and sleeping on this opportunity will be the biggest mistake of your career.

Right Time Wrong Side: Your Own Kodak Moment 

‘That’s cute - but don’t tell anyone about it.’

These were the words spoken to Steve Sasson, the engineer at Kodak who created the first ever digital camera. In the years to come, the slow decline of Kodak’s film-based business model would become the stuff of legend.

Fuel for business cases on how to handle disruptive technology for the next 40 years. The lesson was clear: when staring innovation in the face, you better not underestimate it.

You’ve heard it all before. And you know what? It worked.

Companies in technology adopt disruptive innovations faster than any other niche.

It’s practically seared into tech culture.

But this ‘always disruptive, adoptive, innovative’ mantra has become deafening.

Especially for tech leaders who work remotely and aren’t as exposed to the office hype that could drive early adoption. Back then, people changed their own lives by seeing the potential in something others couldn’t see.

Take Lucien Samaha for example. Widely considered as the first ever digital photographer – he snapped a pic right outside Steve Sasson’s Kodak lab. The first ever digital photo. He was just a Marketing Manager at the time, but it changed his entire life.

Lucien Samaha the man who took the first digital photo.

He became a digital photography pioneer, and a world-famous artist. With over 70 photography books published, his images have been exhibited all over the globe.

Back then, it was the right time. Kodak chose the wrong path, but Lucien chose the right one. And it made his entire career. That’s where we are now as remote AI pioneers.

How to Go From 0 to AI Proficiency

So here’s how you’re going to stop what you’re doing and immediately take advantage of this moment in time to catapult your tech career into the heavens. 

1)    Make AI Your Highest Priority

AKA: A culture of AI learning

There’s no such thing as “I don’t have time to learn how to use AI.”

That’s the same as saying “I don’t have time to learn how to save myself time.”

The first step towards mastery, is realizing what is most important for your career and for your team, and actively prioritizing it (even if your boss hasn’t). This can manifest in a variety of ways for you – the important thing is that every day you learn something new about AI. 

  • Active Scheduling: When you don’t actively schedule your priorities, everything becomes an urgent task. Even small, insignificant things can take up more room on your schedule than they should. This means focusing less on urgency and more on real importance.
  • Drop the Reactive Mindset: Prioritizing what’s on your schedule is not the same as making time for your priorities. When you do it drastically reduces feelings of being overwhelmed and limits multi-tasking. You move from reactive work, to intentional work.   

Peter Drucker said, “Efficiency is doing things right – effectiveness is doing the right things.” 

So - while it’s essential that your current schedule is efficient, you need to add the effectiveness of AI aptitude to your repertoire. Anyone can do their job well, that’s easy. The hard part is anticipating what will help you do more than that, without much evidence yet.   

Especially if you’re not being trained by anyone, and have no mentors available in AI.

  • Daily AI learning (articles, courses, discussion, podcasts, video)
  • Collaborative learning about AI with your team (chat, email, texts, Slack)
  • Staying up-to-date on the latest AI tools, trends and applications of AI in your industry
Ai skills are essential for remote workers. Robot hand.

 2)    Move Beyond Theory and Explore AI 

AKA: A culture of AI practice 

Very few people in this world are AI experts – but many claim to be.

Autonomous learning gives you the foundation to get out there and start applying your knowledge. 

You may have permission to do it, you may not. Do it anyway. 

Moving beyond theory means signing up for paid AI accounts. It means designing processes or systems or pieces of content/code that are 100% untested and might immediately fail. 

It REALLY means working to prove the benefits of AI to your higher ups, by figuring out where AI makes an impact in your job. Then SHOWING them the results that you created. 

Neilsen Norman Group recently reported that they saw a 66% improvement in productivity across three different case studies when workers started using Generative AI.

You have to experience the tools to understand them. It will be messy. But in the exploration, you will find valuable insights that will change the way you work, forever. 

Lifehack: Find a job that will allow you to work with AI every day. Jobs like these.

3)    Pursue Full Competency 

AKA: a culture of AI competency

An authentic AI leader is someone who is actively pursuing AI proficiency in their industry.

Knowledge and skill application work hand-in-hand to develop competency.

Take a look at this AI Competency Venn Diagram

Ai Competency Venn Diagram.
  • Start with mindset – build knowledge: When you adopt the AI mindset shift, and build knowledge you develop the ability to apply strategic insight in your job. That means you’ll better understand AI technology and its impact, along with how to potentially apply it. With strategic insight you can start coming to terms with what AI means for your job. 
  • Knowledge growth – skill building: Improved AI knowledge means that you can begin to build your skills using various tools. With technical proficiency you’ll be able to expand practical abilities with AI, executing AI related-tasks with a high degree of accuracy. You can’t take full advantage of skill, if your knowledge is lacking. 
  • Skill expansion – mindset shifts: When your skills have grown it will lead you down different paths in how you think about and use AI. You’ll be able to use AI solutions creatively and effectively in a variety of ways. Innovative application means that tools will be used with measurable impact. 

To achieve full AI competency, you must have the right mindset, constant learning and skill growth.

The Best Time to Start? Now. 

Do you lead or do you lag? Be honest with yourself.

  •  Generative AI is replacing tech jobs at blinding speed (Read about it here)
  • Working and leading remotely is uniquely impacted by AI (because we all operate online)
  • AI will touch literally every platform you’re on (think about that for a hot second)

When your parents were young, few people knew how to cook delicious food, or take a good photograph. But today, these skills are common. 

So common that it’s almost unthinkable that someone could still not know the basics of cooking or photography – they’re so widespread.

That’s what AI will be.

A skill everyone has, that no-one really notices much anymore because it's so common. For now, in this brief window in tech history – you can be on the right side of the skills gap. You can be the remote leader who did the work and succeeded. You can be a Lucien Samaha.

And now you know how.  


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