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Four Questions with Donna Svei: Challenging Automation


We recently published the best New Year’s resolutions to make this year for your career. We had so much great advice from industry experts and wanted to follow up and get more information on trends and actionable plans. You have your goals, but how do you keep them top of mind and follow through? This series will expand on the advice from thought leaders and give you specific tasks to achieve your career goals.

avid careerist automationavid careerist automation

avid careerist automation


Donna Svei, the AvidCareerist, teaches us how to beat the robots in a career world dominated by automation. She is a career, resume, and LinkedIn expert.


1. Many companies are looking to automate anything and everything. Are there any truly “safe” career paths?
Safe Route 1: Be able to create/deliver products and services beyond the scope of computers' abilities.

Safe Route 2: Avoid developing skills that will be deployed in repetitive ways. Ask yourself, "Could I write an algorithm or train a monkey to do this?” If your answer is yes, then that skill has an automation target painted on it.

Safe Route 3: Learn to work with the computer. Make it your new colleague.

Here's an example:
Companies increasingly use automation to collect raw data about their customers. You don't want to be the data collector.

Beyond that, algorithms can shape data into specified reports. You don't want to be the person churning out reports.

Someone takes the reports and integrates and synthesizes them, recognizes patterns, and develops insights and actionable ideas to better serve their company's customers. You want to be that person, the one who uses the outputs of automation to move their company forward.  

2. How will automation affect the way current, and future, students look at education?
Everyone, not just students, need to accept that to maintain relevant skills, they will have to be lifelong learners. When you're done learning, you will be done earning.

There's also resounding data that people must get education beyond high school to stay employed and earn a middle-class or upper-middle-class income.

3. You mention the site: Will Your Job Be Done by a Machine? If there is a likelihood of a career becoming automated, how can (if at all) an experienced employee secure their job from automation?
Governments might intervene and slow automation down (this is already being discussed), but the smart money’s on re-skilling or learning to work with automation in your current job.


Be the early automation adopter and expert among your colleagues. Those reports that I mentioned above—someone will still have to design them, but the company won't need anyone to prepare them after they're designed. Be the designer, not the preparer.

4. What are some of your favorite online (or offline) training courses for anyone looking to make a career change?
If you have a target job, reach out and ask the people doing it where to get the best training.


While we might not be able to stop automation, we can be constantly learning and embracing the advancements. Instead of letting automation overcome you, run the race with it and deliver win after win!

Last Updated: February 28, 2017
About the author

Cally Martin

Callan is a social media loving, blog writing, event planning freelancer who believes in the power of the oxford comma. Originally from America’s high-five (Michigan), she’s been in Austin since 2015 and doesn’t plan on moving anytime soon. When not attached to WiFi, she can be found running around the lake or drinking mimosas at brunch.