What a title! The title, “Is there generational disparity in technology aptitude?” was prompted when I repeated a comment that someone thought people don’t know to hover for more information when they see a link and would need instructions. My millennial-aged client looked at me strangely and said, “it really depends who you are marketing to or trying to attract, everyone in my generation knows to click a link or hover for more information.”
We have reached a point where there are generational differences in technology aptitude. I don’t think they run across the board but I think the younger generations who inherited a world with computers and smartphones have a more robust technology aptitude than the Baby Boomer generation (mine) who were at first lucky to have a television. Some of my generation grew up with only black and white televisions.
My technology aptitude is very different than many those in my generation because I built a business around the use of technology. In addition, I love technology (except when it breaks) and tend to test out new technologies earlier than most people. In speaking with clients, I find that many of my 45+ clients struggle with the basics of technology and indicate that they are frustrated by some of the technological advances. Their technology aptitude is far below some of my younger clients.
The challenge of disparity in technology aptitude in the workplace
When your technology aptitude is less than others around you, it may affect your job and your ability to be hired. Increasingly, jobs are demanding some level of computer prowess and if you are not comfortable learning new technology or adapting to change, you may find yourself on the outside looking in. You will quickly find that even the process of job search itself requires a level of technology aptitude that wasn’t needed 10 or 15 years ago.
I don’t see technology going backwards in the future so those people who find themselves struggling with a lesser degree of technology aptitude will need to find ways to build those skills to stay current in the workplace.
Resources to improve your technology aptitude
If this describes you or someone you know, there are steps you can take to improve your technology aptitude:
- Hands-on learning. I speak with too many people who have had a computer or computers in their home for years but never bothered to learn how to use it. I learn best by doing. Turn on a program and experiment.
- If show and tell is your learning style, Youtube is an excellent place to start for tips on programs, software, or just getting to know your computer better.
- Take advantage of the generational disparity. Those young people know how to use computers. Ask for help. Most of the time, they will be honored to give you a hand. (Young people who are reading this, please offer to help someone at home or at work who is struggling to keep up with technology, they can teach you other things.)
- Take a class either online or from your neighborhood technical college. I offer this later in the list because I truly believe that you have to use what you learn. There is nothing wrong with taking a class but if you don’t use what you learn by practicing at home or at work, it won’t help you.
Don’t let your lack of technology aptitude hold you back, computers aren’t going away. By conquering your fears, you will be a better asset in the workplace and more marketable if you are the victim of right-sizing, downsizing, or restructuring.
Julie Walraven is a triple-certified resume writer whose interactive coaching style helps job seekers earn winning positions when she creates tactical resumes and LinkedIn profiles to market you for success. Learn more here.