Picture this in the past: A bustling factory filled with the humming of hundreds of workers, or an office echoing with the distinctive clack-clack of manual typewriters. Now, fast-forward to today. Robots working tirelessly around the clock have replaced those human-filled factories.
The typewriters? They’ve given way to sophisticated computer systems. The switchboard operator you’d call to get connected? Replaced by a voice-bot that’s ready to help at any hour. It’s a brave new world of automation out there with no industry left untouched by this magic.
The software development space isn’t immune to this transformation either; in fact, it’s the driving force. It’s why you need an online computer science degree to learn and thrive in this automation-driven landscape or develop software tools that automate tasks. Take Baylor University’s Master’s online computer science degree program, for example. It’s an advanced course that emphasizes the nuances of creating and maintaining high-quality software.
The program goes beyond theory; it empowers students with practical skills such as software architecture design, pattern specification, and enterprise Java programming. The program also delves into critical aspects like code analysis, security assessment, and testing, which are vital in building robust software in an automated world.
Table of Contents
How Automation is Changing The Way Humans Work
Automation has made operations more efficient, and the possibilities are limitless. Here are four ways this technological innovation has changed the contemporary workforce:
1. Improved Productivity
One of the prominent features of automation is executing repetitive tasks with unparalleled speed and precision. For example, data entry is time-consuming, and humans can be prone to making errors. However, tools like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are designed to handle such tasks through the use of robots or ‘bots.’ These systems emulate human actions, and they can navigate systems, enter data, perform checks, and even respond to simple queries like a human would.
Another impressive feature that enhances productivity is the fact that the RPA bot can work 24/7 without breaks, fatigue, or a drop in accuracy, unlike humans. This surge in productivity results in tasks taking less time to complete, and this encourages more efficient operations and faster turnaround times.
An additional benefit is that it lets businesses utilize people for more strategic, high-level tasks. Rather than spending hours working on repetitive tasks, employees can focus on tasks that require human skills, such as decision-making, problem-solving, and creative thinking. This allows businesses to make better use of human talent.
2. Reduced Human Error
The bane of any industry’s existence is the potential for human error. A misplaced digit, a forgotten process step, a mistyped keyword—these seemingly minor errors can translate into significant issues, sometimes with serious repercussions. Automation systems help avoid these because they’re programmed to follow protocols to the letter, with an accuracy rate that surpasses human capacity. This consistency helps ensure accuracy in operations that is hard to achieve with manual processes.
For example, in healthcare, automated drug-dispensing systems help avoid instances where a simple medication error imposes life-threatening consequences on the patients. These machines are programmed to dispense the correct medication and dosage per the doctor’s prescription. They double-check the medication against the patient’s medical record and ensure the right patient receives the right drug at the right time. This level of precision significantly reduces the risk of medication errors and enhances patient safety.
3. Enhanced Decision-making
Every business has insights to analyze from their customers’ data. These insights could include customer preferences, buying history, demographics, and other key details. The only challenge is that the volume of data generated today can be overwhelming, and manually analyzing it is practically impossible. This is where automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) helps.
AI and ML technologies handle large data sets and learn from them to identify patterns and make predictions without compromising speed. For example, the retail industry uses predictive analysis (AI and ML) to predict future outcomes based on historical data. This helps businesses analyze past sales data, customer buying behaviors, and market trends. They then use this information to anticipate future customer buying patterns, which helps them decide when to optimize their inventory. This also helps ensure they have the right products at the right time to reduce storage costs and prevent stockouts or overstocks.
Aside from this, these technologies provide real-time insights that can help businesses make quick, data-driven decisions. For instance, in the logistics industry, automated systems can analyze real-time traffic data to suggest the most efficient routes for delivery to help save time and fuel costs. All these empower businesses to make informed and strategic decisions to stay competitive and adapt to market dynamics.
4. Upgraded Skills and Roles
The rise of automation has sparked a debate about the future of work; many fear machines and algorithms will render their jobs obsolete. However, history shows that technological advances often lead to career evolution rather than a revolution, and automation is no exception.
As automation takes over repetitive tasks, it paves the way for new, tech-centric roles that machines cannot replicate. These include emotional intelligence, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Consider the rise of roles such as automation engineers, data analysts, or AI specialists.
These jobs didn’t exist a few decades ago but are now in high demand. They involve working with automated systems, designing and maintaining them, interpreting the data they generate, or integrating them into business operations. These roles require new skills, many of which are taught in programs like Baylor University’s Online Masters in Computer Science.
Therefore, as machines take over hectic and repetitive tasks, human roles are evolving to focus more on tasks that leverage human skills. For instance, while a chatbot can handle common queries in customer service, a human agent is more suitable for handling complex complaints or emotionally charged situations, where empathy, understanding, and nuanced communication are crucial. This shows that automation can help individuals tap into their innate abilities.
Automation offers more benefits to businesses today than ever before. It helps improve productivity by taking over repetitive tasks. At the same time, it assists in maximizing innate human creativity and propensity for emotional intelligence to handle tasks that machines cannot replace. Automation is a wise investment for companies today as it helps save on labor costs and prevent costly mistakes. As a result, automation unlocks new dimensions that remove bottlenecks in operations and enhance customer experience.