It may seem like every industry is already plugged into tech and professionals are working smoothly with digital workflows, the actual truth is that there are still technological bumps in the road. This may be due to the personal workflows of professionals themselves or the industry they’re in which may be slow to adopt more digital methods.
Regardless of the cause, technical expertise within an industry comes with learning. And most professionals are still learning their way around technology. So how are industries and professionals dealing with the digital shift that surrounds us? We take a look at three sectors.
Due Diligence With Digital Data Is A Must For Lawyers
Sifting through digital documents is at the top of the task list for any legal professional. For instance, learning to work with legal PDFs accounts for a good portion of the main digital tasks they can expect to face.
While there’s some opinion that having to be tech-savvy depends on the lawyer and whether or not they have an assistant to work with the legal paperwork instead, it’s important for lawyers to know how to navigate or become somewhat technologically competent to convert and handle PDFs.
As files and case evidence are going digital, lawyers gathering the material for the courtroom need to be aware of the ins and outs of the e-discovery process which includes collecting the evidence, safeguarding it and working with it properly. Not only that, but lawyers need to check to ensure that the information is accurate.
For example, lawyers will be performing legal research which, as it turns out, can be problematic. In a study, it was found that six major legal research platforms turned up different results for the same searches. If the search algorithms aren’t consistent, how can a lawyer determine if the research is incomplete or not? This highlights an important point in which legal professionals need to know the pitfalls of the technology they work with, which means also knowing its strengths.
The onus is ultimately on the lawyer. They have to be aware of how legal tools and service vendors work. Yet, this isn’t always the case as one lawyer’s e-discovery error proves when she inadvertently disclosed highly sensitive financial information while under order of a subpoena for a certain set of documents.
In the legal sector, it’s crucial to be on top of digital documents and the e-discovery process or they may face liability claims and lawsuits if mishandled.
Educators Are Learning As They Teach
Educators, on the other hand, have the burden of teaching with technology that they, themselves, are still learning to use. They’re teaching and integrating technology into a classroom that is vastly different than classrooms were just a decade ago.
When classrooms are populated with students who have been born into a world with technology, it’s impractical to teach them with old school methods and material. The current K-12 generation has grown up with a different learning style than that with which their educators grew up (or partially different, at least).
There was a time when PowerPoint presentations, Chromebooks, and Google search results didn’t exist. But now the gaps are being bridged. Students can take a more active role in their education over the web with tutorials, blog posts, videos, and webinars. Also, educators are turning to platforms like Google For Education, for example ,for training and educational tools needed to digitally streamline the curriculum as much as possible.
Whether it be to learn how to code, research online or develop their own app, kids are now reliant on technology to get a headstart. For educators, this forces them to focus on their ability to incorporate technology in education, to prepare students to interact and become a part of a high-tech future that will require a wide range of digital skill sets.
Data Extraction And Analysis Are Key For Investigative Reporters
And this need for digital skills as a standard is a growing necessity in data journalism, as well. To write a credible story, a journalist has little room for error. Journalists have to put accurate facts, numbers and statistics into context.
And the majority of this data is provided by governments and organizations that is often in PDF tables that have been scanned in. Data in this state is impossible to clean, analyze and refine for a story. But the relationship between the data and the story is the backbone behind the news we consume on a daily basis. How can they work with that data?
The data has to be extracted and then analyzed in tools like Excel or SQL which can help investigative reporters back up their stories and claims. Their ability to work with the data centers upon technical skills that include coding, data visualization and analysis, PDF conversion, database knowledge, and Excel.
In addition, the initial findings of the first Global Data Journalism survey, which is aimed at developing guidelines for the future of data journalism. Conducted across 43 countries with 181 participants, the survey sample showed that formal data training in newsrooms is lacking. It was shown that journalists did have degrees, but very little analytical (or at least, basic) skills.
Fortunately, university data journalism programs are widening the range of data analysis courses in their curriculum, which is helping budding reporters to better cope with the locked down data they receive.
Connecting people to their work is what technology is all about. It solves problems. It simplifies jobs. While every profession has different technological needs, one thing is true: technology is shaping both how those professionals work and how these industries develop.