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People are usually bad at predicting the future because everyone thinks the future will resemble the past and they have totally different perspectives of the past based on their own experiences.

Statistics genius Nate Silver recently told a story that offers us an insight into why we need to be aware of our viewpoint looking toward the future of our career path.

Radar technology was in its infancy in the 1940s. Navy planes circled the Hawaiian Islands, searching for threats by sending planes that would fly around the islands until they were low on fuel. The Japanese military knew exactly how large that circumference was, so it sent its aircraft carriers just beyond the range that the U.S. reconnaissance planes could fly so a surprise attack would be easy.

The point is that our viewpoint usually just gives us a fraction of the whole picture. There are important developments and technology that are just outside your viewpoint that, if we knew about them, they would totally change how we view the world and future employment opportunities.

Another factor is your personal history, which is heavily influenced by your own experiences. But just like the Navy aircraft, your own experiences are only a partial view of the world, altered by when you were born and your past, the equivalent of the reconnaissance planes with a limited fuel range.

Dr. Morris Massey a Sociologist, and a former professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder produced a 70’s video titled “What You Are Is Where You Were When”. An updated version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZFLiQ8XkBE captures the essence of “viewpoint” not just related to what we believe, but also how it can affect how you develop your future employability.

The lesson here is that we need to continually and consciously update our viewpoint.

That’s why I have always believed that (1) Who You Hang Around With and (2) What You Read, are the 2 Key Factors In Determining Your Future.

Consider these ideas to ensure your viewpoint enhances your future success:

  1. Set aside an hour a week to browse the magazine section of your local library. Pick a magazine that piques your interest and look for insights that can offer you a new perspective related to a future career.
  1. Go to http://www.stumbleupon.com, select topics of interest and then let the site algorithms bring you to related websites with just the click of a button.
  1. Use a Twitter Keyword Tracker http://bit.ly/1oHmDaw to find articles and links to topics that will lead you to alternative career perspectives.

In computer technology, the acronym WYSIWYG translates to “What You See Is What You Get”.

Make it a habit to change what you see by taking a different route to work, rearranging your office furniture or maybe going to http://www.meetup.com to discover new friends who can offer you a new perspective on what you believe and how you think.

The world of work is changing fast. It’s time to update the software of your thinking and embrace the exciting opportunities that await you.

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Everyone knows that the riskiest financial strategy is to have all of your money in one stock. Yet for most working people, they have all of their income dependent on one company.

Think about it. If you lose your income, almost everything else in your life will be affected. Why then should you entrust your financial security to one company or one career.

In this new employment market, you need a career that includes diversified sources of income along with one that includes a residual income component. Consider these options:

  • An eBay business where you can sell an on-line product that adds extra part-time income.
  • A part-time job where you teach a night class.
  • Work weekends doing a job that offers a secondary cash flow that can teach you new skills.
  • Write a book where you can earn residual income – you do the work once but keep earning money over time.
  • Set up affiliate marketing links on a Blog to earn referral income automatically.


Now more than ever, the Internet offers most of these options for little, if any investment, other than your time.

Think of your career as an income portfolio instead of tasks that you do.
Track the results you get for your effort and focus on what earns you the best return for your time.

1. Focus on Cash Flow – Careers today are moving away from the traditional 40-hour work week to more self-directed opportunities for generating income. The jobs of the future are becoming project based and tied to multiple employers who need your services periodically.

2. Know Your Rate of Return – There are often different ways to achieve the same career goal. Some ways may take less time but produce the same result. Calculate your rate/hour and try to maximize what you earn for what you do. If your earn 100K but have to work 70 hours per week you’re only earning $27.47 / hour. Use your time more effectively and you could work less and earn more per hour.

3. Manage Risk  Find a mix of income opportunities that align with your talents to minimize risk and the stress of trying to start something outside your area of expertise.  Think of ways your income sources can complement each other.

4. Invest in Yourself – For most people, training stops when they graduate from school. Invest in yourself by setting aside time and money to use for continuing education to stay current in your field and learn new things that may make you more valuable.

5. You Can’t Manage It if You Can’t Measure It – Many people actively manage how they choose their career and a company, but passively manage how they will develop their career. Too often they wait for a layoff or job dissatisfaction to motivate them to start a new career track. Periodically evaluate what results you are getting tied to what you are doing. Set up a simple spreadsheet and “know your numbers”. Then decide how you can improve your results.

A money market investment typically protects investment principal while providing a modest return.

Think of your career development like a money market. It’s careful balancing of investment risk to reward where time is your investment and multiple income streams are your reward.

CEO-of-Life

For most of us, when we graduate from high school or college, we assume it’s time to go out and get a job.
But like many things the masses do, it doesn’t mean it’s the best option, particularly in today’s employment market. In fact, getting “a job” may NOT be your best option

1. Having  A “Job” Is Essentially Trading Your Time For Money

Because you only get paid when you’re working, you are essentially “renting” yourself and trading income for time.  The key is to separate your value from your time by either adding a way to increase your income with an added commission or some payment based on results not just time.

2. Limited Experience

A job only gives you experience at that job. You might think it’s important to get a job to gain experience.  But if your skills ever become obsolete, then your experience won’t be worth much.  Ask yourself, “What will the experience you’re gaining right now be worth in 5 years?”  Will your job or skills even exist or be in demand?

3. Employment Security

Many employees believe getting a job is the safest and most secure way to support themselves. Look at the increasing number of layoffs and contractors in the workforce along with the amount of work being outsourced to other countries.  Does having only one source of income truly give you employment security? Could your job be digitally outsourced to the Internet (consider on-line university classes and buying books from Amazon instead of a local bookstore).

4. The Value of Relationships

Many people find that their jobs are their primary social outlet.  They hang out with the same people working in the same field. Yet relationships are the key to get a job and increase your value to others in the business world. In today’s world, it’s what you know AND who you know that counts.

5. Getting  A “Job” Versus Doing A Job

Realize that you want to earn income by providing value — not just offering your time.
You can apply this concept working with an employer or by starting your own business in addition to working for a company.  The key is to find a way to have multiple streams of income along with one that offers residual income.

Stop looking for a job and focus on providing valuable services. Employers and customers will be calling YOU for work.

Now more than ever, understand that YOU are the CEO of your life!

Robot Fast Food Worker

As a former Boy Scout working on my marksmanship merit badge, I learned that when you want to hit a moving target you have to anticipate where the target will be and then take your shot before the target is in front of you. Today’s job market requires the same mind-set; anticipating where jobs will come from and then positioning yourself to meet the qualifications.

The best example of this strategy can be found in automation as it relates to robots, a rapidly evolving trend in manufacturing, medicine, food service and knowledge-based jobs. Many people continue to look for jobs similar to what they had, however the real opportunities will come from preparing yourself for where new jobs will evolve.

Years ago, 70 percent of U.S. workers lived on farms. Today automation has eliminated 98% percent of their jobs, replacing them with machines. Farmers became web developers, factory production workers and software engineers taking jobs that evolved from work eliminated by automation. This transition to automation is already happening with machines that utilize mass produced sensors, artificial cognition, machine learning and algorithms that anticipate preferences and suggest options.

As manufacturing costs are reduced because of robots, the cost of transportation will become a more important factor than the cost of production, making localized production the next trend in product manufacturing and delivery. Take a look around you and you will see that automation is already shaping a radically new job market.

Consider Kiva. They make robots that scoot around warehouse floors and pick up items from shelves to help fulfill customer orders. Amazon is already a customer, along with Staples, The Gap and Crate and Barrel. Some bots can lift 170 pounds retrieve boxes, sort them, and load them onto trucks. Pharmacies are also using pill-dispensing robots to fill prescriptions.  Narrative Science sells software that writes stories about sports events just using game statistics and other applications that can generate a synopsis of a company’s stock performance from related text found on the web. Even surgery is becoming increasingly robotic. In 2008, NYU became the first medical center in New York to use the Da Vinci Si, the world’s most advanced computer-assisted surgical system. Even a non-technical job as a Bartender may be changing. Bartendo is a lightweight and portable machine that can make a perfect drink in 10 seconds and serve 200 drinks in an evening. You can even view reports on a tablet or smart phone of the drinks made and the quantities of ingredients used.

As software makes automation a common reality, many professions will evolve that will open up a strong demand for people who can design, program and work with robots. If this industry interests you, now is the time to explore this market if you want to make yourself more marketable and get a lead on your competition.

Automation is just one of many professions that are evolving as fresh alternatives to re-inventing yourself to be more marketable and offer career-broadening options. Take the time to explore evolving technologies that interest you and then build a bridge to architect a job that will be in demand and offer you new challenges. If you’re a teacher, considering expanding your expertise in on-line learning. If you’re a desktop computer support specialist, look into becoming an expert on mobile phone apps or focus on cloud computing.

The bottom line is: Go after what you WANT, don’t just look for what’s AVAILABLE.

Have a “target career” and then develop yourself to be remarkable in that profession.

Most investors will tell you that anticipating opportunity in the stock market will make you the most money. Invest in your career by looking for opportunities not just jobs.

Get motivated in less than 2 minutes. Watch this video: The Start-Up of YOU: Rediscovering the Entrepreneurial Spirit in All of Us and start today to architect a lifestyle to DO WORK THAT MATTERS!

In our day-to-day pursuit of a great career, a balanced life and yes, even a great lunch, we have so many options.

But if you take a close look, even with all these options, there’s something special that brings people into their “favorite place”. It’s usually not the price or just the quality of the food – it’s the “culture” or the RELATIONSHIP the customer has with the food brand or its employees.

Consider Jack in the Box, with 2,200 locations in 18 states, just one of over 50,000 fast food restaurants in the US. It’s “Munchie Mobile”, a 34-foot long truck is inspired by 1970s van art. On the outside is a menu displayed on a flat-screen TV, while the inside is equipped with a grill, fryer and toaster.  The “cool factor” of this showing up at an event is amazing.

If you study the “Jack” branded spokesperson, you get the feeling that he’s connected to you as part of your family. The TV ads, the napkins and even the cups have messages that are endearing.  Think Southwest airlines. Jack in the Box and Southwest are in different businesses, yet both focus on building strong relationships with their customers.

Periodically, I stop by a local Jack in the Box in San Diego just to experience the “brand”.  Almost every time I stop in, I’m greeted by Nancy. I never have to ask for my extreme sausage sandwich without cheese. She just confirms my preference and makes me feel like I’m a VIP customer. Her attitude always comes with a genuine smile and a “how’s your day going comment” that makes me feel that my business is truly appreciated.  Stop and watch her for 5 minutes, and you’ll see her dedication to delivering the food fast and always with a genuine attitude of “we appreciate your business”.

Price and product are secondary to what is a great employee-customer relationship.

Now more than ever, truly remarkable companies and people are focused on building great relationships.

Anyone that has ever run a restaurant knows that, it’s not the new customers that keep you in business, it’s the RETURN VISITS from EXISTING customers.  In a global employment market, price, availability and quality are important, but true greatness comes from building great relationships.

A few years ago, I flew to London on Virgin Atlantic and arrived in England late due to delays at the departure gate.  As I walked off the plane, I was handed a letter auto-signed by Richard Branson that apologized for the delay and offered me 10% off on my next flight – a $90-$150 gift.  Six months later, I was in Australia on a Virgin Atlantic flight. I never checked competitive airfares.

If you want to get inspired by seeing the amazing power of relationships, watch The Pixar Story, a documentary of the history of Pixar Animation Studios. Pixar is the studio that produced Toy Story, an animated movie that earned $361 million worldwide.  It’s available on Netflix – here’s a preview – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU1fVeYzYlI.

Today with all the social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook, it’s easy to collect “contacts”. But to truly be successful in business and in our personal life, it’s the power of relationships that can take us from good to great.

We are all in the “people business”.  Nancy at Jack in the Box is an expert. Her remembering that I like my extreme sausage sandwich without cheese, highlights the secret to winning in business today. 

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Many of my clients report that they have applied to job postings that are a perfect match to their qualifications but never hear anything from a potential employer. Perhaps it’s a fake job posting. Why would a job board allow ‘fake’ job postings?

1. Thousands of jobs are posted on sites each week. The job board can’t tell fakes from real jobs. The only requirement is that someone pays for the listings.

2. Employers and Recruiters use these listings to gather resumes for future needs. If they buy 30 job postings, but only use 20 and the unused postings expire in 30 days, they run some fake listings to collect resumes for future hiring?

3. Non staffing companies post fake jobs to collect names for on-line solicitation calls and sales leads to sell to other companies.

4. Some recruiters make a fake employer site including a corporate logo that redirects resumes directly to the recruiter to get candidates before the employer sees them and the recruiter loses a commission.

5. If someone has already been chosen for a job, the employer wants to appear to be offering the opportunity to everyone who is qualified.

6. Staffing firms want to appear to be “the connection” for jobs – more job postings equal more interested candidates.

7. Large firms sometimes post 700+ openings but many of them are actually “wish lists” for “potential” jobs IF a contract is awarded.

8. Recruiters want to get your resume and send it to an employer without a job requirement thinking that they will get a commission if a match is made tied to a typical 1 year” finder’s fee” contract provision.

9. In extreme cases, identify thieves post fake jobs looking for resumes where people list their social security number or they get applicants to disclose this confidential data over the phone as part of “verbal application”.

For the most part, most postings are real but it’s important to know that some are not what they seem to be. The lesson here is: Be selective in who you apply to and don’t rely on postings as the foundation for your job searchFocus on building relationships where you are dealing with real people instead of digital strangers.

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A 2013 Mindset to Get “Back In the Game”

In the spirit of the New Year, consider creating a “2013 employment mindset” that anticipates disruption yet maintains a core focus of what you are as a personal brand. Volatility and disruption are the new normal.

The secret to your future economic survival is to develop a product or services infrastructure that is simple, deliverable from any location and involves multiple income streams. In simple terms, you need to focus on enhancing your adaptability and deemphasize sustainability. You’re better off adapting to the changing job market than trying to rebuild what worked for you in the past.  Being safe is risky. Take time now to reinvent how you can deliver a service or product to multiple employers (customers).

When J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, addressed the graduating class of Harvard in June 2012, she didn’t focus on success. Instead, she spoke about failure. She once was an unemployed single mother and almost homeless. She bounced back by focusing on her core skills and then delivered them to a mass market by using a synergistic relationship with a publisher becoming the 1st person in the world to earn over $1 billion as an author. So how can you “bounce back” and architect the lifestyle you want?

  1. Create Multiple Income Streams

    You have to develop several sources of income to ensure your economic stability. It can be as simple as buying items from yard sales and selling them for a profit on Amazon or eBay. Relying on an employer as your sole source of income is no longer an option for most people. The point is you don’t have to be primarily self-employed. You just need to think of ways to earn income from more than one source. The free digital tools available today can get you up and running in a week!

  2. Figure Out What Distinguishes You From Others As Your Own Personal Brand

    As New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote, “In the U.S., “average is over.” Becoming remarkable in whatever you offer is the key to surviving in the new economy. Most people are used to being a laborer. You need to become an entrepreneur even if it’s nothing more than a small business you do part time.

  3. Become A Lifelong Student

    Staying relevant by learning new skills and directing your own continuing education is the secret to making you valuable. The learning curve for most jobs is flat within 12 months. For as little as $25, http://www.lynda.com you can take on-line training classes that can change your skills in less than 30 days!

  4. Find a Mentor and Build a Relationships with Them

    Aside from the people who you are already associated with, get in the habit of using social networking sites to reach out to respected industry leaders, experts, and authors. Figure out ways to support them in their goals. Do free work for them or promote them on your blog or social networks in exchange for their mentorship. You’ve got to give to get. The more you help others the more they will be willing to help you.

  5. Stay Future-Focused

    What you focus on expands almost magically, so focus on what you want each day. The secret to success is that you become what you think about most often.  Architect the lifestyle you want. Take the time to draft a plan of the life you want and the steps to get there. Focus on where you want to be and before you know it, the “new you” will appear. Don’t worry about each step along the way. Solve problems as they appear. Change your focus to being solution versus problem oriented and your goals will become a bridge to where you want to be.

  6. Tap Your Network“Your Network Is Your Net Worth” is particularly relevant when it comes to finding what you want by word of mouth. Reach out to people you know and enlist their support in making any introductions or connections that could help you. A person with 170 connections on LinkedIn is at the center of a network of 2 million people just 3 degrees away! You can reach those 2nd and 3rd degree connections just by asking for an introduction.

Think you’re not smart enough or don’t have the time to do something great. Consider this story.  A simple but hugely addictive video game is taking the world by storm. Bubble Ball™ is a physics-based puzzle game that has been downloaded as an app by 2 million iPhone users. It became the top free application in the Apple store.

It wasn’t designed by a team of highly paid experts; it’s the work of a 14-year-old boy in 8th grade. Robert Nay’s game even outsold the adventure game Angry Birds. He designed Bubble Ball in his bedroom in his spare time. Angry Birds was developed by 17 professional game designers in Finland. He tried Objective-C programming tools, but found the software a bit difficult, so switched to GameSalad, which he didn’t like. Then he tried Corona Tools that let him write and publish his game for both Apple and Android devices. Robert released Bubble Ball™ through his own company, Nay Games.

The Internet offers you the tools and the distribution network to change your life! Focus less on THE world and more on YOUR World.

Average is over. Become remarkable as a personal brand. Start small but think big. Make the New Year your New Life!

In 2010, China became the world’s 2nd largest economy and it’s expected to surpass the U.S. in the next 4 years. This economic data may appear to be related to differences in population size, but a closer look at the data underscores a shift in the types of economies in each country.

Labor statistics and small business revenue sources indicate that the current U.S. job market has transitioned from a manufacturing economy to primarily a service and knowledge economy while China is starting to evolve into a service economy. Fast forwarding to the next 3 years, it seems apparent that the U.S. is going to change to a “knowledge-based economy” (KBE).

What are the implications of these economic changes and the changing global workforce?

In a knowledge economy, knowledge is a PRODUCT. In a knowledge-based economy, knowledge is a TOOL. The transition to this new U.S. economy requires that, the employability mindset that determined success in the past, needs to evolve into specialized expertise that’s delivered to customers beyond a local job market.

Today, becoming a freelance knowledge-based business consultant can be set up with relatively low capital and anywhere you can get Internet access. With 2 billion people using smart phones globally, knowledge or specialized products can now come from anywhere. Consider the iPhone 4. It has $171 worth of parts which are assembled in China. Only $6 worth of parts are sourced in China. The rest are imported from Japan, Germany and $10 worth of parts come from the U.S.

Think about this. Knowledge is no longer merely an enabler; it has become a business’s competitive edge. Products and services with a higher knowledge quotient command higher prices in the marketplace and can be distributed digitally for almost zero cost! In a knowledge-based economy, the primary competition between companies is not competition based on price, but competition to innovate first.  Innovation that came from the iPod made traditional music stores obsolete and Netflix streaming video killed the Blockbuster store business.

McDonald’s is a great example of a seemingly non-technical food service business that has evolved to include a knowledge-based revenue source. Its proprietary knowledge is its marketing expertise and its ability to manage franchising operations so that every McDonald’s globally offers identical standards of cleanliness and food preparation. McDonald’s and other global chains essentially wiped out other privately owned hamburger places because they made themselves attractive to consumers who wanted a quick, predicable and commonly recognizable meal at a low price. In the same way, professors with unique knowledge no longer confine their teaching to localized classrooms.  They commonly earn a higher return on their knowledge by reaching out to global audiences with teleconferencing, Internet-courses, and international book distribution on Amazon.

The era of the Knowledge-Based Economy is here. Your employment security is destined to be directly correlated to how you can market yourself as talent beyond a commutable distance from your home. Perhaps the ecology slogan Think Globally Act Locally needs to be your new employability mindset.

In today’s business world, starting your own business or building your own brand can be challenging. Most solopreneurs (solo-entrepreneurs) find that the most difficult thing is getting customers. Sales and marketing takes time and money and without investing in promoting your product or services, the growth of your business may take years to generate significant profits. Consider an often overlooked secret to making your personal brand a success. It’s the “The Remora Mindset”.

The concept of affiliated marketing, pop-up stores and synergetic relationships are a lot like the Remora, a tiny fish that has a modified organ with slat-like structures that open and close to create suction and take a firm hold against the skin of larger marine animals. The remora benefits by using the host as transport and protection and feeds on food dropped by the host. In exchange, the remora cleans bacteria and parasites from its connected partner. This mutually beneficial relationship allows the remora to avoid the struggles that most fish deal with on a daily basis involving looking for food and avoiding predators.  Just as a remora partners with a larger host for mutual benefits, consider partnering with a complementary host to accelerate the growth or profitability of your business or to promote your personal brand.

Here’s an example of using the power of a strategic partnership to enhance your business opportunities. Abrakadoodle is a company that offers creative art classes for children in schools, day care centers, and community programs. In 2011, they were listed by the Annual Franchise 500 as one of the Top Franchises by Entrepreneur Magazine. To expand their product offerings, they established a strategic alliance with Binney and Smith, known for its Crayola brand art products.

Abrakadoodle was looking for products of high quality that would be safe for children and that would be available nationally, so all locations could use the same materials in their classes. When they started franchising, they realized that the number of Crayola products used in Abrakadoodle classes would grow enormously. After months of negotiation, an agreement was reached between the two companies. Crayola products would be featured exclusively in Abrakadoodle classes and Abrakadoodle would be allowed to use the Crayola trademark for advertising purposes in exchange for discounts on Crayola products. Both companies benefited from their shared vision of encouraging children’s artistic creativity.

What can you do to partner with another person or business to create a win-win situation that can help you get where you want to be in a shorter time? What products or services offered by a non-competitor can complement what you offer?

Synergistic relationships may be the secret ingredient you need to compress time frames in developing your personal brand and allow you to see success much quicker than if you hope for results tied to your just own dedicated effort.

An inspirational book by Price Pritchett, You2: A High Velocity Formula for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps, is my favorite quick read book that underscores the message that working harder is not necessarily the best solution to achieve success.

Change your thoughts to change your world and discover how “The Remora Mindset” may be just what you need to go from invisible to REMARKABLE!

As digital technology plays a more central role in daily life, the movement to make code literacy a basic part of education and ultimately a commonly used tool in business is gaining momentum. What if we were to expand our notion of literacy to encompass not only human language but also computer language? Could a widespread ability to read and write code come to be as normal in the workplace as the ability to speak and write a language?

Instagram‘s CEO, Kevin Systrom, has recently evolved as one of the greatest Silicon Valley success stories. Unlike Mark Zuckerberg, the man responsible for acquiring the popular photo sharing app for $1 billion, Systrom received no formal engineering training. Systrom is a self-taught programmer. While working in the marketing department at Nextstop, which Facebook acquired in 2010, he spent his evenings learning to program.

Think about the future world of work. The potential for innovation would be many times greater if every student had a firm grasp of programming concepts and how to apply them. Look at the new innovations of the past 10 years, and you can see that coding is destined to become a new form of widespread literacy as the world of work is becoming focused on a digital capacity to deliver products and services. Those who don’t know how to code may end up being in the same position as those who can’t read or write.

The code literacy movement began in 2011, when CodeAcademy (http://www.codecademy.com) started teaching basic programming skills for free. A no-cost, on-line capability to learn code may very well be the catalyst to give future job searchers a new skill set to differentiate themselves from their peers.

Just as a child tends to learn multiple languages easier than an adult, coding may very well become a fundamental skills set and a prerequisite to being functional in the business world. Watch a 5 old child play with an iPhone and you’ll see them intuitively using interaction patterns that adults often have trouble with, even when they’re computer-literate. Kids can easily memorize huge quantities of facts about complex abstract systems, so it stands to reason that they have the potential to learn how to code.

However, the human capacity to learn is not what will determine the future of coding literacy in the work place. If coding becomes necessary to interact with a computer and deliver a product or service, then you will likely learn to code. It is no different than if you were dropped off in Thailand without a translator. Out of necessity, you’d learn the local language.

Success going forward in the employment marketplace will be primarily determined by your marketability and remarkability. With the job market evolving like a fast moving target, your employability will be closely linked to how you can stand out among your competitors, deliver relevant skills and how well you anticipate what will be in demand.

Kevin Systrom graduated in 2006 from Stanford University with a B.S. in Management and cofounded Instagram in 2010. Today at age 28 he’s worth an estimated $400 million. Perhaps being bi-lingual in speaking and coding will offer you a competitive edge and a reputation as a strategic thinker with life skills that will ensure your long-term employment security in a digital world.

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