They’re probably sipping coffee all the way across the world in a coffee shop, but they might just be your next IT hire or partner.
Everybody’s looking for new talent. But what they should be looking into is how to attract and engage the generation of talent, referred to as ‘The Digital Nomad.’
The new generation of workers is going to be the biggest generation of workers and they are nothing like Generation X before them. They are even further removed (both literally and figuratively) from the Baby Boomers before them. In fact, they not only work differently; they also think and learn differently and lead an entirely different lifestyle.
Who are the Digital Nomads?
Digital Nomads are mostly but not always from the Millennial generation.
Without getting into an already exhausted topic of the millennial worker’s profile, some characteristics are vital to mention and understand in order to attract and serve this important segment.
The truth is, it’s always a bit simplistic to talk about a generation as a whole, so let’s just say these are a few basic observations on this fascinating generation. In general, Millennial workers are:
- Community oriented
- Active on social media platforms
- Have short retention spans
- Show a need for constant feedback and assessment
However, there’s another quality to this generation, a phenomenon we just cannot ignore; a growing number of this generation are freelance workers. In fact, it is estimated that by 2020 an astounding 40% of the U.S. workforce will be contingent workers (Loehr, 2017).
Millennials vs. Digital Nomads?
You’ve probably seen them in the nearest coffee shop, on the airplane, at the beach, in Starbucks. Wikipedia defines Digital Nomads as people who use telecommunication technologies to earn a living. The only difference is, they can do it from Hawaii, Amsterdam or London because they don’t necessarily work in one place.
As freelancers adept at technology, Digital Nomads appreciate the freedom to move around, of not being tied to corporate offices and subject to long and grueling daily commutes. They enjoy the freedom to travel, to live in idyllic locations, or simple places where the cost of living is more affordable.
Digital Disruption and Technological Enablers
This turn of affairs isn’t exactly new; over the past two decades, entire industries relying on physical presence for their business have been disrupted by the digital technology to address the younger generation’s lifestyle and habits (Marcial, 2017). While the internet and laptops originally spurred on the trend, it is the cloud that is really making this lifestyle achievable for greater numbers.
And for software and networking providers, it is cloud-based virtual IT labs that enable organizations to embrace this valuable talent. Now, because you can easily replicate IT environments and share them in the cloud, your salespeople, trainers, and developers can be just as effective working from anywhere in the world, greatly expanding the pool of IT talent that you can leverage for the betterment of your organization.
And what’s it to you?
The IT skill shortage caused by retiring baby boomers and years of declining IT graduates is now the reason for a continuous growing demand for IT professionals – currently estimated at over 500,000 computer software developer job openings in the U.S. alone (Marcial, 2017).
Meanwhile, the millennial generation is the biggest talent pool around. They are about to become (if they’re not already) your employees, your trainers, your trainees, your customers, your sales reps, your developers, and your partners. Since Digital Nomads are a subset that has the IT talent organizations need, you need to attract and work with these Digital Nomads or you will be severely limiting your potential.
The sooner you understand what they’re looking for, what their desires and passions are, and what their expectations are from a workplace – the sooner you’ll be able to adopt the right technologies to employ and leverage the IT skills of Digital Nomads to benefit your organization.
So, how do you get the technically-skilled Digital Nomad to come work in your organization? And how do you enable them to do their jobs efficiently and effectively once already there?
You provide the tools that let them work from anywhere on their own terms by using cloud-based virtual IT labs. Whether you hire them as developers, trainers, or sales partners, cloud-based virtual IT labs provide Digital Nomads with:
- Access to virtual environments from any location
- Safe, hands-on experience with applications in real-world environments
- Unlimited ability to replicate the exact same environments
- Ability to work self-paced
- Ability to experiment and practice freely, without affecting production environments
- The ability to quickly revert to the previous state and start from scratch
- Social environments to share and collaborate with peers
- Easy one-click access via a browser and an internet connection, no special software plugins needed
- Cost control by automatically suspending or deleting inactive VMs
Virtual IT labs are crucial for engaging IT-savvy Digital Nomads today because they allow them to both avoid the corporate world’s stringent physical limitations and enjoy new flexible, virtual workflows. The virtual IT labs allow Digital Nomads to work in realistic, hands-on environments, particularly suited for developers, trainers and technical sales professionals, from any location.
But most importantly – with these virtual IT labs you can employ the best talent from anywhere in the world. All they need is a browser and an internet connection.
Now, if that’s not every Digital Nomad’s dream then I don’t know what is.
Loehr, A. (2017, November 3). Entrepreneurship: Where The Four Future Workforce Trends Intersect. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/entrepreneurship-where-four-future-workforce-trends-intersect-loehr/?trackingId=D9Q4Xu%2BwqaxUL5Vgh%2FXRjg%3D%3D
Marcial, E. (2017, November 7). The Disruption Of Higher Education And America’s New Manufacturing Industry – Part 1. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/gradsoflife/2017/11/07/the-disruption-of-higher-education-and-americas-new-manufacturing-industry-part-1/#20454db63b6c
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Digital Nomad. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_nomad