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Teching Care of The Planet: How Tech Skills Can Promote a Greener Earth

General Assembly
May 16, 2023

Technology plays a crucial role in cultivating a greener earth by enabling the development of innovative solutions for environmental challenges. Some of these technological advancements include renewable energy sources, energy-efficient devices, green transportation, and sustainable agriculture practices. 

Over the last few years, we’ve seen how the demand for green or sustainable tech jobs has increased. According to a report by LinkedIn, there has been a 191% increase in the number of sustainability jobs posted on the platform since 2016. Additionally, the report found that sustainability jobs are not limited to specific industries and are found across a range of sectors, including technology, finance, and energy.

In this blog, we will look at how technology is leading innovation for a better and greener environment, identify some of the most popular tech jobs in sustainability, and what digital skills you need to acquire to combat environmental challenges in your career. 

The importance of tech innovation on the planet

By harnessing the power of technology, we can take steps to reduce our impact on the environment and build a more sustainable future. Technology will continue to play a critical role in promoting a greener planet in the future. 

One of the most significant trends in this area is the development and deployment of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable energy sources are set to account for 90% of the world’s electricity growth by 2025, with solar leading the way as the cheapest form of new electricity in most countries.

AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning are another two prominent technologies that will become more widely used in the sustainability sector. For example, researchers at MIT have developed an AI system that can predict the amount of energy a building will use based on factors like weather, occupancy patterns, and energy efficiency measures.

Without a doubt, technology will continue to drive progress towards a greener planet. As part of our commitment to sustainability and DEI, GA offers courses and programs that focus on sustainable technology. Through these courses, we hope to support the growth of green and sustainable tech jobs by equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in these fields. 

Additionally, our DEI initiative seeks to create better socioeconomic conditions and promote equity, which can help build the next generation of innovators and social impact leaders who are dedicated to creating sustainable, equitable, and clean communities. By fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are creating a pipeline of talented individuals who are equipped to tackle the complex challenges of building a more sustainable future.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top three jobs with promising careers in sustainability and the digital skills you need to acquire to address environmental challenges. 

The intersection of tech and sustainability: top 3 jobs and the digital skills you need

The tech industry is continuously evolving, and with it, the demand for skilled professionals in various fields is on the rise. Among the most prominent jobs are UX Design, Coding, and Data Analysis. With the growth of technology and the increasing demand for innovation, these job roles are expected to remain in high demand in the future. 

Let’s take a look at each job in more detail in the context of sustainability and the necessary digital skills you need to break into each role. 

  1. The role of UX Design in environmental sustainability

Sustainable products and services are those that are designed to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Here are three ways in which UX design can help in creating sustainable products and services. 

  • Reducing waste: UX designers can help reduce waste by designing products and services that are easy to use and maintain. For example, by designing products that are easy to repair, users are more likely to fix them instead of throwing them away. This reduces waste and helps create a more sustainable product.
  • Encouraging sustainable behavior: UX designers can encourage sustainable behavior by designing products and services that make it easy for users to make sustainable choices. By creating energy-efficient products or services, users can save energy and reduce their environmental impact.
  • Promoting sustainable values: UX designers can promote sustainable values by creating products and services that align with the values of users. UX designers can do this by creating products made from sustainable materials, and therefore promote the value of sustainability and encourage users to make more sustainable choices.

Top 5 digital skills to acquire: 

  • User research: User research is the process of understanding user needs, preferences, and behaviors. As a UX designer, you need to have strong skills in conducting user research to gain insights into user needs and to create products that meet those needs.
  • Information architecture: Information architecture is the process of organizing information in a way that is easy to understand and navigate. As a UX designer, you need to have skills in information architecture to create intuitive and user-friendly interfaces.
  • Interaction design: Interaction design is the process of designing the way users interact with digital products. As a UX designer, you need to have skills in interaction design to create interfaces that are easy to use and that guide users through the product in a seamless and intuitive way.
  • Visual design: Visual design is the process of creating visual elements that communicate the purpose and function of a product. As a UX designer, you need to have skills in visual design to create designs that are aesthetically pleasing and that communicate the product’s purpose and function clearly.
  • Prototyping: Prototyping is the process of creating a working model of a digital product. As a UX designer, you need to have skills in prototyping to create functional prototypes that can be tested and iterated upon to create a final product that meets user needs.
  1. Coding for a cleaner earth

Coding and programming can play a crucial role in developing solutions to environmental challenges. Here are the three ways in which coding and programming can help. 

  • Developing environmental monitoring systems: Coding and programming can be used to develop systems that monitor environmental parameters such as air quality, water quality, and temperature. This data can be used to identify areas of concern, track trends, and develop strategies to mitigate environmental risks.
  • Developing sustainable energy solutions: Coding and programming can be used to develop and optimize renewable energy systems such as solar panels and wind turbines. This can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decrease reliance on non-renewable energy sources.
  • Developing environmental modeling and simulation tools: Coding and programming can be used to develop models and simulations that help predict the impact of environmental changes and inform decision-making. For example, these tools can be used to model the impact of climate change on ecosystems, water resources, and human populations.

Top 5 digital skills to acquire: 

  • Proficiency in programming languages: As a coder/programmer, you should be proficient in at least one programming language such as Python, Java, C++, or JavaScript. A programming language is a set of instructions that the computer understands, and proficiency in a programming language allows you to write, test, and debug code.
  • Problem-solving skills: As a coder/programmer, you should be able to identify and solve complex problems. This involves breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable tasks and using logical thinking to solve them.
  • Familiarity with software development tools: Coder/programmers should be familiar with software development tools such as integrated development environments (IDEs), text editors, version control systems (such as Git), and testing frameworks. These tools help to streamline the development process and ensure that the code is efficient, reliable, and secure.
  • Understanding of algorithms and data structures: Coder/programmers should have an understanding of algorithms and data structures. Having a good understanding of algorithms and data structures allows coders/programmers to write more efficient and effective code. Algorithms are step-by-step instructions for solving a problem, while data structures are the way in which data is stored and organized. 
  • Strong communication skills: Coders/programmers need to work collaboratively with other team members, such as designers, project managers, and quality assurance engineers. Strong communication skills are essential. This includes the ability to clearly articulate technical concepts, ask for and give feedback, and work collaboratively to solve problems.
  1. The power of data in climate change

Here are the top three ways in which data science can play a crucial role in monitoring and predicting environmental changes and natural disasters. 

  • Predictive modeling: Data science can be used to develop predictive models that can forecast the occurrence and severity of natural disasters. For example, machine learning algorithms can be used to analyze historical weather patterns and identify the conditions that are likely to lead to hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods. This can help authorities issue timely warnings and take preventive measures to reduce the impact of natural disasters.
  • Risk assessment: Data science can be used to assess the risk of natural disasters in different regions based on factors such as population density, proximity to water bodies, and topography. Machine learning algorithms can be used to analyze geospatial data and identify areas that are more vulnerable to natural disasters. This can help authorities develop strategies to mitigate the impact of natural disasters and improve disaster response.
  • Emergency response: Data science can be used to analyze real-time data during natural disasters, such as social media feeds, emergency calls, and satellite images. Machine learning algorithms can be used to identify the most affected areas and prioritize emergency response efforts. This can help authorities allocate resources more efficiently and save lives.

Top 5 digital skills to acquire: 

  • Programming skills: Data scientists need to have strong programming skills in languages such as Python, R, or SQL. They should be able to write efficient and optimized code to manipulate, analyze, and visualize data.
  • Machine learning algorithms: Data scientists should be familiar with various machine learning algorithms such as linear regression, decision trees, and neural networks. They should have an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each algorithm and be able to select the appropriate algorithm for a given problem.
  • Data visualization: Data scientists should be able to visualize and communicate complex data to non-technical stakeholders. They should be proficient in data visualization tools such as Tableau or ggplot in R and be able to create compelling visualizations that help to tell a story.
  • Statistical analysis: Data scientists should have a good understanding of statistical analysis techniques such as hypothesis testing, regression analysis, and time-series analysis. They should be able to apply statistical analysis techniques to draw meaningful insights from data.
  • Data wrangling: Data scientists should be able to collect, clean, and preprocess data. This includes tasks such as data cleaning, data transformation, and data integration. They should be able to work with large datasets and manipulate data using tools such as Pandas, NumPy, or dplyr.

Tech skills for a greener good with General Assembly

Using tech skills for a career in environmental sustainability can be an incredibly fulfilling and meaningful path. By applying tech skills to address environmental challenges, you have the opportunity to make a tangible impact on the planet and contribute to a more sustainable future. 

At General Assembly, we offer several courses and programs that can help individuals acquire digital skills to address environmental challenges. If you visit our website, you can discover a range of courses from Data Analytics, User Experience Design (UX), Programming, Digital Marketing, Web Development, and Product Management. As companies increasingly prioritize sustainability, there is a growing demand for tech professionals with expertise in environmental sustainability. A career in environmental sustainability can provide both personal and professional fulfillment while making a positive impact on the world.

If you’re thinking about a tech career in environmental sustainability, download our career changers checklist for a clean transition.

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