The New Worker

NOTE: I wrote this for a writing competition hosted by USI. It was originally posted June 2017 on this blog. I have left the content the same except removing one dead link.

I wanted to reshare this as more and more I see this article coming true. Are you a New Worker? Please share in the comments your experience with this “new breed.”


It is clear that a new type of developer has emerged, as described in Github’s Paul Saint John’s 2016 USI talk, but what truly inspired me is his hint that this new breed is also sprouting up in other domains. And that this rebirth was made possible thanks to the very platforms and applications created by the New Developer.

What is this New Developer… err…. Worker?

My view of the anatomy of the New Worker.

The New Worker thrives in a self-feeding cycle starting with a drive to innovate and differentiate, but no longer is this conception done in a vacuum. As Paul Saint John describes for the New Developer:

Learn > Code > Work Together (wash, rinse, and repeat)

Replace “code” with “create content” and you have the New Worker. Continuous learning and social collaboration is key to their success, often harnessing the power of the internet community. 

But where to find these creatures?

Here are just a few of the many examples of these New Workers outside of the development domain:

Science and Engineering

  1. Collective Intelligence initiatives are emerging in the sciences, such as Climate Colab which hosts contests in everything from land use to energy supply with the goal to “open up the elite conference rooms and meeting halls where climate strategies are developed today and allow anyone with a good idea to contribute.”
  2. An online forum of industry experts created to share trade secrets in order to innovate in renewable energy has enabled the founder Doug Coulter to advance towards creating a nuclear fusion reactor.

Medical Field

  1. While opening up clinical data so that the global community can work on it is still very taboo, there have been some initiatives which have already improved patient treatment. Such as a contest from the New England Journal of Medicine concerning blood pressure that was won by a team at Clalit Research Institute in Tel Aviv, Israel.
  2. Communities of medical professionals are forming for those who want to share their expertise, find fellow trailblazers and create partnerships to navigate a world bogged down by bureaucracy. One of these communities is Health Innovators, which has gained 1,600 members since its founding three years ago.

Arts, Animation and Video gaming

  1. Twitch, a platform for gamers to showoff their skills live (45 million visitors per month as of 2013), has now branched off into live streams for artists. Not only did this platform further legitimize the ‘professional’ gamer and gaming coaches and boost indie video game designers, but now it is allowing for artists to real time create, transparently demonstrate their skills, and garner new clients. 
  2. Two student animators got the attention and job offers from Disney and Pixar despite no professional experience due to their animated short The Present shared at festivals and on Vimeo.
  3. DOTA which started as an open free mod created by a fan for WarCraft III now has over 10 million players as of 2015. This first mod was improved by several community members before becoming a sponsored game.

As for a personal example, as an Agile and organizational coach, I am starting to see more and more Agilists open up their tools for free use and feedback, such as Ajiro and Funretrospectives.com. John Saint Paul’s USI talk inspired me to continue to push forward and give my knowledge openly, even enable others to do “my job,” (much like the new developer who creates applications for others to create applications) as I am certain it will only open new opportunities and promote innovations in my field.

One final correction

Photoshopped ;p Strike out code and enlarge it to content

So, I would suggest one minor change to John Saint Paul’s last slide, to expand it to fit the New Worker: 

Those who enable the creation of content, whether by contributing or creating the space to do so, have the power. Numbered are the days of silos and CVs because the worker of the future needs to be part of a community to ensure their success.

Much like the communities initially pioneered or literally constructed by the New Developer. 

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