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On the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution
Digitisation is around the corner, stepping steadily into new areas of our life. Pretty much the same thing is going on in the world of industry. Since as early as the first industrial revolution, also known as the age of steam, humanity has striven to facilitate manufacturing processes by their automation, though carried out just in part at first. After the second industrial revolution (known as the age of electricity), and the third industrial revolution (believed to be the age of computers), the time has come for the fourth one, commonly dubbed Industry 4.0.
Its core is to be found in the blurred boundaries between the human being and the machine, which leads to complete automation and optimisation of processes, as well as the shortening of a product life cycle. The change is based chiefly on artificial intelligence, various achievements in robotics, and the use of big data, which boosts the demand for highly trained engineers in various sectors of the industry. The labour market is thus expected to witness more intense rivalry for best employees, and this trend will chiefly concern instrumentation and controls technicians, as well as industrial control systems designers.
The biggest benefits will be derived from cooperation between business and universities, as well as the dual education system, combining classic vocational education and apprenticeships in a company. This model has worked out fine, among others, in Germany, and it translates into far better opportunities for students opting for such educational path of finding a job in the future. Despite the common fear that automation will bring about the rise of unemployment, it is already clear to see that it will contribute to adding new jobs: several new positions are being created, such as big data analysts, or software developers specialising in developing artificial intelligence. Companies and institutions should get ready for a number of challenges which include, among others, the need to set the technical standards and norms, and safeguarding the premium quality of the data protection method, which, in turn, will increase the demand for information security officers.
Industry 4.0: the global trend is coming to Poland
Industry 4.0 is a trend that entails using the accomplishments of computerisation, automatic control engineering, and information and communication technologies (ICT) in production. These changes give rise to the demand for top-class specialists. Already strongly rooted in the West, this trend is also gaining momentum in Poland. There, automation and process optimisation can bring a lot of benefits to the automotive industry, where the demand for engineers is on the increase. Over the last couple of years, automotive companies have been opening state-of-the-art manufacturing plants, and it is indeed from the experiences gained by the automotive industry that other sectors can draw in full, e.g. industrial control engineering, packaging, and FMCG. As far as jobs are concerned, the ones most sought after in the labour market in the coming years will be project managers, engineers related to the supply chain and production, and those conversant with IT risk management – responsible for data security, which is, admittedly, a salient issue in the era of digital changes taking place in the market. Such experts can expect a salary range exceeding PLN 10,000. Having said that, Industry 4.0 is not simply about searching for specialists. It is also about developing the knowledge, skills and competences of those already in employment thanks to the various trainings offered. Cooperation with technical universities will also play a big role, as it will be aimed at identifying and selecting talented students, followed by offering them internships or apprenticeships that will help them to be better prepared to take up a job, having some practical experience on their shoulders.