Technology is evolving at a rapid rate that annual trend forecasts can seem out of date even before being published in a blog post or article.
As technology evolves, it allows for even faster changes and advancements, causing the rate of change to accelerate, until it ultimately becomes exponential.
Tech careers don’t change at the same rate but evolve, and the IT expert confirms that their role will not be the same. And the 21st-century computer scientist will always learn (by need, if not by desire).
What does this mean to you? It means keeping up with new technology trends. And that means following the future, knowing what skills you need to know and what jobs you want to qualify for.
Here are the top new technology trends to watch out for in 2021 and some of the jobs that will create those trends.
Table of Contents
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Machine Learning
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
- Edge Computing
- Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
- Internet of Things (IoT)
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence or AI has already gained a lot of attention in recent years, but it’s still a trend to watch as its effects on the way we live, work, and play are only at an early stage.
Artificial intelligence refers to computer systems created to mimic human intelligence and perform tasks such as recognizing images, speech or patterns, and making decisions. AI can perform all of these tasks faster and more accurately than humans.
Five in six Americans use AI services in one way or another every day, including navigation apps, streaming services, personal assistants on smartphones, car apps, and smart home devices.
Besides consumer use, artificial intelligence is used to assess business risks, anticipate maintenance, and improve energy efficiency, among other money-saving tasks.
AI is part of what we commonly call automation, and automation is a hot topic due to possible job loss. Experts say automation will lead to 73 million job losses by 2030. However, automation will create jobs, especially in AI: Experts predict AI jobs will be 23 million by 2020.
Jobs are created in development, programming, testing, support, and maintenance, to name a few. An artificial intelligence architect is one of those jobs.
Some say they will soon be confronting data scientists who need expert experts. To learn more about possible AI jobs, read about AI career development or why you should get an AI certification.
Machine learning is a subcategory of AI. With machine learning coming into place, computer systems are programmed to learn to do what they are not programmed to do – they learn by discovering patterns and ideas from data. Generally, we have two types of learning – supervised and unsupervised.
While machine learning is a subcategory of artificial intelligence, we also have subsets within machine learning, which include Neural Networks, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Deep Learning. Each of these sub-groups offers the possibility of specializing in a professional field that has not yet evolved.
Machine learning is rapidly being applied in all industries, creating a high demand for skilled professionals. The machine learning market is assumed to reach $8.81 billion by 2022.
Machine learning applications are being used for data analysis, data mining, and pattern recognition. On the consumer side, Machine Learning provides web search results, real-time advertising, and network intrusion detection, just to name a few of its several tasks.
In addition to performing countless tasks on our behalf, you also create jobs. Machine Learning Jobs are one of the hottest new jobs on LinkedIn, with nearly 2,000 jobs posted.
And those jobs are paying off: In 2017, the average salary for a machine learning engineer was $106,225. Machine learning jobs include engineers, programmers, researchers, and data scientists.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Just like artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotic process automation, or RPA, is another technology that automates work.
RPA makes use of software to automate business processes such as application interpretation, transaction processing, data management, and even email response. RPA automates repetitive tasks performed by users.
It’s not just the household chores of low-wage workers: up to 45% of the activities we do can be automated, which includes the work of CFOs, doctors, and CEOs.
While Forrester Research estimates that automating RPA will endanger the lives of 230 million or more knowledge workers or roughly 9% of the global workforce, RPA is also creating new jobs while modifying existing jobs.
McKinsey finds that less than 5% of professions can be fully automated, but around 60% can be partially automated.
As a promising IT professional trying to understand technological trends, RPA offers you several career opportunities, including programmer, project manager, business analyst, solution architect, and consultant, which are well-paying jobs.
Therefore, if you are interested in learning and pursuing a career in RPA, the Introductory Robotic Process Automation course should be the next step to start a career in RPA.
Cloud computing became mainstream as the market was dominated by major players such as AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
The adoption of cloud computing has continually grown as more and more businesses turn to the cloud solution. But this is no longer a new technology.
As the amount of data we process continues to increase, we have realized the shortcomings of cloud computing in certain situations. Edge computing is being designed to help solve some of these issues to avoid cloud-based latency and get data to the data center for processing.
Therefore, Edge Computing can be used to process time-sensitive data in remote locations with limited or no connection to a centralized location. In these situations, edge computing can act as a mini data center.
Edge computing will increase as usage of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices increases. Research states that by 2022, the global edge computing market is expected to reach $6.72 billion. In any growing market, it will create a variety of jobs, primarily for software engineers.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) immerses users in the environment while Augmented Reality (AR) improves their surroundings. While virtual reality has so far been primarily used for games, it is also used for training, as is VirtualShip, simulation software used to train captains of the United States Navy, Army, and coast guard ship captains. The popular Pok?mon Go is an example of AR.
VR and AR have enormous potential for training, entertainment, education, marketing, and even rehabilitation after injury. Everything can be used to train doctors to perform surgeries, give museum visitors a more in-depth experience, improve theme parks, and improve commerce, as is the case with the Pepsi Max bus.
There are major players in the virtual reality market, such as Google, Samsung, and Oculus. Still, many new businesses are being created and hired, and the demand for professionals with virtual and reality skills will increase.
It doesn’t take too much specialist knowledge to get started in virtual reality. Basic programming skills and a progressive mindset can get the job done, although other employers see optics as a skill set, but also as hardware engineers.
Cybersecurity may not seem like an emerging technology, given that it has been around for a while. Still, it evolves like other technologies, and this is because the threats are constantly new.
Malicious hackers who attempt to have access to data illegally will not give up soon and will continue to decipher ways to bypass the strictest security measures. This is partly because new technologies are adapting to improve safety.
As long as there are hackers, we will have cybersecurity as an emerging technology, as it will continuously evolve to defend against these hackers. Proof of the great need for cybersecurity professionals, the number of cybersecurity jobs is growing three times faster than other tech jobs.
However, there is a shortfall of expertise when it comes to filling these jobs. As a result, we expect to have 20 million unfinished cybersecurity activities by 2021.
Many cybersecurity jobs pay six-figure salaries, and their roles can range from an ethical hacker to an insurance engineer to a security manager, providing a promising professional career for someone who wants to enter and stay in the domain.
Although a lot of people think of blockchain technology in relation to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, blockchain also offers security that is effective in many other ways. Simply put, a blockchain can be described as data that you cannot add, delete, or change.
Hence the term “chain” because you are creating a data chain. The inability to modify the previous blocks makes it so safe. Additionally, blockchains are consensus-based, so no single entity can take control of the data.
With blockchain, you don’t need a trusted third party to monitor or verify transactions. Various industries involve and implement blockchain, and as the use of blockchain technology increases, so does the demand for skilled professionals.
In this sense, we are already lagging. According to research, blockchain jobs are the second fastest-growing job category, with 14 job postings for each developer. The blockchain programmer specializes in the development and implementation of architecture and solutions using blockchain technology.
The average annual salary of a developer for a blockchain is $130,000. If you are captivated by blockchain and its applications and want a career in this rapidly growing industry, now is a good time to learn blockchain and prepare for an exciting future.
Internet of Things (IoT)
A lot of “stuff” is now being built over a WiFi connection, which means it can connect to the internet. Hence the Internet of Things or the IoT.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the real deal and has enabled devices, appliances, cars, and more to connect and share data across the internet. And we are only at the start of the IoT phase – the number of IoT devices that reached is 8.4 billion in 2017 is expected to reach 30 billion devices by 2020.
As consumers, we already are using and benefiting from IoT. We can close doors remotely if we forget when we go out to work and warm our ovens on our way when coming back from work, and as long as we monitor our readiness in our Fitbits and travel with Lyft.
But businesses also have something to gain now and in the near future. The IoT can improve the security, efficiency, and decision-making of businesses when data is collected and analyzed. It can provide predictive maintenance, accelerate healthcare, improve customer service, and deliver benefits we never imagined.
However, despite this blessing in the development and adoption of IoT, experts claim that IT professionals are under-trained in IoT jobs. An article indicates that we will need 200,000 additional IT professionals who are not yet in place, and a survey of engineers found that 25.7% believe that inadequate levels of expertise are the biggest obstacle to the industry development.
For someone who has an interest in a career in IoT, this means easy access to the field if you are motivated, with a variety of options.
Skills required include IoT security, knowledge of cloud computing, data analysis, automation, understanding of embedded systems, knowledge of devices, to name a few. After all, it is the Internet of Things, and there are many and various elements.
While technologies evolve and evolve around us, these top new technology trends offer promising professional potential now and for the foreseeable future. And these new technology trends suffer from a shortage of skilled workers, which means now is an excellent time to select, train and participate in the early stages of technology, which will enable you to be successful in the tech sphere.