By Amirul Basharudin, MII e-Learning
Technology is now evolving at such a rapid pace that annual predictions of trends can seem out-of-date before they even go live as a published blog post or article. Technology-based careers don’t change at that same speed, but they do evolve, and the savvy IT professional recognizes that his or her role will not stay the same.
The IT workers of the 21st century will constantly be learning, more out of necessity to keep their jobs. Hence, each worker must be a step ahead of one another. Being a step ahead means staying current with technology trends. It also means keeping your eyes on the future, to know which skills you’ll need to know and what types of jobs you want to be qualified to do.
Here are eight technology trends you should watch for in 2019, and some of the jobs that will be created by these trends.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to computers systems built to mimic human intelligence and perform tasks that produces specific outcomes. AI has been around since 1956, so, it’s not something new. In today’s world, AI services include navigation apps, streaming services, smartphone personal assistants, ride-sharing apps, home personal assistants, and smart home devices. In addition to consumer use, AI is used to schedule trains, assess business risk, predict maintenance, and improve energy efficiency, among many other money-saving tasks. (Looks like some verbs are no longer attached to living things.)
AI is one part of what we refer to broadly as automation, and automation is a hot topic because of potential job loss. However, automation is creating jobs as well as eliminating them. Experts say automation will eliminate 73 million more jobs by 2030. Experts also predict that jobs in AI will number 23 million by 2020.
Most jobs in AI will be created in the areas of development, programming, testing, support and maintenance. Artificial Intelligence architect is one such job.
2. Machine Learning
Machine Learning is a subset of AI. With Machine Learning, computers are programmed to learn to do something they are not programmed to do: They literally learn by discovering patterns and insights from data.
We also have subsets within the domain of Machine Learning, including neural networks, natural language processing (NLP), and deep learning. Each of these subsets offers an opportunity for specializing in a career field that will only grow.
Machine Learning is rapidly being deployed in all kinds of industries, creating a huge demand for skilled professionals. Machine Learning applications are used for data analytics, data mining and pattern recognition. On the consumer end, Machine Learning powers web search results, real-time ads and network intrusion detection, to name few.
In addition to completing countless tasks on our behalf, Machine Learning is also generating jobs. Machine Learning jobs rank among the top emerging jobs on LinkedIn, with almost 2,000 job listings posted. And these jobs pay well! Machine Learning jobs include engineers, developers, researchers, and data scientists.
3. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) automates repetitive tasks that people used to do. RPA is the use of software to automate business processes such as interpreting applications, processing transactions, dealing with data, and even replying to emails. These are not just the menial tasks of a low-paid worker. Up to 45 percent of the activities we do can be automated, including the work of financial managers, doctors and CEOs.
Research estimates RPA automation will threaten the livelihood of 230 million or more knowledge workers, or approximately 9 percent of the global workforce, RPA is also creating new jobs while altering existing jobs. If one is an IT professional looking to the future and trying to understand technology trends, RPA offers plenty of career opportunities, including developer, project manager, business analyst, solution architect and consultant. And these jobs pay well too.
There’s been a lot of confusion when it comes to explaining what blockchain really is. In the simplest of terms, blockchain can be described as data you can only add to, not remove or change. Hence, the term “chain” because you’re making a chain of data. Not being able to change the previous blocks is what makes it so secure. In addition, blockchains are consensus-driven, so no one entity can take control of the data. With blockchain, you don’t need a trusted third-party to oversee or validate transactions.
This heightened security is why blockchain is used for cryptocurrency, and why it can play a significant role in protecting information such as personal medical data. Blockchain could be used to drastically improve the global supply chain, as well as protect assets such as art and antiques.
The demand for skilled professionals will increase as the use of blockchain technology increases. According to Techcrunch.com, blockchain-related jobs are the second-fastest growing category of jobs, with 14 job openings for every one blockchain developer. A blockchain developer specializes in developing and implementing architecture and solutions using blockchain technology.
The job of developer is not the only one available in the blockchain space. Employers are also looking for software engineers, consultants and project managers. Jobs are available at financial institutions, retail and healthcare, and soon manufacturing.
5. Edge Computing
Move over, cloud computing. Make way for the Edge.
Edge computing is designed to help solve some of those problems to bypass the latency caused by cloud computing and getting data to a datacentre for processing. It can exist “on the edge,” so to speak, closer to where computing needs to happen. For this reason, edge computing can be used to process time-sensitive data in remote locations with limited or no connectivity to a centralized location.
In those situations, edge computing can act like mini datacentres. Edge computing will increase as use the Internet of Things (IoT) devices increases. By 2022, the global edge computing market is expected to reach $6.72 billion.
As with any growing market, this will create job demand, primarily for software engineers.