As technology evolves, it enables even faster change and progress, causing an acceleration of the rate of change, until eventually it will become exponential. And an IT worker of the 21st century will constantly be learning (out of necessity if not desire).
What does this mean for you? It means staying current with technology trends. And it means keeping your eyes on the future, to know which skills you'll need to know. Here are eight technology trends you should watch for in 2020.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has already received a lot of buzz in recent years, but it continues to be a trend to watch because its effects on how we live, work and play are only in the early stages. In addition, other branches of AI have developed, including Machine Learning, which we will go into below. AI refers to computers systems built to mimic human intelligence and perform tasks such as recognition of images, speech or patterns and decision making. AI can do these tasks faster and more accurately than humans.
Four out of six companies uses AI services in one form or another every day, including 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.
2. Machine Learning (ML)
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 learn by discovering patterns and insights from data. In general, we have two types of learning, supervised and unsupervised.
While Machine Learning is a subset of AI, 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.
3. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Like AI and Machine Learning, Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is another technology that is automating jobs. RPA is the use of software to automate business processes such as interpreting applications, processing transactions, dealing with data, and even replying to emails. RPA automates repetitive tasks that people used to do.
4. Edge Computing
Formerly a technology trend to watch, cloud computing has become mainstream, with major players AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud dominating the market. The adoption of cloud computing is still growing, as more and more businesses migrate to a cloud solution. But it's no longer the emerging technology.
As the quantity of data we're dealing with continues to increase, we've realized the shortcomings of cloud computing in some situations. Edge computing is designed to help solve some of those problems as a way to bypass the latency caused by cloud computing and getting data to a datacenter for processing. It can exist "on the edge," if you get 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 datacenters. Edge computing will increase as use of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
5. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) immerses the user in an environment while Augment Reality (AR) enhances their environment.Both VR and AR have enormous potential in training, entertainment, education, marketing, and even hospitalsbefore / after an injury. Either could be used to train doctors to do surgery, offer museum goers a deeper experience, enhance theme parks, or even enhance marketing.
There are major players in the VR market but plenty of startups are forming and they will be hiring, and the demand for professionals with VR and AR skills will only increase.
Although most people think of blockchain technology in relation to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, blockchain offers security that is useful in many other ways. In the simplest of terms, blockchain can be described as data you can only add to, not take away from 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. Several industries are involving and implementing blockchain.
7. Internet of Things (IoT)
Many "things" are now being built with WiFi connectivity, meaning they can be connected to the Internetand to each other. Hence, the Internet of Things, or IoT. The Internet of Things is the future and has already enabled devices, home appliances, cars and much more to be connected to and exchange data over the Internet. And we're only in the beginning stages of IoT: the number of IoT devices reached 8.4 billion in 2017 is expected to reach 30 billion devices by 2020.
As consumers, we're already using and benefitting from IoT. We can lock our doors remotely if we forget to when we leave for work and preheat our ovens on our way home from work, all while tracking our fitness on our Fitbits. But businesses also have much to gain now and in the near future. The IoT can enable better safety, efficiency and decision making for businesses as data is collected and analyzed. It can enable predictive maintenance, speed up medical care, improve customer service, and offer benefits we haven’t even imagined yet.
Cybersecurity might not seem like emerging technology, given that it has been around for a while, but it is evolving just as other technologies are. That's in part because threats are constantly new. The malevolent hackers who are trying to illegally access data are not going to give up any time soon, and they will continue to find ways to get through even the toughest security measures. It's also in part because new technology is being adapted to enhance security. As long as we have hackers, we will have cyber security as an emerging technology because it will constantly evolve to defend against those hackers.
So, What's Next?
Although technologies are emerging and evolving all around us, we need to cope up with these advance technologies by getting trained and qualified for these 8 emerging technologies.