Technology changes so fast that putting together an “industry trends” list can be a difficult thing to do. Every time we turn around (or scroll through our news feeds) something new and mind-blowing is announced in the world of IT. But at the start of a new year it’s only natural to look ahead and cast a few predictions about what’s in store, in this case not only to effectively take full advantage of new technology, but to consider how advances in IT will impact the landscape in terms of jobs as well. Savvy professionals know that staying relevant in the industry means staying on top of IT trends. And if you’re someone who is planning to work in IT, there’s no better time to starting training on emerging technologies.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
In the simplest terms, AI refers to technology that is designed to replicate the human brain, performing recognition and decision-making tasks that involve image identification and speech patterns. Whenever you use your thumbprint to unlock your phone or ask a virtual assistant like Alexa or Google a question, you’re interacting with a form of artificial intelligence.
AI is already used extensively in transportation, to assess business risks, improve energy efficiency, in smartphones and drones, for banking, in streaming services and video games – the list goes on and on, and future possibilities are truly endless. It’s estimated that AI will eliminate 73 million jobs by 2030, but the good news is, it’s creating lots of new jobs as well. Skilled AI architects will be in increasingly high demand in coming years.
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Security has never been more important in the world of IT than it is today, and developers are continually coming up with new safety measures for protecting sensitive data and personal identity. Multi-Factor Authentication (or MFA) is one of the latest methods devised to help put as many hurdles in place as possible between online users and private information.
Like the phrase implies, Multi-Factor Authentication requires multiple levels of identification before allowing users access to data. If you’ve received a code or password via text message in order to access an online account you’ve already been introduced to MFA. Apple’s Touch ID is another example of the technology. MFA is growing in popularity and use at a rapid rate because of its effectiveness at risk reduction, adaptability, and its ability to beef up security without compromising the user’s experience.
- Virtual and Augmented Reality
Major players in the realm of VR and AR (companies like Google, Samsung and Oculus) have been a driving force with these technologies and growth in related jobs, but as VR and AR become more widely applicable, start-up companies are creating more and more career opportunities in the field, as well as pushing its technological advancements forward.
While virtual reality places users in the middle of a virtual environment, augmented reality makes being in that environment a more realistic experience. The gaming world is very familiar with both of these forms of IT, but VR and AR are used extensively for military training, educationally (it’s used frequently for training surgeons), in the entertainment industry, for physical rehabilitation purposes and in interactive marketing, like this bus shelter in Moscow that promoted a TV show that’s Russia’s version of The Bachelor. Digital Signage Today
VR and AR are growth fields for employment. Monster.com reported that demand for VR and AR professionals is up 37% in recent years and on the rise. Good programming skills will likely land you a job, but graphic design abilities and engineering experience are assets as well.
The term blockchain typically brings to mind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but the technology behind cryptocurrency can be used in a lot of other useful ways.
Blockchains are basically online transaction ledgers. The brilliance of the technology behind blockchains is that it’s only possible to add on to the chain of information, not take away it. This makes blockchains extremely secure. Moreover, blockchains are consensus driven, as explained in this Forbes article, which means it’s impossible for any one person to take complete control of the chain.
Blockchain technology has many potential applications. Personal data relating to healthcare or banking, asset protection, improvements to the global supply chain – all these areas and many others pertaining to sensitive data could benefit from this kind of IT. According to TechCrunch.com jobs relating to blockchains is the second fastest growing category in IT. Major financial institutions, healthcare providers and global manufactures will undoubtedly be utilizing blockchain technology in coming years.
- Cyber Security
This field of IT will increase in demand because the threats to data security have massive financial and social consequences, and cyber terrorism tactics are constantly evolving. Hackers love the challenge of finding ways to break through the latest advancements in data security, so as soon as a new security measure has been breached, a newer, tougher one is needed. Hardware authentication, cloud technology, deep learning, data loss prevention, and behavioral analytics are all area were IT professionals will be in demand in coming years under the umbrella of cyber security. CSO reported that cyber security will have 3.5 million unfilled jobs as of 2021, and numbers indicate that threats to cyber security are outpacing qualified IT professionals in the field.
The nature of technology is that it advances. These are just a few areas of IT to watch this year, and great places to dive in if you’re looking for a stable and challenging career in the world of technology.
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