Business and Technology are inextricably linked such that one can hardly do so well without the other. Whether it’s setting up virtual workspaces where associates can share and advance ideas, or product quality improvement, technology has been the most useful tool in modern business operations.
Technology helps businesses maintain data flow, manage contacts, track processes as well as maintain staff records. With modern technology, businesses can now operate efficiently and effectively with minimal manpower.
On the overall, technology significantly reduces the cost of doing business. And that’s the more reason why every entrepreneur must keep track of all that’s happening in the world of technology.
As technology continually sets the pace, business strategies, education systems, and career paths must wheel along with it. This means that entrepreneurs (both aspiring and professional), job seekers and even IT experts, must keep up with the latest technological trends if they want to remain relevant.
Below, I have outlined some of the latest tech trends to watch out for in 2020, and the skills you need to build to position yourself to tap into the opportunities that will be created by these trends.
Artificial Intelligence AI
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has received a lot of hype over the past few years, but it remains a phenomenon to watch as its impacts on how we live, work and play are only in the early stages. However, other forms of AI have already been developed including Machine Learning, which I have written about in the next trend.
AI applies to computer systems that are programmed to mimic human intelligence and perform tasks such as image recognition, speech or patterns, and decision making. AI can perform these tasks more quickly and accurately than humans.
Every day, five out of six Americans use AI services in one way or another, including mobile apps, streaming services, personal smartphone assistants, ride-sharing apps, personal home assistants, and smart home devices.
In addition to personal use, AI is used industrially to schedule flights, assess business risks, predict maintenance, and increase energy efficiency. It is deployed to save costs, improve the quality of products and services, as well as to get tasks done expeditiously.
AI is one aspect of what we commonly call automation, and because of potential job losses, automation has become such a hot topic. Experts say that by 2030 automation would kill more than 73 million jobs.
Nonetheless, automation is creating more jobs as much as it is eliminating them, especially in the field of AI. Experts predict that the number of jobs in AI will grow up to 23 million by 2020. This includes careers in development, coding, testing, support, and maintenance, just to name a few. Another such job is the Artificial Intelligence architect. There are many claims that AI will soon rival data scientists in need of skilled professionals.
So, if you are looking to learn a new skill, consider learning something that relates to automation and AI. Who knows, we might have smart machines doing all the jobs in the near future.
Machine Learning ML
Gone are the days when computers were only inputted with information to process. Now, computers are being trained to think and make logical decisions on their own.
Machine Learning is a sub-set that has been carved out from AI. With machine learning, computers are trained to learn to do something they were not initially programmed to do. They learn by finding and analyzing data patterns and insights. There are two types of machine learning, the supervised ML and the unsupervised ML.
While Machine Learning is an AI sub-set, we also have Machine Learning sub-sets, which include neural networks, natural language processing (NLP) and deep learning. Each of these subsets offers an opportunity for specializing in a career field that is poised to grow even bigger.
Machine Learning is rapidly being deployed in all kinds of industries, and this is creating a huge demand for skilled professionals. It is expected that the market for machine learning will grow to $8.81 billion by 2022.
Machine Learning applications are used for data analytics, data mining and pattern recognition. On the consumer end, web search results, real-time ads, and network intrusion detection, to name just a few, are powered by Machine Learning.
Machine learning creates jobs in addition to accomplishing countless tasks on our behalf. ML jobs are among LinkedIn’s top emerging jobs, with nearly 2,000 job listings posted so far. Not to mention the fact that these jobs pay well: a machine learning engineer’s median salary in 2017 was $106,225.
Machine Learning jobs encompass engineering, web development, research, and data science.
Robotic Process Automation Technology RPA
Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is another software that automates work, alongside AI and Machine Learning. RPA is the use of technology to automate business processes such as program analysis, transaction processing, data processing, and even email response.
RPA automates the repetitive tasks that used to be done by people. And these are not just the low-paid menial tasks workers carry out. With RPA, it is possible to automate up to 45% of the jobs we do, including the work of financial managers, doctors, and CEOs.
Although Forrester Research reports that RPA automation will threaten the livelihood of about 230 million software employees, which represents 9% of the global workforce, RPA also has the potential to create millions of new jobs.
McKinsey reports that less than 5% of jobs can be fully automated, but some 60% can be partially automated.
Robotic Process Automation provides plenty of career opportunities for you as an IT professional looking forward to the future. In this field, professionals can work as designers, project managers, business analysts, design architects, and consultants.
More importantly, RPA jobs pay a fortune. SimplyHired.com says the average RPA salary is $73,861. But that’s just the norm for junior developers up to senior solution architects. The top ten percent of professionals in RPA earn as much as $141,000 a year.
So, if you’re interested in learning and pursuing a career in RPA, signing up for an introductory course on Robotic Process Automation (RPA) should be the next step you’ll take.
Edge Computing Technology
Only a few years ago, Cloud computing was an emerging technology to watch out for. But not anymore. Presently, Cloud Computing has grown to the mainstream with major players dominating the market, including AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
The adoption of Cloud computing continues to increase as more and more organizations look to the cloud solution. But, as the quantum of data gets bigger and bigger, the shortcomings of cloud computing have been laid bare. This has given rise to a more formidable technology “Edge Computing”, which is designed to help solve some of these shortcomings.
Edge computing creates a way to bypass the latency caused by cloud computing in getting data to a data center for processing. With this latest technology, data stays “on the edge” closer to where computing needs to occur. 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 such circumstances, Edge computing functions like mini data centers.
The use of edge computing is projected to rise steeply as the use of the Internet Of Things (IoT) devices increases. By 2022, it is expected that the global edge computing market worth would hit $6.72 billion. As with many emerging technologies, this will create millions of jobs, especially for software engineers.
Virtual Reality VR and Augmented Reality AR
Virtual Reality (VR) immerses the user in an environment while Augment Reality (AR) enhances the “user environment”.
While VR has been used primarily for gaming up to this moment, the technology has also been used for military drills as in VirtualShip, a simulation software used to train U.S. Captains of the Navy, Army, and Coast Guard.
Both VR and AR have great potential in training, entertainment, education, marketing, and even rehabilitation after severe mental stress or injury. This technology can also be used in medicine to prepare doctors for surgical operations, offer museum visitors a deeper experience, enhance theme parks, or even improve product marketing.
Although there are existing major players on the VR market, such as Google, Samsung, and Oculus, many smaller companies are constantly working on new products, which infers that the demand for VR and AR skills is poised to grow even bigger.
Becoming a VR professional does not require a lot of specialized knowledge. Basic programming skills and forward-thinking mentality can land you a job, although other employers will also be looking for optics as a skill set and hardware engineers as well.
Most people only think of blockchain technology in relation to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. However, blockchain provides security that is useful in many other ways. Blockchain can be represented in the simplest terms as “information that can only be added to, not removed or modified”. This is why the word “chain” is used because you are building an information string. The fact that these blocks can neither be edited nor modified is what makes this technology so secure.
Therefore, blockchains are powered by consensus, such that no party can take control of the data. By using blockchain to oversee and validate transactions, you don’t need a trusted third party.
Gradually, many companies are getting to understand the need to introduce blockchain in the management of their business. And as the use of blockchain technology grows, so also is the demand for qualified professionals. In that regard, we are a long way short.
Blockchain-related jobs are the second fastest-growing job category, with 14 job openings for each blockchain developer, according to Techcrunch.com. A blockchain developer specializes in the development and implementation of blockchain technology architecture and solutions. A blockchain developer’s average annual salary is $130,000.
If you are intrigued by Blockchain and its applications and want to make a career in this fast-growing industry, this is the right time to start learning and gear up for a promising future.
Internet Of Things (IoT)
The phrase Internet Of Things (IoT)was coined from how devices and “things” can be connected. In more elaborate terms, IoT is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
Most “things” (people, devices, machines, etc) built lately are being equipped with WiFi connectivity, meaning they can be connected to the Internet — and each other. The Internet of Things is the future and has already made it possible to connect and exchange data over the Web between computers, home appliances, vehicles and much more.
And we are only in the early stages of IoT. As of 2017, the number of IoT devices had reached 8.4 billion. It is projected that by the year 2020, the number of IoT devices would have surpassed 30 billion.
Businesses have much to gain with IoT now and in the near future. The IoT ensures better safety, efficiency, and decision making for businesses as data is collected and analyzed. With data from IoT, we can predict maintenance, speed up medical care, improve customer service, as well as many other benefits yet to be imagined.
On the consumer end, we are already using and benefiting from IoT devices. With IoT, we can now lock our doors remotely from anywhere, preheat our ovens on our way home from work, and keep track of our fitness on Fitbits.
Notwithstanding the development and adoption of IoT, experts say not enough IT professionals are getting trained for IoT jobs. In fact, pundits have opined that the shortage of skilled manpower has been the industry’s biggest obstacle to growth. But that’s good news for tech enthusiasts who are interested in kick-starting a career in IoT.
Some of the specific skill set areas in IoT include IoT security, cloud computing knowledge, data analytics, automation, understanding of embedded systems, device knowledge, to name only a few.