Since the advent of technology in the 1400s, technology has evolved gradually, and the evolution of technology has become faster over the last couple of decades. Robots, self-driving vehicles, drones, social media, to mention a few have become flagship trends of technology over the last couple of decades. Tech professionals also understand the need to quickly evolve faster than ever to meet the tech industry’s needs.
Earlier in the year, we were hit by the pandemic COVID-19. The effects of the pandemic have only emphasized the need for organizations to quickly transform digitally if they want to survive in these uncertain times. In this article, we would be looking at some of the tech trends in 2020.
The excitement about Artificial Intelligence (AI) has not worn off in this new decade. The incentive for AI-driven innovation is only increasing all the more, as it has a tremendous impact on how we live, work, and play. In our day and age, machines are more than capable of thinking and learning, like we do.
The vast majority of computer systems have been built to mimic human intelligence to perform duties such as, but not limited to, recognition of images, speech, or patterns and have proven to be faster and more accurate than humans.
AI is rapidly changing our world, as research suggests that 80% of the American population use AI services in one capacity or another every day. The scope to which AI is used has increased and is entirely varied, including ride-sharing apps, navigation apps, smartphone personal assistants, and many other money-saving duties.
There is no argument that the impact AI and automation has is profound. However, experts believe that AI will displace millions of jobs by 2030. In light of this concern and fear, the shifts in technology can create more jobs than what had been initially eliminated. As humans, we would be required for testing, support, and programming, to name a few.
It is an application of AI often used in products and services, whereby computer algorithms improve automatically through experience. Within the field of machine learning, there are two main tasks: supervised and unsupervised. The former trains the machines by examples and exposes them to large amounts of labeled data. Whereas for the latter, the machine is unsupervised, working on its own to discover information.
Machine learning can be broken down into further subsets, including deep learning, neural networks, and natural language processing. While this subset of AI is not new, it has gained a lot of traction in recent years, as it has become the bedrock of the modern internet, and there is a use for it in almost every industry. The accuracy of machine learning in areas such as data analytics, pattern recognition, and on the consumer end, real-time ads, and web search results, to name a few, has been mind-blowing!
As the Machine learning industry emerges, research suggests that the market will rapidly grow to approximately $9 billion by 2022. The market is in huge demand for skilled professionals, with almost 2000 job listings posted on major recruitment platforms. There are some roles in this market, such as engineers, data scientists, developers, and researchers with a befitting salary. In 2017, the median salary for a machine learning engineer was $106,225.
Robotic Process Automation
Robotic Process Automation or RPA is taking automation to a whole new level. Who doesn’t love ‘robots’? We have gone from being enthusiastic about going paperless in our offices and now obsessed with software tools that partially or fully automate repetitive mundane human activities. RPA will not only mimic menial tasks, such as; dealing with data, processing transactions, or even copying and pasting data, but up to 45% of activities in various industries can be automated, including the work of a doctor, financial manager or a CEO.
RPA has largely redefined many industries in more ways than one: McKinsey’s research suggests that less than 5% of occupations can be fully automated, and 60% can be partially automated. It would be naive to think it wouldn’t have a negative impact, Forreter estimates that RPA automation serves as a threat to the livelihood of 230 million people or more as ‘robots’ take over.
However, despite the alteration to existing job positions, it is also creating new jobs and pushing more people into adopting skills relevant to the tech industry. RPA offers many career opportunities for IT professionals, including but not limited to, managers, developers, and these jobs pay extremely well!
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR completely replaces your vision to give you the sense that you are elsewhere, whereas Augment Reality (AR) really adds to it and allows you to see the real-life environment right in front of you; Pokemon GO is among the best-known examples. There are many successful companies in the VR market, such as Samsung and many more startups emerging. VR and AR have primarily been used in the gaming industry and now used in fashion, military, sport, and mental health, and therefore a demand for professionals with VR and AR skills is increasing. Fortunately for people that are interested in this field, VR doesn’t require a lot of specialized knowledge. All you need is basic computer programming skills and a proactive mindset to get hired for the job.
Cybersecurity has been around for a while, but hackers and other immoral characters are on a continual quest to fight to gain access to information they are not privy to for their own purpose. This has been going on for a long time and not going to end anytime soon. Therefore cybersecurity is an emerging technology as it constantly needs to evolve to be tighter and defend against the hackers.
As highlighted, the cybersecurity market is very much needed, and jobs in that field are growing faster than any other tech job. Although there are opportunities, the rate at which these positions are being filled is relatively low, and research predicts there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021.
Data breaches and hacks dominate headlines all the time, and it is only right that these in-demand professionals are paid well. Many cybersecurity jobs pay six figures incomes, and the roles range from analyst, security, and ethical hackers.
When you hear the term Blockchain, people tend to narrow it down to the cryptocurrency (Blockchain, Litecoin, e.t.c.) market, but Blockchain technology offers security in many other ways. Blockchain technology holds immutable data, which means it cannot be modified after it has been created, hence the word ‘chain’, because you are making a chain of data.
The immutability, transparency, and security makes Blockchain technology so attractive. Many industries are implementing the use of Blockchain technology as it allows for verification without depending on third parties. As the interest and use of this technology increases, so does the demand for skilled professionals. Research by Techcrunch.com notes that there are 14 job openings every month for every blockchain developer.
The annual salary of a Blockchain developer is $130,000, and it is an industry you can start learning in right now if you are intrigued.
Internet of things (IoT)
Internet of things is the ability to exchange data over a network without human interaction, as sensors have been added to different objects to add a level of digital intelligence. Many ‘things’ are now being built with WiFi connectivity—things such as cars and home appliances, where the data is exchanged. In truth, consumers are reaping the benefits of IoT, as we now have smart homes, where you can preheat the oven on your way home from work or switch off the lights even after you have left home. IoT application is not just limited to our homes but extends to our cars, health care, and many more markets. IoT can help save time, money, enable better safety, improve the decision making process, and much more than we can envisage.
The rise in IoT does not correlate with IT professionals specializing in this field. The lack of skilled professionals could potentially stagger the growth of this industry. ITProToday says there is a need for 200,000 more IT workers to keep up with the demand of IoT. The skills needed are many and varied, including data analytics, cloud computing, and automation to name a few.
In conclusion, 2020 has shown us how much we need technology to survive as a race, we have still not gotten to the peak of automation but we are definitely on the right track. With the right talent in the tech industry, a completely automated planet is not far away.