Way back in ancient tech history, 2010 to be exact, life for IT professionals was primitive. Scrums were mostly on rugby fields. Blockchain was barely out of diapers: in March of that year, a bitcoin could be bought – wait for it – one penny apiece.
Growth hackers weren’t a thing. App developers for 3G mobile were. Jobs in vehicle autonomy or universal translation? Tiny radar blips.
Compare that to what lies just ahead. Tech careers are evolving at the speed of Moore’s law. Watch for the following developments to dominate by early 2020’s.
NEST. Arduino boxes. Raspberry Pi (clever). Remember these? They were hot IoT items in 2010.
Look where the Internet of Things is zooming now. Gartner anticipates nearly 20 billion wireless devices being connected by 2020. Related product and service suppliers could generate more than $30 billion in Canada alone. Wearables, home appliances, office equipment and machines/vehicles are affected.
IoT designers, developers and engineers can expect a major uptick in demand. Also security specialists, given the vast potential for privacy intrusions.
Think cryptocurrency is the only user case for distributed ledgers? Look for smart contracts as decentralized applications. Plus encrypted messaging and market exchanges free of interference.
Supply chain monitoring will reveal real-time inefficiencies. Digital ID’s could provide authentication to a billion people who face identity challenges, and verify devices on an IoT network.
Get ready blockchain developers, engineers and project managers. Use more SOAP, get lots of REST, and be Agile!
AR and VR
The market for Virtual and Augmented Reality is just starting to boom. Pokémon hunts of yore are child play (literally).
The near future sees workplace training, school education, and the entertainment industry ablaze with these emerging technologies. Video gaming by far outstrips other forecasted user bases.
Naturally, programmers will be hot prospects. UX/UI specialists too, from design to testing. Enhanced reality can lead to physical disorientation or even injuries where activity is involved. It will help to use hash (the associative array abstract data type!), and carry around keys (of the symmetric encryption variety).
Artificial Intelligence is the tech most likely to disrupt our world. From simple algorithms that replace mundane human decision making, to deep machine learning with Artificial Neural Networks, this is an information revolution.
Applications are nearly limitless. In 2010 chatboxes and automated data classification were making waves. Now Human Resources departments are starting to incorporate predictive analytics to inform hiring and resource deployment.
Soon advances in quantum computing, machine vision, and computational thinking will generate many thousands of brand new jobs – while eliminating a number of archaic functions. So Scrum Masters, bone up on Six Sigma and user stories. Walk through random forests while clustering and regressing, Data Scientists. As for AI/ Machine Learning Developers, visit Café, and hold Spark to light up Torch.
Where will the coming flood of big data and IoT communication reside? Much less on mainframe and client server environments, as in 2010; far more within remote server farms hosted online.
Huge players have bet enormously on this trend. Think Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft’s IaaS, PaaS and SaaS facilities. Business and consumers are migrating in exabytes.
Associated jobs that will be super popular soon? Wager all you have on security-oriented positions skyrocketing. This includes everything from Ethical Hackers, with their targeted pen test strategies, to Info Security Analysts overseeing layers of infrastructure and data integrity.
Cloud opportunities should rise for Computer and Info Systems Managers as well. They’ll oversee vast proprietary and third-party cloud-based platforms.
other budding tech
Someone, somewhere, is working on quantum computer software. Manipulating info at the atomic level takes a bit of doing. Someone else is tinkering with human hybrid AI interaction involving actual neural links. I, Robot indeed.
As autonomous vehicles, universal translation, 5G mobile and 3D printing hit the market, new positions will be available. Quite a few of these don’t have titles yet. Others will evolve from today’s IT roles.
One thing is certain: skills that are considered leading-edge today could go extinct in five years. It never hurts to keep current and look ahead of the curve to anticipate what’s next.