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WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS: 2019 IT TRENDS  /
January 9, 2019
Viktoriya Polyarush Social Media Coordinator, an avid reader with the passion for technology.

We might often ask ourselves, what the future holds for the IT development. There is no doubt that technology is now developing at such a fast pace that annual predictions of trends can seem quite irrelevant before they even go live. As technology evolves, it triggers even faster change causing the acceleration of the rate of change, until eventually it will become commonly accepted.

However, technology-based careers don’t change at that same speed, but they do evolve, and the savvy IT professionals face the fact that the role they have will not remain the same. The IT worker of the 21st century will constantly be learning, out of necessity if not desire .What does this generally mean for us? It means staying tuned for technology trends. And also it means keeping your eyes wide on the future, to know which skills you’ll need to possess to be on competitive. Here are some technology trends you should watch for in 2019, and some of the jobs that will be influenced by these trends.

Blockchain

Despite the fact that most people think of blockchain technology only in terms of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, blockchain suggests security that is useful in various ways. In the simplest of words, blockchain can be described as data you can only add to, not take away from or change. Hence comes the term “chain” since you’re making a chain of data. Not being able to change the previous blocks is what makes it so secure. This heightened security is why blockchain is used for cryptocurrency, and why it can play a significant role in protecting information such as personal medical data. Blockchain could be used to dramatically improve the global supply chain, as well as protect assets such as art and real estate. And as the use of blockchain technology increases, so too does the demand for skilled professionals.  According to Techcrunch.com, blockchain-related jobs are the second-fastest growing category of jobs, with 14 job openings for every one blockchain developer. A blockchain developer specializes in developing and implementing architecture and solutions using blockchain technology.

The job of a developer is not the only one available in the blockchain space, however. Employers are also looking for software engineers, consultants and project managers. Jobs are available at financial institutions, but also in retail and healthcare, and soon other areas as well.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has already received a lot of hype recently, but it continues to be a trend to watch because its influence on the way we live, work and play are only in the early stages. In addition, other branches of AI have developed, including Machine Learning, which we mention 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. Definitely, AI can do these tasks faster and more accurately than humans. We use 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. AI is one part of what we refer to broadly as automation, and automation is a hot topic because of potential job loss. Experts say automation will eliminate 73 million more jobs by 2030. Nevertheless, automation is creating jobs as well as eliminating them, especially in the field of AI.  Jobs will be created in development, programming, testing, support and maintenance, to name a few.

Machine Learning

We know that 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 literally 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.

Currently, Machine Learning is rapidly being deployed in all kinds of industries, creating a huge demand for skilled professionals. The Machine Learning market is expected to grow to $8.81 billion by 2022. Besides, Machine Learning applications are used for data analytics, data mining and pattern recognition. On the consumer end, Machine Learning powers web search results, real-time ads and network intrusion detection, to name only a few of the many tasks it can do. In addition to completing countless tasks on our behalf, it is generating jobs. Machine Learning jobs rank among the top emerging jobs on LinkedIn, with almost 2,000 job listings posted.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) immerses the user in an environment while Augment Reality (AR) enhances their environment. Although VR has primarily been used for gaming thus far, it has also been used for training. Both have  a wealth of potential in training, entertainment, education, marketing, and even rehabilitation 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.  One of the greatest examples is Puremedsim. With their software, one can replicate many different body processes in all capacities from respiratory systems, cardiac cycles, pupillary responses, and integumentary systems to perspiration and speech functions, all of which are presented virtually, without the use for a tactile device. Puremedsim’s technology serves as a background for various high technical education systems in theoretical and practical medicine, high quality training systems and many other systems. Medical simulators based on this technology differ significantly from other simulators and can be used in education, clinical practice and research. With the help of these simulators, doctors will be able to accurately predict the treatment outcome for a concrete patient and introduce some changes by choosing appropriate treatment.

According to an article at Monster.com, the demand for job candidates with VR knowledge is up 37 percent, but the potential employees are in short supply. That demand will only increase. There are major players in the VR market, like Google, Samsung and Oculus, but plenty of startups are forming and they will be hiring—or trying to, in light of the shortage. Getting started in VR doesn’t require a lot of specialized knowledge. Basic programming skills and a forward-thinking mindset can land a job.

 

 Internet of Things

Although it sounds like a game you’d play on your smartphone, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the future. Many “things” are now being built with WiFi connectivity, meaning they can be connected to the Internet—and to each other. IoT enables devices, home appliances, cars and much more to be connected to and exchange data over the Internet. And we’re only in the initial stages of IoT: the number of IoT devices reached 8.4 billion in 2017 is and expected to reach 30 billion devices by 2020 according to Gartner.

On the consumer end, 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. However, 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. However, despite this boom in the development and adoption of  IoT, experts say not enough IT professionals are getting trained for IoT jobs nowadays. For someone interested in a career in IoT, that means easy entry into the field if you’re motivated, with a range of options for getting started. Skills needed include IoT security, cloud computing knowledge, data analytics, automation, understanding of embedded systems, device knowledge, to name only a few. After all, it’s the Internet of Things, and those things are many and varied, meaning the skills needed are as well.