Nobody knew how 2020 would end when it started. The coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses to adopt digital transformation more than ever before. The number of businesses that have moved online in the past six months alone is more than those in the last decade.
Technology today is evolving at such a rapid pace, enabling faster change and progress, causing an acceleration of the rate of change, until eventually it will become exponential. However, it is not only technology trends and top technologies that are evolving, a lot more has changed this year due to the outbreak of COVID-19 making IT professionals realize that their role will not stay the same in the contactless world tomorrow. And an IT professional in 2020-21 will constantly be learning, unlearning and relearning (out of necessity if not desire).
What does this mean for you? It means staying current with new technology trends. And it means keeping your eyes on the future to know which skills you’ll need to know to secure a safe job tomorrow and even learn how to get there. All bows to the worldwide pandemic, most of the global IT population is sitting back, working from home. And if you wish to make the most of your time at home, here are top 20 new technology trends you should watch for and make an attempt at in 2021, and possibly secure one of the jobs that will be created by these new technology trends.
There’s a lot at stake for 2021. The question is whether mainstream technologies such as data analytics and AI will remain a force. Or will we see newer forms of technology dominating the year? Even if time is the sole judge and determinant, here are possible technology trends we believe will dominate 2021:
1. 5G Will Go Mainstream
All that talk and hype around 5G will become real in 2021. The need for a reliable and fast connection became urgent only a few months earlier. When digital collaboration, remote work, and videoconferencing became a part of our lives, we had to get ways to boost speed.
It was already clear enough for telecommunication companies that 5G was the way to go. The deployment of this technology will be important for different tools like IoT. About 51% of companies using IoT have noted an improved insight into customer needs, behaviors, and preferences. The value of 5G, therefore, will skyrocket in 2021.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has already received a lot of buzz in the past decade, but it continues to be one of the new technology trends because of its notable effects on how we live, work and play are only in the early stages. AI is already known for its superiority in image and speech recognition, navigation apps, smartphone personal assistants, ride-sharing apps and so much more.
Other than that AI will be used further to analyze interactions to determine underlying connections and insights, to help predict demand for services like hospitals enabling authorities to make better decisions about resource utilization, and to detect the changing patterns of customer behaviour by analyzing data in near real-time, driving revenues and enhancing personalized experiences.
The AI market will grow to a $190 billion industry by 2025 with global spending on cognitive and AI systems reaching over $57 billion in 2021. With AI spreading its wings across sectors, new jobs will be created in development, programming, testing, support and maintenance, to name a few. On the other hand AI also offers some of the highest salaries today ranging from over $1,25,000 per year (machine learning engineer) to $145,000 per year (AI architect) – making it the top new technology trend you must watch out for!
Machine Learning the subset of AI, is also being deployed in all kinds of industries, creating a huge demand for skilled professionals. Forester predicts AI, machine learning, and automation will create 9 percent of new U.S. jobs by 2025, jobs including robot monitoring professionals, data scientists, automation specialists, and content curators, making it another new technology trend you must keep in mind too!
3. Customer Data Platforms (CDP)
In the last few months, we have witnessed a rise in customer data platforms (CDP). It’s not easy to organize fragmented data from multiple sources. To operate efficiently, you’ll need well-curated and timely operations.
In a recent study, an estimated $3 trillion goes down the drain annually due to bad data. Therefore, it’s quite imperative that you address this problem early as a company. Luckily, CDPs help to solve this problem by collecting data from all sources. They then organize it, tag it, and make it usable.
4. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Like AI and Machine Learning, Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is another technology that is automating jobs. RPA is the use of software to automate business processes such as interpreting applications, processing transactions, dealing with data, and even replying to emails. RPA automates repetitive tasks that people used to do.
Although Forrester Research estimates RPA automation will threaten the livelihood of 230 million or more knowledge workers, or approximately 9 percent of the global workforce, RPA is also creating new jobs while altering existing jobs. McKinsey finds that less than 5 percent of occupations can be totally automated, but about 60 percent can be partially automated.
For you as an IT professional looking to the future and trying to understand new technology trends, RPA offers plenty of career opportunities, including developer, project manager, business analyst, solution architect and consultant. And these jobs pay well. An RPA developer can earn over ₹534K per year – making it the next technology trend you must keep a watch on!
5. Internet of Behaviors(IoB)
IoB is an upcoming trend that you’ll hear more of in 2021. Companies and businesses are taking advantage of technology to monitor consumer and customer behaviors. Some of the effective technological tools here include location tracking, big data, and facial recognition.
According to a prediction by Gartner, more than half of the global population will be under an IoB tool by 2025.
6. Edge Computing
Formerly a new technology trend to watch, cloud computing has become mainstream, with major players AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform dominating the market. The adoption of cloud computing is still growing, as more and more businesses migrate to a cloud solution. But it’s no longer the emerging technology trend. Edge is.
As the quantity of data organizations are dealing with continues to increase, they have realized the shortcomings of cloud computing in some situations. Edge computing is designed to help solve some of those problems as a way to bypass the latency caused by cloud computing and getting data to a datacenter for processing. It can exist “on the edge,” if you will, closer to where computing needs to happen. 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 those situations, edge computing can act like mini datacenters.
Edge computing will increase as use of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices increases. By 2022, the global edge computing market is expected to reach $6.72 billion. And this new technology trend is only meant to grow and nothing less, creating various jobs, primarily for software engineers.
7. Cybersecurity Mesh
With the cybersecurity mesh, you can access any digital security asset – no matter its location. The benefit of this technology is that it allows people to place the security wall around individuals rather than the entire organization.
The sudden rise in remote workforces and cloud technology has affected the security of company assets outside the company’s perimeter. Thanks to the help of the cybersecurity mesh, the security perimeter goes beyond and covers individuals working remotely.
8. Quantum Computing
Next remarkable technology trend is quantum computing, which is a form of computing that takes advantage of quantum phenomena like superposition and quantum entanglement. This amazing technology trend is also involved in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, and to develop potential vaccines, thanks to its ability to easily query, monitor, analyze and act on data, regardless of the source. Another field where quantum computing is finding applications is banking and finance, to manage credit risk, for high frequency trading and fraud detection.
Quantum computers are now a multitude times faster than regular computers and huge brands like Splunk, Honeywell, Microsoft, AWS, Google and many others are now involved in making innovations in the field of Quantum Computing. The revenues for the global quantum computing market are projected to surpass $2.5 billion by 2029. And to make a mark in this new trending technology, you need to have experience with quantum mechanics, linear algebra, probability, information theory, and machine learning.
9. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
The next exceptional technology trend – Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), and Extended Reality (ER). VR immerses the user in an environment while AR enhances their environment. Although this technology trend has primarily been used for gaming thus far, it has also been used for training, as with VirtualShip, a simulation software used to train U.S. Navy, Army and Coast Guard ship captains.
In 2021, we can expect these forms of technologies being further integrated into our lives. Usually working in tandem with some of the other new technologies we’ve mentioned in this list, AR and VR have enormous 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, as with this Pepsi Max bus shelter.
Fun fact: 14 million AR and VR devices were sold in 2019. The global AR and VR market is expected to grow to $209.2 billion by 2022, only creating more opportunities in the trending technology, and welcoming more professionals ready for this game-changing field.
While some employers might look for optics as a skill-set, note that getting started in VR doesn’t require a lot of specialized knowledge – basic programming skills and a forward-thinking mindset can land a job; another reason why this new technology trend should make up to your list of lookouts!
10. Total Experience
Often abbreviated as TX, the total experience goes side by side with the customer experience, user experience, and employee experience. As most of the interactions today are virtual, distributed, and mobile, it’s important to use the TX strategy even more.
Already, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a new norm in collaborations. And that’s why you need to bring together the customers and employees.
11. Intelligent Composable Business
This trend focuses on taking advantage of packaged business capabilities. You can develop it through vendors or do it in-house. ICB helps to bring different things together, including better access to changing data, better decision making, and application delivery.
Although most people think of blockchain technology in relation to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, blockchain offers security that is useful in many other ways. In the simplest of terms, blockchain can be described as data you can only add to, not take away from or change. Hence the term “chain” because you’re making a chain of data. Not being able to change the previous blocks is what makes it so secure. In addition, blockchains are consensus-driven, so no one entity can take control of the data. With blockchain, you don’t need a trusted third-party to oversee or validate transactions.
Several industries are involving and implementing blockchain, and as the use of blockchain technology increases, so too does the demand for skilled professionals. From a birds eye view, a blockchain developer specializes in developing and implementing architecture and solutions using blockchain technology. The average yearly salary of a blockchain developer is ₹469K.
If you are intrigued by Blockchain and its applications and want to make your career in this trending technology, then this is the right time to start. To get into Blockchain, you need to have hands-on experience of programming languages, the fundamentals of OOPS, flat and relational databases, data structures, web app development, and networking.
13. Hybrid Cloud
Most businesses are moving towards the hybrid cloud model. The reason is simple – the hybrid cloud is more convenient. It helps businesses to strike a balance for their distinct cloud infrastructural needs.
Most of the giant public cloud providers have started focusing on the hybrid cloud. Some of them include Amazon Web Services(AWS), Google Cloud, Azure, Oracle, and IBM. All of this aims at dealing with different customer challenges including:
- Security and compliance.
- Exponential data growth.
14. Privacy and Confidential Computing
It involves the encryption of the entire computing process and not only the data. This creates extra layers of security that help to protect sensitive information. We should expect more of privacy and confidential computing in action come 2021.
15. Internet of Things (IoT)
Another promising new technology trend is IoT. Many “things” are now being built with WiFi connectivity, meaning they can be connected to the Internet—and to each other. Hence, the Internet of Things, or IoT. The Internet of Things is the future, and has already enabled devices, home appliances, cars and much more to be connected to and exchange data over the Internet.
As consumers, 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, all while tracking our fitness on our Fitbits. 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.
And we’re only in the beginning stages of this new technology trend: Forecasts suggest that by 2030 around 50 billion of these IoT devices will be in use around the world, creating a massive web of interconnected devices spanning everything from smartphones to kitchen appliances. The global spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) is forecast to reach 1.1 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022. New technologies such as 5G is expected to drive market growth in the coming years.
And if you wish to step foot in this trending technology, you will have to learn about Information security, AI and machine learning fundamentals, networking, hardware interfacing, data analytics, automation, understanding of embedded systems, and must have device and design knowledge.
16. Smart Work from Home Technologies
The coronavirus pandemic has shifted the way we do things and carry out business. Initially, it would be radical to allow employees to work from home on a large scale. Even when employees were asking for enhanced work flexibility, it was never to be.
The current lockdowns have led to the common acceptance of the work from home formulas. And many pundits argue that this work-from-home policy will outlast the pandemic. We have seen many tech giants extending the work from home flexibility to their staff. Some like Twitter have even given their employees the option of working from home entirely for the rest of their working careers.
Part of what made all this a reality is the deployment of smart work from home tools such as WebEx, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. Such apps have witnessed massive usage over the past few months, and this is expected to continue even in 2021.
Robotic process automation(RPA) was a major technology tool that companies have had their focus on. Now, it has moved from task-based automation to process-based automation. The magnitude of automation is set to go even higher as Hyperautomation increases in the coming year.
18. Distributed Cloud
This involves the spreading of public cloud services to different physical locations. However, the evolution, governance, and operations of the services remain at the public cloud provider. By 2025, Gartner predicts that most cloud service providers will provide a number of distributed cloud services.
19. Cyber Security
Cyber security might not seem like an emerging technology, given that it has been around for a while, but it is evolving just as other technologies are. That’s in part because threats are constantly new. The malevolent hackers who are trying to illegally access data are not going to give up any time soon, and they will continue to find ways to get through even the toughest security measures. It’s also in part because new technology is being adapted to enhance security. As long as we have hackers, cybersecurity will remain a trending technology because it will constantly evolve to defend against those hackers.
As proof of the strong need for cybersecurity professionals, the number of cybersecurity jobs is growing three times faster than other tech jobs. Also, the need for proper cyber security is so high that by 2021, $6 trillion will be spent globally on cybersecurity.
You must note that however challenging the field is it also offers lucrative six-figure incomes, and roles can range from ethical hacker to security engineer to Chief Security Officer, offering a promising career path for someone who wants to get into and stick with this evergreen trending technology.
20. Device Form Factors
The current customer needs include small, light, and effective devices. Therefore, manufacturers are heading to the call by providing hybrid devices that double up as phones and tablets. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 does this quite well. 2021 will see a return of stronger and more efficient folding and unfolding devices.
21. Quantum Computing
Quantum computing has helped in the management of COVID-19 in terms of managing the spread, looking for possible vaccines, and the development of therapeutics. As people continue to realize the power of quantum computing, we are more likely to witness its application in many industries in 2021 and beyond.
22. Anywhere Operations
This IT operating model supports customers everywhere. It also enables employees anywhere in addition to enabling the deployment of business services across distributed infrastructure.
Although technologies are emerging and evolving all around us, these top 20+ Technology trends promising career potential now and for the foreseeable future. And most of these trending technologies are welcoming skilled professionals, meaning the time is right for you to choose one, get trained, and get on board at the early stages of these trending technologies, positioning you for success now and in the future.