We live in an era called the information age. New technology is emerging every day to make life simpler, more advanced and better for everyone. The rate at which technology is evolving is almost exponential today. For business organisations, new technology helps to reduce costs, enhance customer experiences and increase profits.

Nearly 50 billion devices will have internet connectivity by 2030. With the COVID-19 pandemic boosting businesses’ digital transformation journey, this goal is closer than anticipated. The familiarity with the latest IT technology holds the key to advancing your career and exploring new opportunities.

Here are some of the top technology trends for 2021:

 

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

Artificial Intelligence, also known as AI, started gaining popularity a decade ago. It has still not slowed down and continues to be one of the leading technologies in 2021. AI is constantly evolving, and newer applications for this technology continue to spring upon the scene. Today’s most popular AI applications are image and speech recognition, navigation programs, voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, and much more.

Organisations are looking to use AI to analyse customer and business interactions to derive insights and identify triggers. It will help them predict the demand for services such as hospitals or tourism and aid in the improvement of resource allocation for various projects.

Machine Learning (ML) is a part of AI and uses supervised learning to learn new functions. It has seen a massive surge in demand for skilled professionals, making it an attractive trend to watch. According to Forrester, AI and Machine Learning will be responsible for 9% of all new jobs in the US by 2025.

 

2. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) uses multiple software and applications to automate business processes such as data collection and analysis, customer service and other repetitive tasks managed previously through manual processes.

Like AI and Machine Learning, RPA is a rapidly advancing technology that automates many jobs across different industries. McKinsey has analysed that fewer than 5% of jobs today can be entirely automated, but nearly 60% can be automated at least partially.

RPA offers several new career options and trajectories such as a programmer, project manager, business analyst or consultant. It also opens doors to high-paying jobs with a moderate learning curve in leading organisations. Choosing this technology as a career move can profit you immensely.

 

3. Edge Computing

Today, millions of data points are collecting user information from various sources such as social media, websites, emails, and web searches. As the amount of data collected increases exponentially, other technologies like cloud computing fall short in several situations.

Till a decade back, Cloud Computing was one of the fastest-growing technologies. However, it has become fairly mainstream, with the market dominated by major players such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

As more organisations adopted Cloud Computing, they found several limitations in the technology. Edge Computing helps to bypass the latency that Cloud Computing causes and helps organisations to get data into a data centre for processing. It can exist ‘on edge’, in the sense that it is closer to where the data processing will ultimately take place. Edge Computing is used to process time-sensitive data in far-off locations with limited or no connectivity.

Edge Computing application will keep growing as IoT devices increase. Its market share is set to reach $6.72 billion by 2022.

 

You May Also Like: Machine Learning Certification: Everything You Need to Know

 

4. Quantum Computing

Quantum Computing is a type of computing that focuses on developing computer technology based on the principles of quantum theory. This theory explains the behaviour of energy and materials on atomic and subatomic levels. In other words, it performs calculations based on the probability of an object’s state before measurement instead of just 0’s and 1’s.

Quantum Computing can easily query, analyse and take action based on given data, regardless of the source. It played a major role in preventing COVID-19 and developing new vaccines. These computers are exponentially faster than normal computers. The revenue for the Quantum Computing market is projected to cross $2.5 billion by 2029.

You need experience with quantum mechanics, linear algebra, machine learning, and information theory to enter this field.

 

5. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

VR and AR have been popular for almost a decade now. Virtual Reality immerses the user into a new environment, while Augmented Reality enhances the user’s existing environment. While their applications so far have been majorly linked with gaming and filters on social media, simulation software such as Virtual Ship is also used to train the US Navy, Army and Coast Guard ship captains.

A whopping 14 million AR and VR devices were sold in 2019. The global market for this trending technology is predicted to reach $209.2 billion by 2022, which means more job opportunities for professionals in this field.

By 2021, AR and VR are expected to integrate into our everyday lives much more deeply than today. They have huge potential and possible applications in training, entertainment, education, marketing and therapy or post-injury rehabilitation. It is also widely used by advertisers and brands to create new immersive experiences for their customers.

Starting a career in VR or AR doesn’t require too much specialisation. Basic programming skills and a forward-thinking mindset coupled with optics as a skill set can help you easily secure a job in this field.

 

6. Blockchain

Blockchain was popularised in the context of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin and the security it provides. However, it offers security that can be useful in several other ways as well. Blockchain can be defined as data that you can only add to, not take away or alter. It results in many sections of data which form a ‘chain’, hence the name Blockchain.

The fact that existing data cannot be altered or removed makes Blockchain a highly secure technology. Blockchains are consensus-driven, which means no single person or organisation can take control of the data. There is no need for a third party to oversee transactions.

As more industries adopt and implement blockchains, the demand for skilled blockchain developers has also increased. It requires the hands-on experience of programming languages, basic knowledge of OOPS, flat and relational databases, data structures, networking and web application development.

 

7. Internet of Things (IoT)

It is one of the most promising technologies of the decade. Multiple devices or ‘things’ today are wifi-enabled, which means they can be connected to the internet. The Internet of Things is a network of diverse connected devices. Devices within the network can communicate with each other, collect data and transfer it across the network without human intervention.

There are hundreds of real-life Internet of Things (IoT) applications - from tracking activity using smart devices that connect to your phone, to remotely monitoring home doors or switching applications on and off. Businesses also use IoT for many things like monitoring activity in remote locations from a central hub and predicting when a device will malfunction so that corrective measures can be taken before it’s too late.

It is predicted that by 2030, over 50 billion devices will be connected via the Internet of Things. Global spending on this technology will reach an estimated $1.1 trillion in the next two years. IoT is currently in its initial stages and will advance rapidly in the near future. It requires knowledge of AI and Machine Learning fundamentals, as well as information security and data analytics.

 

Additional Read: How to Become a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

 

8. 5G

5G technology has the potential to change the way we see the online world. 3G and 4G technology transformed how we interacted with mobile devices, enabling faster internet browsing, using data-driven services, and increasing bandwidth for live streaming.

5G aims to revolutionise our virtual interactions by integrating AR and VR technology and better cloud-based gaming experiences. It will also be used in factories and enterprises for monitoring and streamlining operations. 5G also has applications in road safety and rule implementation, smart grid control and smart retail experiences, in the form of live high-definition cameras.

Telecom companies around the world are working on creating 5G-ready services and devices. The technology was announced and rolled out in select places in 2020, with a worldwide launch expected in 2021. The launch of 5G has been delayed for a while but is set to quickly reach the world and become a part of every person’s life.

 

9. Cybersecurity

Since the dawn of computers, cybersecurity has played a major role in ensuring safer user experiences. It is not a new trend, but given that technology is evolving rapidly, cybersecurity measures need to be constantly upgraded and improved. Threats and hacking attempts are growing in number and intensity, which calls for improving security protocols and strengthening systems against malicious attacks.

Data is the most valuable asset today, and hackers are constantly trying to steal data or information. This is why cybersecurity will always be a trending technology and need to constantly evolve to stay ahead of hackers. Demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing three times faster than any other tech jobs today. More and more businesses realise its importance, resulting in businesses spending about $6 trillion on cybersecurity by 2021.

Cybersecurity job roles transition from the ethical hacker to security engineer to Chief Security Officer. The pay is significantly more than in other technology job roles due to its significance in ensuring a secure user experience.

 

What Next?

You now know which technologies are going to make the greatest impact in the years to come. Keeping in mind the potential and promising career options they offer and your personal goals, start training in a technology you like. Get the early bird advantage and sharpen your skills so that you’re among the first to embrace these technologies.

Armin Vans
Archer Charles has top education industry knowledge with 4 years of experience. Being a passionate blogger also does blogging on the technology niche.

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