No matter what field you work in, if you’re hoping to get ahead in your career, you need to be mindful of technology trends. We’ve seen it all too often in recent history, that a new technology takes over and suddenly those who can’t keep up are no longer needed.
But by educating yourself on what is new, what is growing, what is likely to be the next big thing, you can help tech-proof your career. Below I’ve outlined some of the technology trends I see that will have the greatest impact on a wide variety of jobs and industries — well outside the people in the IT industry who develop, build and maintain them.
- Big DataObviously I write a lot about the impact big data is having and will have, but it will almost certainly impact many careers and fields in the future. Human resources, marketing, scientific and medical research, psychological research, product development, customer service, finance, and manufacturing are all fields beyond IT that will be affected by big data.
- Internet of ThingsI recently wrote about how the Internet of Things will affect many different businesses, and that means it will touch many careers as well. Everyone from the person who designs new smart devices, to the app developer who develops the software to control those devices all the way to the garbage man who uses smart sensors to tell which cans need emptying will be affected as this technology takes hold.
- MobileMobile has been big for a while, and many careers are being created in the development of the hardware, software, and services associated with it. But very soon we are going to go beyond mobile to computing everywhere. This will include wearable devices, devices mounted on walls and on other appliances (like your fridge). All of this will transform the ways in which we market, sell, communicate, innovate, collaborate and educate.
- Cyber securityThe demand for cyber security and the related field of cyber forensics, will only grow. Even if you’re not making security your career, many people’s careers will hinge on how well they pay attention to and prioritise cyber security within their company.
While systems like Siri and Cortana are sometimes useful and sometimes laughably un-useful now, we are on the cusp of the rise of the e-assistant, programs that will be able to assist in many different areas. Soon everyone from retailers to maintenance crews will have a Siri-like assistant to help with their job. So not only will we use them more in our careers, we will also need more people who understand how to build, program, and maintain them.
- SocialSocial isn’t just about Facebook any more. Many companies are integrating social networking aspects into their front end and back end systems. Brands create their own social networks where customers and fans can interact, while companies use sophisticated back-end applications to help employees communicate beyond email in real time. Using these systems will become ubiquitous, as will building and maintaining them.
- GamificationGamification is going to move into more and more realms of our life not so much because it’s the hot new thing, but because it’s psychologically proven to work. Companies like Microsoft are using gamification to motivate their sales force, while other entities are using it in education and personal development. The opportunities in this arena are growing all the time.
- Cloud computingIf you haven’t already, you’ll soon be entering the cloud. Many, many businesses are now taking their internal applications and data into the cloud because the data is actually safer and easier to control. Cloud-based office applications, like Google Docs, are already overtaking their single-station counterparts in usefulness. In fact, this very post was written in Google Docs and saved in the cloud before it was posted here.
- Video communicationsYou can tell you’re living in the future, because the video phone is finally here! As video technologies improve all the time, video conferencing and communications will continue to grow as a field. If you haven’t encountered it already, you’ll almost certainly soon find that conference calls are being replaced by video chats, whether to the person in the next building or around the world.
By keeping abreast of advancements in these fields, and even just understanding what they are and how they might impact the work you do, you can help to tech-proof yourself and your career in a changing landscape.