Technology trends and the job market

technology trends

Technology evolution has been showing a rapid growth in the past decade according to Gartner’s hype cycle. As the technology domains show an exponential growth, it affects many industries and business domains such as healthcare, agricultural, educational, financial, etc. Technology helps those fields to add quality and to increase the efficiency in the process of product and service production. A well-known fact is that technology-based job careers do not evolve as fast as the technologies. But, they also evolve at a considerable speed. “The IT worker of the 21 st century will have to constantly be learning, out of necessity if not desire”. What this statement truly means is that, the IT professionals will get to know the fact that their knowledge should be up-todate and aligned with the current trends in the IT industry. Those who are planning to start careers in IT, should keep their eyes focused on the depths of the IT industry and should anticipate the future of it. Simply, they have to invest time in the jobs they are willing to do in the future.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is the magic which makes yesterday’s science fictions a reality today. According to statistics, Global GDP will grow by $15.7 trillion by 2030, thanks to AI. AI statistics surrounding the world’s industries has altered the way they think and interact with each other every day. It has caused a big revolution in industries in the world context such as education, healthcare, automation and many more. AI plays an important role in automation. Automation has become a hot topic because of the job losses it caused in the past. Future predictions show that, automation may cause 73 million job losses by 2030. While there are so many people who fear that robots will take over their jobs, there are also many important positives to automation. Even though automation eliminate such a huge number of jobs in the market, it will create about 23 million jobs in development, testing, support and maintenance in software and hardware related to AI by 2020. Some say that it will compete against data scientists in need of highly skilled professionals. Somehow, automation and augmented & virtual reality (AR/VR) all lead to the idea that human workers will be valued for their uniquely human skills, such as creativity and innovative thinking. Although the machine learning and AI are broad knowledge areas, the jobs that are related to those areas are very specific. Some of the jobs described by Van Loon during the webinar include:

  • Machine learning researcher
  • AI engineer
  • Data mining and analysis engineer
  • Machine learning engineer
  • Data scientist
  • Business intelligence (BI) developer

Someone who wants to move into AI should have strong and platform-independent computer skills as well as programming skills. Ability to understand the algorithms and having analytical skills will also be important. A person with general business knowledge will be able to perform well in AI industry by having a combination of the above skills.

Machine Learning (ML)

Machine learning can be considered as a subset of artificial intelligence. Machine learning is used to analyze data and to give insights from them. There are three types of machine learning, supervised, unsupervised and reinforcement. The domain of machine learning includes neural networks, natural language processing (NLP) and deep learning. Each of these subsets is an opportunity for specializing in a career. Machine learning market expects to grow up to $8.81 billion by 2022. The usage of machine learning is spread through vast areas in industries. Machine learning applications are used for data analytics, data mining and pattern recognition. In the consumer end, machine learning powers displaying web search results and real-time ads by analyzing customer insights, and network intrusion detection by analyzing the deforms in the data sets. Machine learning jobs are highly ranked jobs in LinkedIn and these jobs are well-paid jobs in the industry. The job opportunities opened with the development of ML include:

  • Engineers
  • Developers
  • Researchers
  • Data scientists

Cyber Security (CS)

Cyber security cannot be considered under the emerging technologies, but it is evolving just as other technologies. The hackers will find new ways of accessing data and will continue to do unethical hacking to get through tough security boundaries. The technology should be always adapted to enhance security. As long as we have hackers, we will have cyber security as an emerging technology because it will constantly evolve to defend against those hackers. According to statistics, cyber security jobs are growing three times faster than other jobs in the IT industry. Since there are no professionals with mastered security handling skills, it is predicted to have 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs by Many cyber security jobs pay six-figure incomes, and roles can range from the ethical hacker to security engineer to Chief Security Officer.

Internet of Things (IOT)

The things that can be connected with each other via ‘Wi-Fi-connectivity’ are named as Internet of Things. IOT is the future of the devices, home appliances, cars and much more. It helps in data exchange over the internet. In 2017, the number of IOT devices reached 8.4 billion and it is expected to be 30 billion by 2020. We can use IOT devices in day-to-day work such as to check whether an electric equipment is switched on and switch off remotely when we are out of home. We can track our fitness when we are out riding or at the gym. The IOT enables better safety, efficiency and decision making for businesses. Although there is a boom of IOT, experts say not enough IT professionals are getting trained for IOT jobs. There is a scale of skills that paves the way to IOT field easily. Those are IoT security, cloud computing knowledge, data analytics, automation, understanding of embedded systems, device knowledge and many more. An article at says “we’ll need 200,000 more IT workers that aren’t yet in the pipeline, and that a survey of engineers found 25.7% believe inadequate skill levels to be the industry’s biggest obstacle to growth.” Although the technologies are emerging and evolving, these domains offer a promising career potential now and most probably in the future as well. And as shown above, all domains are suffering from lack of skilled and professional workers. So, this is your chance to choose the one you are willing to continue, get trained, and mark your position to the success.

Exposition Magazine Issue 15

Suranga Wijayarathna


Department of Industrial Management

University of Kelaniya

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