If you want to be a part of an industry that is constantly subject to new trends due to world-spread innovation and activity, you don’t need to look any further than the information technology industry. There are infinite career paths that one can take toward prosperity, and there are more resources available to you than you can possibly know what to do with. Anyone who wishes to work in the IT industry and dedicate themselves to their career will be heavily rewarded with opportunities and knowledge.
Part of being in the IT industry, or any industry, for that matter, is being able to predict trends before they become trending and take the necessary steps to capitalize on them. This is one of the keys to being a visionary. As Wayne Gretzky says, “Don’t skate to where the puck is right now. Skate to where the puck is going to be.”
Even if you weren’t able to predict a trend in advance, you can still see a development and recognize the potential that it has before everyone else does. There is an incredible amount of untapped potential in the IT industry if you search hard enough for it. The big mistake that people make in the IT industry is looking solely at the technological trends, discounting those that are related to human behavior and a general shift in workplace mindset.
With that being said, here are some of the broader future trends in the information technology industry that everyone needs to be paying attention to, no matter their position:
The number of remote workers will increase significantly.
There are an increasing number of people who are opting to go the freelance route instead of following the traditional model of having one boss and one job to do. This has been made entirely possible by the advancements made in technology that have opened up both workers and clients to the global marketplace. Therefore, organizations can choose to hire top-tier talent from all around the world and are no longer limited to those who are local.
Indeed, major companies such as Buffer have embraced this and started hiring remote full-time workers. Through communication tools such as Skype and Slack, people can get their work done as if they were in a physical office building. Meetups are held a few times a year so that employees can establish a face-to-face connection and strengthen their working relationship.
Overall, work flexibility is being embraced, and it will be far more commonplace in the IT industry than the traditional setup where workers report to the same physical location every day.
Collaboration will become a central tenet of the IT culture.
The days of the lone genius programmer getting everything done all by themselves in a dark room are long gone. Although there are still visionaries hiding from public recognition, the overwhelming majority of IT professionals are starting to acknowledge and embrace the power of collaboration.
Teamwork will be emphasized, and individual workers will find themselves working together on completing key projects. When workers aren’t busy being productive at their desks, there are an increasing number of conferences and workshops set up around the world to allow people to come together and share ideas.
Expect a major shift in working spaces within the IT industry due to collaboration. Whereas workers would be assigned their own individual workstations and collaborate with teammates in separate rooms, employees in future generations are going to be installed in collaborative working spaces where they can gather around in close proximity for teamwork. The “one desk, one person” mentality will soon be gone.
User experience will be far more important for customer satisfaction.
Because technology is advancing at such a rapid pace, many consumers may feel left behind. They might restrain themselves from using a product on the simple notion that it is too complicated for them to use as they see fit. Take a look at Apple’s Mac operating system as an example.
One of the reasons why you see many workers switching from Windows to Mac is due to the ease with which you can use their operating system. Even though it can handle most of the same complexities as other operating systems, it is easy to learn how to use it for casual computing purposes. The tutorials are simple, and most people report that it eventually feels intuitive to use the Mac.
How does this relate to workers in the IT industry? Those developing IT products will be forced to examine their application design critically and put themselves in the shoes of their ideal demographic. Simplicity will be the key focus, and any inefficiencies in the form of unnecessary complexity will have to be removed.
In a world that is running at breakneck speeds, consumers won’t have the time to sit down for hours and learn how to use a product. The learning curve needs to be made as small as possible. Expect to see a “pick up n’ play” mentality being adopted when the user interface is being optimized for the customer.
Significant advances in network cable technology are being made.
For those of you who work extensively with network cabling, you know that twisted pair cabling is the norm, particularly those that are Category 5e and beyond—because they can easily support Gigabit Ethernet. Although there are pushes being made to create new categories that have improved bandwidth and high-performance data transfer, these cables still suffer from a few flaws that will result in them being phased out.
The primary issue is that they are still susceptible to electromagnetic interference from other electronic devices. This means that there might be gaps in data transfer where information is not completely transferred. This flaw is unacceptable, given that several terabytes of confidential and important information will be transferred on a daily basis by companies in the future.
To fix this, developers have switched their attention to developing fiber optic network cabling. Fiber optics are unique in that data is transmitted through pulses of light instead of electric signals. This opens up the gateway to data transfer and speeds and volumes that were previously thought to be impossible.
The only reason why this technology has not been fully phased out is because it is currently too expensive for companies to have installed in their IT rooms, on top of the fact that there are several categories of fiber optic cabling that already exist. This means that there is a higher chance that things could go wrong because a technician accidentally installs the wrong variation of cabling.
Is wireless the way to go?
In the 21st century, using cords for technology is perceived to be an ancient activity. Thanks to the invention of wireless internet and Bluetooth technology, there is an increasingly high expectation among workers and customers that products are built to operate wirelessly. One only needs to use their imagination to think about where an obsessive focus on making everything wireless can go.
For starters, one can imagine a future in which data transfer is done wirelessly rather than through network cabling as described in the previous section. However, this is a bold idea that will likely fail to see any significant development until far later. With the failed attempts people have made at trying to charge devices wirelessly, it’s best not to hold your breath.
Blockchain technology will rise in use and influence.
For those of you who don’t already know what Blockchain is, it is a public database that allows you to send data more securely and efficiently. When you store information, it will include a cryptographic signature that links back to you (the sender), along with the date and time when this was made. This technology has been used to send things such as assets and money.
This has huge implications for how things will be done in the healthcare and banking industries, as Blockchain can potentially disrupt them in a big way. We are only beginning to see a small sliver of the potential that it will have for making transactions and sharing information in the near future.
3D Printing will become a bigger part of IT manufacturing.
One of the biggest game changes in the manufacturing industry for all sectors has been the invention and development of 3D printing. It sounds like a dream come true – you send a digital 3D design to a printer, and it will recreate that entire thing. With printing speed improving and the cost of printing becoming cheaper, it will be the most valuable tool for any company that regularly manufactures and ships IT products. Customizations in design will become far easier, and less human supervision will be required.
Cyber security will be a high-priority concern for customers.
It goes without saying that an IT system is only as good as the security that is being used to protect it. If you have been reading the news, you are probably aware that the dating site known as Ashley Madison was hacked, leading to private information of thousands of individuals having been leaked and exposed to the public. Many of its users suffered serious life-altering consequences because of this breach, and the damage has clearly been done. What’s to say that this same kind of hacking event couldn’t happen in other industries where data protection is the #1 concern?
IT companies will be forced to employ maximum security measures as they continue to develop the latest technologies. Systems will have to be continually tested, and knowledge gaps will have to be filled in order to stay one step ahead of those who have malicious intent. Expect the standards for cyber security, both from consumers and workers, to rise sharply with each passing year.
In conclusion, these are some of the major future trends in the information technology industry that you should be paying attention to. There is a high likelihood that they will happen, but the speed at which they happen and the influence they will have on the industry is yet to be determined. One can only take this information and use it as they see fit, or decide that there is an unexplored trend that will rise in the future and seek to become its creator.