As 2019 approaches, IT leaders are reading the tea leaves on today’s tech trends to determine where to place their bets in the year ahead. Will blockchain have its break-out moment? Will our cars all be self-driving? Will bots take our jobs, or just make them easier?
We asked IT leaders and tech experts what they see on the horizon for the future of technology. We intentionally left the question open-ended, and as a result, the answers represent a broad range of what IT professionals may expect to face in the new year. Let's dig in:
1. Container platforms take on new importance
"It's a trend we've already seen on the leading edge, but in 2019 expect a continuing shift in attention away from containers themselves and even basic container orchestration to additional cloud-native technologies required for a complete container platform. Service meshes are one still mature but rapidly developing technology area because they eliminate a lot of repetitive development work that would otherwise be needed to wire up distributed microservices-based applications. Other important cloud-native infrastructure technology areas include monitoring, distributed tracing, logging, and analytics."
[ Want to help others understand cloud-native? Read our related article, How to explain cloud-native apps in plain English. ]
2. Cognitive technologies take on more work
Rob Maille, head of strategy and customer experience, CommerceCX: "The key word is cognitive load and how companies can reduce it by providing better guidance and overall automation that makes it easier to use. RPA (Robotic process automation) is a great example of this and an area that will continue to heat up. As we move into 2019, RPA will become even more disruptive in how industries like retail, manufacturing, supply chain, and even finance operate from the ground up. In 2019, we can expect to see even more widespread introduction of software robots and artificial intelligence (AI) workers as organizations look to leverage automation as they enhance their overall commerce ecosystem."
[ See our related story How to future-proof your IT job in the age of AI. ]
3. Security becomes must-have developer skill
Derek Choy, CIO, Rainforest QA: "Developers who have job interviews next year will see a new question added to the usual list. For the first time, we will see virtually all businesses incorporating questions about security in coding. Engineers applying for jobs should highlight this experience to increase their chances. Deep security knowledge won’t be a requirement for all roles, but DevOps managers will increasingly prioritize those with security experience when they make their hiring decisions. The issue is simply too critical to ignore."
4. Blockchain becomes customer confidence booster
John McDonald, CEO, ClearObject: "Blockchain technology isn’t only about cryptocurrency, and it can be applied in many industries. As an effective backend, more IoT products and services can use this as a way to secure data and keep customer data private – especially in smart cars, smart home devices, etc. We will see more exploration of blockchain technology in 2019 and into 2020 to add transparency to our supply chains, track ownership, and more. For example, food recalls could be virtually eliminated by using blockchain with nanotechnology sensors to track food origin and shipment."
[ How much progress has blockchain made to date? Read The state of blockchain: 11 stats. ]
5. Ethics take center stage with tech talent
Robert Reeves, CTO and co-founder, Datical: “More companies (prompted by their employees) will become increasingly concerned about the ethics of their technology. Microsoft is raising concerns of the dangers of facial recognition technology; Google employees are very concerned about their AI products being used by the Department of Defense. The economy is good for tech right now and the job market is becoming tighter. Thus, I expect those companies to take their employees’ concerns very seriously. Of course, all bets are off when (not if) we dip into a recession. But, for 2019, be prepared for more employees of tech giants to raise ethical concerns and for those concerns to be taken seriously and addressed.”
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