Technology has crept into our lives en masse, influencing how we live and work, fueling the present and future economies. The pace of change is rapid and transformational, with clear implications on education, employment, and skill development. Today, we’ll look at the trending technologies that are making waves globally.
The technological disruption has birthed new job roles in various fields, making it a necessity for aspirants to upskill. Most jobs in the present market require digital literacy of varying degrees. Digital marketing, coding, graphic designing, data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are among the most high-paying skills of the 21st century.
The following sections will familiarise you with the top emerging technologies, inform you about the requisite skills, and guide you about the career paths and study options. So, keep reading till the end!
Trending Technologies 2021
New tech trends show that innovation is essentially a force for good. The COVID-19 crisis has also highlighted the need and value of tech in our daily lives. From enabling online education and shopping to sustaining industries and improving healthcare, the use cases of technologies span across the industry.
As technology continues to become a core aspect of the industry and gives rise to competitive job profiles, it is imperative for freshers and professionals to acquire niche skills. If you, too, wish to capitalise on this fantastic opportunity, here are some of the trending technologies that might interest you:
1. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most popular buzzwords in the tech world today. AI-enabled devices can draw inferences, interpret, and perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings, i.e. humans. In essence, intelligence is about learning, reasoning, and adapting. It was a defining trait of the human population for centuries but has now percolated inanimate objects. Siri, Alexa, chatbots, navigation apps, and self-driving cars are excellent examples of AI.
Machine Learning (ML) is a branch of AI that pertains to computer programs learning from previous behaviour and adapting without human interference. It takes the technology one step ahead and helps provide better results for queries. Powered with tools like speech recognition, natural language processing, image and pattern recognition, and near real-time data analysis, AI & ML applications extend across healthcare, environmental conservation, marketing, space exploration, among many other industries.
Typically, you need a background in computer science, mathematics, or statistics to enter this field. Specialised Master’s level courses in AI & ML can give a boost to your career, making you suitable for jobs such as:
- AI Architect – Develops and maintains the architecture for AI technology frameworks.
- AI Research Scientist – Writes code, develops techniques and process, runs experiments, and takes the idea from prototype to product stage.
- ML Engineer – Programs and trains machines to perform specific tasks and performs statistical analysis to fine-tune models.
- Business Intelligence Developer – Analyses data to identify market trends and discover potential business opportunities.
2. Cyber Security
The increased penetration of the Internet, the rise of social media, and massive growth in the number of netizens have made cybersecurity a pertinent risk of the modern age. While companies seek to gather and leverage data for multiple purposes, a single data breach can cause substantial personal and financial losses for both businesses and customers. This is why companies are investing in cybersecurity to fortify their security infrastructure.
Cybersecurity is the body of technology that protects software, hardware, and other computerised systems from unauthorised access and threats. Therefore, cybersecurity experts are gaining prominence around the world. According to the Data Security Council of India, as many as 64,000 cybersecurity jobs are currently open in India.
From a full-fledged Executive PG Program with a Cybersecurity Specialisation to shorter Postgraduate Certificate Courses, there are many ways to develop domain-specific skills. Such advanced training facilitated by reputed institutes adds credibility to your profile, making you an appealing candidate for potential employers.
Here are a few cybersecurity career paths:
- Ethical Hacker – Attempts to identify vulnerabilities in the systems and exploits them with a view of entering the mindset of the hacker and preventing attacks.
- Security Engineer – Establishes best practices and standards for the security of data, networks, and systems. They also implement, maintain, and upgrade security measures.
- Malware Analyst – An expert-level engineer adept at understanding the behaviour of malware and ransomware, they detect harmful files to prevent damage and system breach.
- Chief Security Officer – Oversees mitigation programs, compliance, implementation of security risk strategies, and so on.
Blockchain technology stores collected information as electronic blocks that can be further chained to previously filled blocks of information. It is a database that is transparent and completely decentralised, meaning there is no third-party involvement in any transaction. From personal identity management and secure data sharing to cryptocurrency exchanges and anti-money-laundering tracking systems, blockchain applications are aplenty.
Advanced Certifications in Blockchain can help you become well-versed with the fundamentals and demonstrate your skills to employers, particularly for the following positions:
- Frontend Engineer – Builds blockchain apps and digital solutions that are functional and easy to use by the public.
- Tech Architect – Works with Research & Development teams to infuse blockchain into the design of database architecture.
- Software Developer – Builds applications on the blockchain architecture and protocols.
- Crypto Community Manager – Takes care of the expectations of developers, users, investors, and speculators in a crypto project.
4. Robotic Process Automation
Robotic Process Automation (RPA), also known as software robotics, combines the two disciplines to deliver solutions that automate repetitive processes. Intelligent customer service chatbots, automated employee onboarding, payroll processing applications, and task tracking are some examples of this RPA.
You would need a good grasp of the fundamentals of AI and ML to move on this career track, which includes jobs like:
- RPA Analyst – Identifies potential automation opportunities in business operations and proposes an RPA strategy.
- RPA Developer – Designs and implements bots that reduce manual tasks, hence saving time and money.
- RPA Architect – A seasoned software professional who delivers an automation solution architecture with no glitches.
3. Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing refers to the availability of computer resources (such as storage) over the internet, eliminating the need for direct management by the user and making way for on-demand data access. It is one of the most in-demand technology careers today, with more and more companies looking to host their data centres on the cloud in a secure manner.
With the right training in cloud computing, you can pursue the following career tracks:
- Cloud Reliability Engineer – Assesses the current processes to highlight potential issues and manages the reliability of operations to avoid product failures.
- Cloud Infrastructure Engineer – Designs systems and networks required for storing data remotely, accessing it online, and connecting with clients.
- Cloud Security Architect – Plans, analyses, designs, configures, and implements the security architecture, supporting the client’s cloud infrastructure.
- DevOps Cloud Engineer – Builds software delivery pipelines and deploys services using orchestration tools to automate the cloud infrastructure.
6. Big Data Analytics
In the information age, making sense of data is paramount. Data Science is about organising and interpreting complex data and turning it into valuable insights, resulting in better decisions. Big data analytics allows you to peek deep into colossal volumes of data and understand the hidden patterns that lie within. Companies can use these insights to enhance their business strategies. Today, big data analytics plays a significant role in medical science as well.
The standard curriculum of data science programs focuses on equipping candidates with skills like predictive analytics, data visualisation, machine learning, natural language processing, etc.
This education can help you take on jobs like:
- Data Analyst – Uses data analysis tools to scrutinise statistical information and interpret it, making it useful for decision-making.
- Data Engineer – Finds trends in data sets and applies technical skills to make raw data understandable and purposeful for enterprises.
- Data Scientist – Combines computer science, math, and statistical modelling to extract meaning from large data sets and solve vexing problems.
- Decision Scientist – Looks at data analysis from the lens of solving specific problems and challenges for the client.
Apart from these trending technologies, there are other modern arenas that are driving the fourth industrial revolution as we know it today.
7. Internet of Things (IoT)
This promising technology has close links with AI & ML fundamentals, networking, data analytics, automation, and design knowledge. IoT involves digital devices being connected to each other and exchanging data via the internet. These devices can be smart home appliances, autonomous cars, wearable gadgets, etc.
Knowledge of machine learning algorithms, data science, experience in Hadoop and Apache Spark, and agile application development can set you apart from the competition if you want to apply for IoT-related roles. Generally, the project team comprises developers, programmers, UI/UX designers, and engineers.
8. Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR)
While VR completely immerses the user into a simulated environment or an artificial world (for example, virtual play stations), AR places digital elements on real-life scenarios such that they can be viewed on a camera or smartphone (for instance, Snapchat/Instagram filters, Google Lens, Pokemon Go). We are also witnessing developments towards Mixed Reality (MR), which combines the abilities of VR and AR. Microsoft’s Hololens is a stellar demonstration – it brings digital components into the real world and allows users to interact with them.
You can find multiple posts like Software Engineer, Technician, Project Lead, Business Developer, Marketing Manager, etc., in tech companies that are venturing into AR/VR technologies. Employers tend to prefer candidates to have basic knowledge of programming, design aptitude and an eye for detail.
9. 5G Technology
Mobile technologies like 5G are going to power the next-gen cellular networks and services. 3G and 4G technologies have made it possible for us to enjoy data-driven services, browse the internet, and stream music and films on our smartphones with increased bandwidths. Now, 5G is expected to revolutionise the game altogether by bringing in capabilities of VR, AR, and cloud-based gaming to the mainstream.
These functionalities can be transferred to factories, traffic management systems, grid controls, and even the retail sector. In the telecommunications industry, 5G Integration Engineer, Network Architect, Service Executive, and Product Developer are the current in-demand roles.
10. 3D printing
Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing focuses on producing a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design model or digital model. The technology has extensive applications across education, research, architecture, construction, and industrial manufacturing. People with a background in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) tend to be highly suited for these jobs.
Since the work encompasses the creation of user-friendly products, 3D printing companies can prove to be attractive destination for software development professionals and computer programmers. They can write program code to improve the 3D printed objects and strive to maintain testability and scalability, interacting with cross-functional teams.
Latest Technology Jobs
According to the WEF report The Future of Jobs 2020, there is a rising scope for the following jobs in India:
- AI & ML Specialists
- Data Analysts and Scientists
- Big Data Experts
- IoT Specialists
- Information Security Analysts
- Business Development Professionals
- Project Managers
- Digital Marketing Specialists
- FinTech Engineers
- Software & App Developers
As you can see, the list includes conventional analyst career tracks, marketing and managerial jobs, and also new-age avenues in growing sectors like FinTech and IoT. These roles require individuals to apply both technical and soft skills. Successful candidates typically demonstrate good analytical and problem-solving abilities, creativity, communication, and team orientation. Most of these skills are transferable to non-traditional, arts-related careers as well.
Highest-Paying Salaries in Emerging Tech
We have compiled the average annual salaries for some in-demand positions below.
- AI Specialist: ₹15,50,000 (Source)
- ML Engineer: ₹703849 (Source)
- Project Manager: ₹15,24,325 (Source)
- Software Engineer: ₹5,80,000 (Source)
- Data Scientist: ₹8,31,187 (Source)
- IoT Engineer: ₹ 4,00,000 (Source)
- Blockchain Developer: ₹600,000 (Source)
- Digital Marketing Strategist: ₹9,50,000 (Source)
- Cyber Security Consultant: ₹8,80,000 (Source)
The pay packages offered in the latest technology fields also vary depending on educational qualifications, skill profile, and experience, in addition to the job location and industry. While the minimum eligibility to enter the job market in these domains is a bachelor’s or engineering degree, educational qualifications like postgraduate certifications and master’s degrees can increase your chances of earning a higher remuneration.
If you are looking to pursue a career in any such trending technology domain, we recommend evaluating your shortlisted study options beforehand.
Fortunately, advanced courses and certifications are available in a wide range of interdisciplinary subjects. You have the option of getting trained in 21st-century skills by devoting anywhere between 6 months to 24 months, depending on your learning needs and availability. Online programs are especially useful in this respect as they give you the flexibility to match your interests with industry trends. For instance, a Master in Computer Science program may allow you to brush up your fundamentals and also specialise in a particular domain like Big Data, Blockchain, Cyber Security, Cloud Computing, etc.
It is best to select a program that breaks down concepts into relevant learning modules and emphasises project-based teaching methods with industry-integrated mentoring. Such opportunities provide greater value addition. Additionally, peer networking and career guidance can bring that bonus layer to bring you closer to your professional goals. So, choose wisely!
With this, we come to the end of our discussion – trending technologies of 2021. We hope that the above-mentioned explanations and insights will help you remain abreast of the fast-evolving world, helping you make an informed choice about your career.