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Top 9 New Tech Trends for 2021

27/04/21 Neena Miskelly Senior Consultant, Electronics & Technology

The breakneck pace of technological change has only been accelerated by the pandemic, meaning it’s vital for tech and engineering professionals to stay up to date with trends to increase employability. Here are nine we think you should watch out for in 2021.

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

The first item on our list should be no surprise. Global spending on AI and cognitive systems is set to top $57 billion in 2021, with many AI professionals earning over £70,000+ a year. In the US, Forrester predicts 9% of new jobs will be in AI, machine learning, and automation by 2025, and figures are likely to be similar here.

AI makes it possible for us to unlock our smartphones with our faces, ask virtual assistants questions and streamline business processes as big data can now be analysed promptly.

Roles in AI include data scientists, machine learning engineers, business intelligence developers, robot monitoring professionals, content curators, and automation specialists.

2. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA, the sibling of AI and Machine Learning, is also automating back-office tasks. Many CIOs are turning to RPA to automate mundane rules-based business processes, enabling users to devote more time to serving customers or other high-value tasks. RPA in alignment with business goals can mean automating processes such as interpreting applications, dealing with data, processing transactions, and even answering emails. It handles repetitive tasks instead of humans. e.g. A bank redesigned its claim process by deploying 85 bots to run 13 processes, handling 1.5 million requests per year. The bank added the capacity of approximately 200 full-time staff.

Forrester estimates this will threaten around 9% of jobs worldwide but will also create new jobs and change existing; according to McKinsey, under 5% of roles can be fully automated, but 60% can be partly automated.

RPA roles include project manager, developer, business analyst, consultant, and solution architect.

3. Edge Computing

Edge computing is computing that’s performed at or near the source of the data, instead of relying on the cloud at one of the data centres. Edge computing helps to bypass the latency (speed), or bandwidth issues associated with cloud computing and get data into a data centre to be processed. It can even act as a mini data centre in areas with low or no connectivity. As the Internet of Things (IoT) expands, so will edge computing, reaching around $6.72 billion by 2022 and creating new roles for software engineers.

4. Quantum Computing

Quantum computing uses quantum phenomena like quantum entanglement and superposition, not just ones and zeros, to analyse data, and has helped prevent the spread of COVID-19 and develop vaccines. Quantum computers are, well, quantum leaps faster than normal computers, they are designed to solve complex problems that today’s most powerful supercomputers cannot solve, and the sector should be worth $2.5 billion by 2029. To win a role in this area, you’ll need experience in quantum mechanics, physics, probability, linear algebra, machine learning, and information theory.

5. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) creates an immersive environment; Augmented Reality (AR) enhances the real environment. This tech trend is moving beyond gaming to military, commercial, and educational applications. Starting a VR career doesn’t call for much specialised experience, just a forward-thinking mindset and solid programming skills in JAVA, C, or C++. Most AR apps run on mobile platforms, so knowledge of iOS or Android SDK is beneficial.

6. Blockchain

Similarly, blockchain is moving beyond cryptocurrencies to applications in many other industries, meaning the opportunities for skilled professionals are proliferating. Blockchain is now broader than finance and it can be applied to any multi-step transaction where traceability and visibility are required. Blockchain developers create architecture and solutions using the new technology and should have hands-on programming experience in the likes of Python, C#, C++, .Net as well as experience with data structures, databases, developing web apps, and networking.

7. Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT), refers to the billions of physical devices, objects, and appliances around the world that can now be connected to the internet and each other, collecting and sharing data. Connecting up these objects and adding sensors to them adds a level of intelligence to the device, enabling them to communicate real-time data. e.g. Smartwatches, driverless cars, and wearables. Now businesses are using the IoT to collect and analyse data, with worldwide spending set to hit $1.1 trillion by 2022 with analysts estimating there will be 42 billion connected IoT devices by 2025.

Roles in this sector can call for a knowledge of either wireless communication, AI and machine learning, information security, data analytics, electronic hardware interfacing, networking, automation, and embedded systems.

8. 5G

5G is the fifth-generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks. Worldwide deployment started in 2019, and 5G is the planned successor to the 4G network which provides connectivity to most current mobile phones. 5G is much faster than previous generations of wireless technology, with greater capacity, allowing thousands of devices in a small area to connect at the same time. The growth of 5G will boost the IoT, open up potential for new innovative services and enable products based on AR and VR. All the major telecom players are working on 5G applications, with many launches this year with a spread to around 50 countries by the end of the year.

9. Cyber Security

While cyber security or computer security itself isn’t new, the forms it’s taking in response to new threats are. As organisations and individuals try and reduce the risk of cyber-attack because smartphones, computers and the internet are now such a fundamental part of modern life the number of jobs in cybersecurity is growing at three times the speed of tech jobs in general. These roles offer promising and well-paid opportunities ranging from Chief Security Officer to Security Engineer to Ethical Hacker.

Redline Group has provided exceptional professional talent for the European Electronics and High-Technology industries since 1982, with Permanent, Contract and Interim recruitment strategies covering Executive, R&D & Engineering, Sales & Marketing, and Manufacturing & Operations disciplines.

We’ve achieved 4.8 Stars out of 5.0 ratings on Google Reviews and hundreds of Case Studies confirm it is not only WHAT we do, but HOW we do it that clients and candidates really appreciate.

For more information please contact Neena Miskelly or Redline Group on 01582 450054 or email info@RedlineGroup.com