Staying current with technology isn't just about learning the latest language. It's about understanding the direction of the industry as a whole so you can continue to find challenging opportunities that allow you to grow. Inc. points out three trends that will shape IT during the next year:
Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things—sensor-based devices connected to the Internet—has been steadily growing, with smart thermostats, smart door locks, and even smart light bulbs finding their way into homes. But the Industrial Internet of Things, where IoT devices are embedded into factories and other workplaces, will be an ever bigger user of these devices. Advances in technology including RFID, near field communications, and iBeacon make it easy for devices to get online.
Life keeps speeding up, and no one has any patience for waiting anymore. With apps like Uber, no one needs patience either. It's not just car transportation that's on demand now; it's everything: transportation, food, entertainment, and other services are now available on demand. There's even talk of the Uberification of healthcare. Uber itself even provided healthcare, briefly letting customers call for a nurse to give a flu shot.
Alternatives to banks.
Peer-to-peer lending is growing, thanks to tightened standards at traditional institutions. After the 2008 economic crisis, banks became stricter about who they'd lend to. At the same time, technology platforms make microloans and other forms of lending possible, providing alternative financing sources to those turned away by the big firms. Some sites have a narrow focus, meeting the need in specific niches.
Being aware of these trends can help you make career decisions, but that doesn't mean you'll miss out on opportunities if you work in a different business domain and don't want to switch. The great advantage of technology is that it can be applied to any industry, so there will always be opportunities for technical workers with good skills. Look into the technology behind these trends, develop the skills, and find ways to bring it to whatever industry you work in.