No industry is immune to advances in technology – and far too many people learn this the hard way. Whether you’re looking to enhance your job security, climb the corporate ladder, or even make yourself a more competitive applicant in the hiring process, taking the time to future-proof yourself can have significant returns now and in the future.
Future-proofing yourself mainly requires that you keep your awareness of new technological developments current. When an employer, or a potential employer, mentions “big data” or the “Internet of Things,” you shouldn’t scratch your head and give him or her a blank stare. If you’re really a go-getter, you can take the future-proofing process a step further and commit yourself to acquiring new skills that relate to these technologies, like learning a programming language, learning about big data analytics, and even learning your way around certain cloud computing platforms.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important technologies to get a handle on in the coming year.
Coding – Arguably the most in-demand skill worldwide, programming is regarded as the core skill of the 21st century. Even if you have no experience, coding has never been easier to learn. There are a number of free sites, like Codecademy, that offer interactive tutorials for a variety of languages including HTML, Java, and Python. There has also been a rise in intensive coding bootcamps throughout the United States.
Big Data – Each and every day, mountainous volumes of data are collected and businesses worldwide, in industries ranging from healthcare to finance, are looking for ways to organize and analyze it. Big data analytics is concerned with handling, interpreting, and finding ways to make use of these extensive datasets. Take a look at these interesting big data case studies.
Cloud Computing – The cloud plays a role in everything from enhancing data security to improving collaboration. It can cut costs, enhance flexibility, reduce disaster management tolls on organizations, and allow for better control over documents. Cloud computing is, according to IBM, the delivery of on-demand computing resources (from applications to data centers) over the Internet on a pay-for-use basis.
Amazon Web Services (a cloud provider) is now a $7 billion a year business. Let’s put that into perspective. In the third quarter of 2015, AWS generated $521 million in operating income… nearly as much as Amazon’s entire eCommerce business in North America ($528 million).
Mobile – People in the United States are spending more time on mobile devices than on desktops and other media. Mobile eCommerce figures are on the rise. Even Google has added mobile optimization to its ranking algorithm! It’s now more important than ever for companies to design fully-functional, well-optimized mobile sites and to enhance their mobile strategies at-large.
Companies are working to enhance the mobile experience of their customers in other ways as well. For example, many financial institutions now allow users to deposit checks by photographing them with a smartphone.
Data Visualization – Data visualization is all about finding creative ways to get your message across; about the visual representation and enhancement of data. It’s one thing to collect data, another to analyze it, and another yet to arrange it in a meaningful way that cuts through the clutter and helps people to understand it in a visual context. Patterns, trends, and associations can get lost in text.
Understanding changes in technology, and the roles they play in your industry, can help you to future-proof yourself and protect (and enhance) your career. Taking the time to add familiarity with these elements to your arsenal of knowledge can go a long way toward increasing the value that you offer your organization.
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