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11 technologies developers should explore now

Paul Heltzel | April 25, 2017
From machine learning to digital twins, opportunities abound in emerging (and converging) tech trends.

 

Data science

Data science is another hot area, requiring multidisciplinary skills that vary by industry. Requirements can include experience with machine learning and AI to take large amounts of data and shape it in a form that can be used to make business decisions.

“Skilled data scientists are in short supply, period,” says Spedding. “Specifically, I see areas where technology can be designed to ‘assist’ decisions, such as cognitive bots and guided analytics, to be high value-add opportunity areas.”

A thorough understanding of probability and statistics is key for those who want to work in this area, says Gary Kazantsev, who heads up the machine learning group at Bloomberg. “Add in some engineering skills, as the need to be capable to write some code to build a system will never go away, though with the emergence of tools like TensorFlow or Jupyter notebooks, this too is getting a whole lot easier. They also need good research skills—that is, the ability to form a hypothesis and test it, read the current literature, and stay up to date.”

Gunter Ollmann, chief security officer at Vectra, says he currently sees firms treat data scientists separately from engineering and research and development teams. But he doesn’t think that approach will last.

“As the deep learning and machine learning tools improve, and boot camp training courses become more adept at bringing senior engineers up to speed in data science, the division between data science and engineering will disappear. All engineers need to be good at math. Now they need to also master the math of data science. The fusion of skill sets and ability to wield both hammers will be mandatory going forward.”

Blockchain

This means of creating a distributed ledger for transactions offers benefits in transparency and security, though a lack of standardization may slow its adoption across wide industries.

Peter Loop, associate vice president and principal technology architect at Infosys, is bullish on the technology: “Despite misconceptions that blockchain is years away, we’ll see full deployments in financial services, insurance, and health care industries next year. This will completely disrupt our payment systems on an international scale.”

Other emerging tech has a steeper learning curve, says Robert Bardunias, co-founder and chief revenue officer of IRIS.TV, who is excited by the inherent entrepreneurial focus of blockchain.

“These technologies are growing with real operational business applications in mind from day zero, so there’s no need on the development side to try to imagine case use—they are happening and growing in real time,” Bardunias says. “The real overwhelming challenge for those looking to develop skills in these areas will be how to keep up with new developments and evolutions. I remember when I was learning secondary development skills, reading industry trade websites—and magazines, it was a long time ago—were the last thing I wanted to do, but it’s a real part of today’s learning mix as a developer looking to build and maintain a competitive edge in the global market.”

 

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