Main image of article 10 Technologies Your Boss Thinks Will Shape the Future

If you work in tech, you know that keeping an eye on emerging technologies is vital to your job. Which technologies will go mainstream over the next few years, and which will fade away? The answer to that question can have a sizable impact on your long-term career.   

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Gallup recently polled 3,000 U.S. workers and 1,170 employers about digital skills training. As part of that survey, the company and the research firm asked employers about the technologies they thought would become a “standard part of doing business in the future.” Here’s what those employers said:

For starters, 5G seems like a no-brainer, given how eventually all mobile devices will end up on that standard. The rise of artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning also seems inevitable, especially since many organizations are already figuring out how to best deploy A.I.-powered chatbots like ChatGPT. Given companies’ need to crunch massive amounts of data and accelerate their digital processes, edge computing will only become more mainstream, too.

Beyond that, the fate of some of these technologies is anyone’s guess. While quantum computing is indeed promising, it’s very much in the experimental stage; incredible advances could ensure companies are relying on quantum computing as a service by the end of the decade, but there’s also every chance the technology remains highly specialized for the foreseeable future. While blockchain is popular in the context of cryptocurrency, many companies don’t yet rely on the technology for “smart contracts” and other proposed uses—but that could easily change.

Can virtual and augmented reality, coupled with the “metaverse” (which is ultimately Meta’s attempt at creating a buzzword for an AR/VR ecosystem), become as ubiquitous to businesses as laptops and phones? Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook hope so, but AR and VR currently remain a niche product targeted mostly at gamers. The tech industry will need to prove the business use-case for AR/VR headsets if it wants to see widespread adoption.

With tech, it’s impossible to predict what will come next. Nobody in 2005 could have told you that a mobile phone from Apple would create a huge, burgeoning market for apps and services by 2008. If you’re a tech professional, that uncertainty is a bit frustrating, because you don’t want to waste time and energy learning technologies that will only fade away. That being said, it’s always worth keeping an eye on tech that business leaders think will become huge over the next several years, and at least taking the time to learn about them in a very top-level way.