The tech industry is evolving at an exponential rate, and with it comes new opportunities that didn’t exist ten or even five years ago. Here are some of those newer jobs to jump on while they’re hot:
Autonomous Driving Software Engineers
We all know that vehicles are going to become increasingly autonomous. But how autonomous? Business strategist and author Daniel Burrus, an expert on global trends and innovations, imagines that semi-autonomous will be the mainstay: “I like to drive. A lot of people like to drive. What we don’t like is accidents, so what we’re really going to do is create driving as an option and eliminate accidents.” For tech pros, autonomous driving requires knowledge of artificial intelligence systems, refined GPS and navigation systems, and software design. The field also has a need for hardware designers and manufacturers, given all of the sensors, motors, and actuators necessary for cars to detect and react to the environment. “All of those areas are ripe for continued growth around the idea of autonomous and semi-autonomous systems. There are probably about a dozen different jobs growing out of the array I’ve mentioned,” Burrus added.
Augmented Reality Engineers and Designers
Companies are already hiring in the virtual reality (VR) space, as well as augmented reality (AR). For those who are new to those technologies, virtual reality immerses the user completely in a digital world, whereas augmented reality superimposes digital elements such as holograms on the user’s real-world view. If VR and AR truly take off—and there’s a lot of money being invested in both segments right now—it seems unlikely that firms will be able to find all the specialized experts they’ll need to meet their demand. In light of that, especially if you’re a software developer, sysadmin, system analyst, or user support specialist, consider honing the following skills: computer vision, 3D modeling, and mobile development (via frameworks such as Unity 3D). As with autonomous vehicles, there’s also a hardware component: AR and VR firms will need tech pros who can ensure that all components in VR headsets or AR glasses mesh seamlessly with software and peripherals. For his part, Burrus believes that 3D design will transcend augmented reality and start to be used in everyday web browsers, as well: “Think of it as your web browser looking like an Xbox video game, where you can go into virtual environments or have them stick out at you. Then, putting that out as a mobile version is also going to be really really big.” CAD designers, take note.
Internet of Things Architects
The Internet of Things keeps growing, encompassing not just our fitness trackers and watches, but also thermostats and televisions and refrigerators. Having familiarity with hardware is a must, since these are physical items that need to be produced, manufactured, and rapidly updated, which presents its own set of challenges. Other jobs that will become widely available as the Internet of Things grows include creating both wired and wireless sensors, and designing the software that goes in each sensor or motor. “It isn’t just large software design, it’s also designing very small amounts of software that are connected to the machine, that’s connecting it to another machine to do things,” Burrus said. Then there’s the work of actually installing all of the sensors and getting the machines to talk to one another.