Editor’s note: Business trade group CompTIA released its annual Cyberstates report earlier this week in which it assessed the state of technology across the US and world with a focus on tech jobs in America. North Carolina ranked well. In the following blog adopted from the report, CompTIA’s team offers an overview of emerging trends.

Increasingly, the world is defined less as one ‘next big thing,’ and rather, the iterative fusion of technology building blocks coupled with a generous helping of people and process. This may entail the stacking of foundational infrastructure and enabling components with emerging general-purpose technologies, such as AI, and then rounded out with data, an ‘as-a-service’ user experience, and business process optimization. The implications are both exciting – the ingredients of innovation have never been more accessible, and trying, as users and technology providers work to understand an ever-growing set of building blocks and how the pieces fit to drive digital transformation. Against this backdrop, CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook explores the forces shaping the information technology industry, its workforce, and its business models in the year ahead.

Cloud, Edge and 5G Form the Modern Economic Infrastructure

The most recent waves of technological innovation – sometimes referred to as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” are redefining business and society. This suggests not only a drastic change in the way work is done, but a new foundational infrastructure, starting with a holistic transition to cloud computing. Advances in edge computing and 5G networking will further extend computing, intelligence, and connectivity, rounding out the modern economic infrastructure.

Digital-Human Models Begin to Shape the Workplace of Tomorrow

While the dire warnings of “the robots are coming for our jobs” tend to draw the headlines, the reality of the situation is far more nuanced. Beyond the extreme positions, there is a hybrid model whereby humans leverage and act on technology; and intelligent technology proactively does the same to workers. The impact of digital-human models will likely be far-reaching and require ongoing investments in people and process.

Report: North Carolina among top high tech job-producing states

Persistent Tech-Worker Shortages Fuel New, Creative Solutions

The demand for tech talent routinely exceeds supply in many markets. Consequently, employers can no longer fall back on status quo approaches to developing, recruiting, and retaining talent. From rethinking screening criteria, such as eliminating the 4-year degree threshold, to further leveraging
apprenticeships, partnerships, flexible training and work arrangements, and performance-based certifications, employers increasingly recognize the
need for creative problem solving.

Global Tech Hubs Put Spotlight on the Ingredients for Innovation

The ingredients of innovation have never been more accessible. With little more than a broadband connection and a credit card, a startup can spin up
powerful, scalable compute and storage capacity with minimal investment. Add in open source code, stackable technologies, talent marketplaces, and
creative financing and the ingredients are all there for innovation to flourish. The data bear this out as tech hubs have sprouted up across the globe

Technology Professionals Take the Lead in Anticipating Unintended Consequences

From the global economy to everyday activities, technology continues to change the world in profound ways. However, for those working in technology, this is not a chance to simply claim victory and reap rewards. Changes at the scale made possible by technology will inevitably cause ripple effects. Those effects have been coming to light over the past year, from security and privacy incidents to AI bias to technology that is not quite ready for prime time.

IoT and AI Open New Possibilities in Ambient Computing

As the Internet of Things continues to grow, every imaginable object will have the potential to be a computing device, collecting data and providing new capabilities. With the wide spread of computing power, artificial intelligence will automate tasks to reduce complexity and scan the environment to understand context. The net result will be ambient computing, with activity that was once confined to a device now taking place seamlessly with minimal user interaction.

Hyper-personalization Takes Customer Experience to Next Level

Today’s customers are more tech-savvy, more diverse, and more finicky than ever. From desiring seamless customer service to demanding myriad digital options for commerce, many buyers are no longer just looking for the right product, but also seeking a satisfying experience in attaining it. The catch word is “hyperpersonalization.” This model takes the time-honored concept of customer segmentation to the extreme.

Distributed Technology Models Challenge Existing Structures

The past year has not been especially kind to blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies (DLT). Cryptocurrency values have fallen precipitously, and killer apps have not yet emerged. Other types of distributed technology, such as distributed databases or the Tor browser, leverage distributed networks to extend established architectural concepts. DLT takes things a step further, introducing an entirely new architectural approach made possible by distributed networks and cryptography. In theory, DLT provides an improved method for recording many types of digital transactions.

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