Job opportunities in the IT sector continue to flourish across Australia with growth of 36.9% predicted between 2016 and 2020. This is great news for those wishing to gain new tech skills or qualifications as well as those interested in creativity, marketing and business. These are exciting times for employment and gaining the correct skills will help us all to keep up with developments. Here we predict the big tech trends to expect in 2017:
Augmented reality and virtual reality
With the successful launch of the Oculus Rift VR headset, the subsequent wave of VR game releases and the massive interest generated around Pokemon Go, 2016 demonstrated that the world is more than ready for both virtual reality (where the user is immersed in an alternate version of reality) and augmented reality (where technology is layered over reality). This tech is set to take off big time during 2017 with companies rushing to move ideas and development into a range of gadgets and apps including mapping, online education and even Microsoft’s proposed VR version of Windows 10.
Out of the two technologies, augmented reality is set to grow faster because it has less practical application issues than virtual reality. Whilst jobs for VR and AR developers in Australia are only just starting to appear, they are big news in the US suggesting an emerging global trend. AR and VR roles can found in a range of industries, not just the tech sector so look out for roles in unexpected places. Those interested in these types of roles should consider talking to industry experts and undertaking an IT course to boost their current level of experience.
With smart shoes that measure your golf performance, smart rings that give social media alerts and wristbands that handle payments, wearable technology is set to continue developing at leaps and bounds in 2017. The biggest trend in wearables will continue to be smart watches with Google, Fitbit and Apple all racing to pack more innovative technology in their diminutive devices. The market is competitive and companies will be looking to recruit those with the right combination of creative innovation and systems development qualifications. This trend is relatively unpredictable because of its growth speed, but perhaps the most interesting potential development is the introduction of tech tattoos to monitor health and confirm identity.
User Experience (UX)
In a such competitive and fast developing sector such as IT, the customer has control. This is why so many IT professionals are prioritising UX development and why user experience is moving into areas beyond average consumer expectations. We may not see all of these come to fruition in 2017, but behind the scenes expect developers to be working on, amongst others: hapnotic feedback (the interaction of touch between a device and the user), de-linearity (giving users more freedom with navigation options), interstitial optimisation (utilising the time gaps between page loads) and age-responsive design (interfaces that adjust according to age and ability).
Clearly there is some scope here for those with a flair for creativity and a sound knowledge of design principles. As well as IT know-how, UX is an area in which marketing and management qualifications also could come into play.
Perhaps unusual for an IT trend, the IoT or ‘Internet of Things’ is taking longer to take off than first imagined. The concepts are great: coffee machines that know when you are waking up, lights that turn off when nobody is at home and of course we already have the Smart Meter, which allows us to monitor our power usage and is at the precipice of improving our energy usage and output.
What has been missing here is not the specific apps and tools but rather a single platform that will join these together and provide us with a wholly connected experience. For 2017, expect to see one of the bigger technology players like Amazon or Google come forward with a suitable one-stop user experience solution. Whilst jobs with the big boys might be hard to grab, smaller employers are going to need people with the skills to integrate IT and business if they want to keep their products in line with this trend.
The advancement of technology and the improvement of internet speed around the country has led to a massive growth in the popularity of online learning. With an eye on enhancing learner experience and promoting student success, organisations such as RTOs (Registered Training Organisations) are keen to capitalise on new technical trends.
Most online learning platforms are now optimised for tablet and mobile use but in order to take advantage of this, teaching tools will provide smaller, bite size portions of learning that will fit into say, a wait at a train station or a coffee break. These might include quick quizzes, video snippets or topic discussion boards. Mobile technology will also allow for the increased use of geo-location and augmented reality learning, with students gathering information in-situ and feeding back to each other and tutors.
Video will continue to form an important element of online learning but will also be used to encourage student interaction, with decision point questions throughout, group discussions after and interactive assessments. With capability similar to Facebook Live, online education videos will become an exciting, interactive space in which to learn.
Another online education trend that will continue to grow is the enhanced use of big data to measure student performance. The amount of data available to online providers is enormous and it can all be used to measure results against variables including student login counts, delivery methods, task completion rates and demographics. This information will go a long way towards improving and develop learning experiences, leading to courses that are tailored to suit individual learners.
The tech industry is an exciting and fulfilling place to be and there has never been a better time to find online training and qualification opportunities that will help you to be a part of this dynamic industry. Employers are crying out for a self-motivated workforce that is prepared to learn, develop and create. Choosing the right qualification could be your first step along a stimulating and financially rewarding career pathway.
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