Global trends for the next ten years part 2

The fourth Industry revolution is driven mostly by the advance of technology but how fast it happens is depending on the number of skilled workers available. Following are several areas that have a severe shortage of skilled workers and it may take more than ten years to fill this gap.

Cloud computing is not new but it can help businesses increase productivity and efficiency by optimizing their information systems with flexibility and scalability. With smart load balancing algorithms, cloud providers can spread the traffic to the application evenly to avoid slowdown or system crash and keep the business running nonstop. Top cloud computing providers such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM Cloud are expanding their services worldwide but could not find enough skilled workers in those countries. As more and more companies are moving everything to the cloud, the shortage of skilled workers is getting more severe. Requirements for Cloud Computing Jobs: Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Information Technology with courses in Cloud Computing.

3D printing is another fast-growing segment especially for the prototyping in the manufacturing industry. While 3D printing technology is still evolving, it has a lot of promising applications. It is possible to “print” many things, from small electronic circuits, household utensils to larger things like a house, or complex thing like human organs but it still cannot be done on the scale of massive production such as an assembly-line factory yet. Students who are not familiar with 3D printing technology would think that this is a very difficult area. The fact is 3D printing jobs require more about the creative idea instead of technology because the printer will do most of the work. Most 3D jobs do NOT require a degree, even a degree is preferred. Most of the jobs list that candidate to have a creative mind in design, drawing, photography, modeling, and some programming skills to design the product on the 3D software and let the printer to print it.

The fastest growing segments in the next ten years probably is the Internet of Things (IoT) or devices that connect many things together. With devices that have sensors connect wirelessly to others, they form a network that can perform many functions. From smartphones, smart devices in your house, your car, and even your clothes to the network of multiple devices from your home or office, these devices can monitor air quality and temperature to turning off fans and lights when rooms are not used. It can keep track of the movement of people, product, and vehicles as well as track your health and activities etc. Requirements for IoT jobs: A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Information System Management with skills in Embedded systems, Networking, Network Security, Computer programming (Java, Python) Machine learning, Mobile apps development, and User interface design.

Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR) are another fast-growing areas with many promising applications.

AR refers to the adding of digital objects, such as images, text boxes, interactive buttons, videos, etc. in a real-world context. VR refers to the creation of a completely virtual world, one in which you can look in any direction and find yourself within. These technologies are evolving fast but they are already gaining a lot of attention in medical training and diagnostic and computer games industry. Most AR/VR jobs require a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Information System Management with some courses in AR/VR technology.

As more people are using technology, more data can be collected and Big data is another area that will grow larger and faster than predicted. Almost every company is now collecting data from diverse sources to find correlation patterns that help them to make a better prediction of customer analysis, operational efficiency, and preventing fraud, etc. Some Big Data Jobs require a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Statistics. Top jobs such as Data Analyst, Data Engineer, and Data Scientist requires a Master’s degree or even a Doctorate degree.

Today most Big data analysis are done by humans but the large-scale analysis is always done by machine learning algorithms for faster and more appropriate decisions. These machine self-learning programs can collect many pieces of information, identify certain patterns and come up with recommendations much faster than humans. Machine learning (ML) is currently being used mostly in the pharmaceutical and medicine industry, but it is spreading to healthcare, education, and transportation industry. Most jobs in Machine learning require a Master’s degree in Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, and Statistics.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the systems that can think, adapt and decide after analyzing various data and factors. This is a new area that growing faster than most people have predicted. AI is being used in many complex areas, from medicine, healthcare, and research laboratories. AI is also used by service providers to forecast demand based on key parameters, extrapolate it based on new conditions to determine resources and material requirements. It is also used in Finance to identify competitive price points and manage dynamic pricing, and trends in market transactions. Most of the jobs in the AI area requires at least a Master’s degree and Doctorate.

According to several studies, within the next ten years, many of these advanced technology areas will mature and the industrial revolution will move to the next phase called the “convergence phase” where all of these technologies will be connected to create a new era. (Some people called it Industrial Revolution 4.1 but other called it Industrial Revolution 5.0) For example, AI and ML will be integrated with AR/VR applications to give you real-time, real-world data. AI and ML will be integrated with smart robots who can perform many dangerous jobs instead of people, etc.

We are living in a fast-changing world with many new innovations, new concepts, and new technologies. what we need NOW is to open our mind to learn new things as they come. To live comfortably in the next ten years require all of us to develop the needed knowledge and skills by continuing to learn. This is the time for every family to invest in the education of their children, especially in STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.) To prosper in this world, every country needs to have a quality education with qualified teachers who dedicate to train the next generation of scientists, entrepreneurs, and engineers etc.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University