The next "Hot areas"

A software engineering student wrote to me: “Technology is changing fast, how do I know which will be the next “Hot area” so I can learn new skills and take advantage of this trend to get good job? What would be the “Hot” areas in the next few years? Please advice.

Answer: To keep up with technology change, you must constantly read the news, especially technology news. Today there are many websites devote to technology news that you can monitor. However, most students do not pay attention at these news or following technology trends. They only read what professors assign to them and often quickly glance through these assigned readings rather than paying attention and ask question why these trends may happen.

The lack of knowledge of technology trends is a major problem to college students but the root cause is the lack of career preparation. Many students go to school without clear career direction. A majority of them still believe that their goal is to get a degree instead of building a career. Some told me that they like to get a degree first then thinking about getting a job later. Few admitted that as first or second year students, they do not even think about getting a job until they go to the last year or after graduation. That is why many graduate with degree but no job. That is why many students continue to study something that is already obsolete and no longer needed.

Basically, today career planning is about maximizing the opportunities to be successful by monitoring the trends and prepare your skills to catch the opportunity and do it faster than others. The main reason is new technology is emerging quickly and competitors can come from anywhere or any places. The passive waiting until obtain a degree than look for work is no longer practical as market can shift quickly. Today competition is fierce, only a few who can catch the opportunity will do well. If you miss an opportunity, you may not have a second chance. It is important that all students must constantly monitor the market trends and technology trends to know what is important and prepare for it.

Since you ask, I believe today “Hot areas” are Mobile technology, especially the 4G technologies, Big Data, and Cloud computing technologies. If you can keep up your skills in these areas, you will do well. These three areas have a significant growth opportunities by size (High global demand) and by potential (Key enablers for all IT industry) for the next several years. As a software student, you need to identify which area that you are interested in to learn more about it.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University