Technology trends for 2020 & what it means for tech jobs

The world is adapting at a rapid pace, racing towards a technologically advanced place. Developers and software engineers are busy at work innovating new technologies to transform the way we work, play and create in our everyday lives. 2020 will be the year of AI-as-a-Service, Computer Vision, 5G and Extended reality, but what products and technologies will these create and what does it mean for tech jobs going forward? 

AI-as-a-service (AIaaS)

What is it?

AI is nothing new, in fact, it spans back as far as 1956, but, AI-as-a-service is a fairly new extension of this. To put it into perspective, back in 2008 the AIaaS market was worth $5.6 billon but it’s predicted in 2020 that figure is likely to hit $133 billion.

The four major vendors of AIaaS are currently tech giants; Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and IBM Developer Cloud. As their name suggests, the product offering is Web / Cloud API as well as Cloud based data archiving and storage.

Major development is currently taking place within these familiar products:

  • Chat bots and other forms of digital assistance
  • Cognitive computing systems
  • Machine Learning frameworks
  • Fully-managed machine learning

What does it mean for jobs?

It’s been predicted that as AIaaS rolls out and develops across many different companies, 133 million new jobs will be generated globally. In the UK alone, it is set to impact 10.5 million workers, not replacing them but enhancing their roles.

According to Craig Stewart, SVP Product at SnapLogic “Our research found the priority skills and attributes that organisations are looking for in their AI team are coding, programming and software development (35%), data visualisation and analytics (33%) and an understanding of governance, security and ethics (34%).”

Job Opportunities:

Companies such as Vodafone, Facebook, Amazon Web Services, Asos, IBM, Apple, various universities and the Ministry of Defence are all hiring for AI and ML roles at all levels:

  • AI Engineer / Data Scientist
  • AI Research Intern
  • Robotics & AI consultant
  • ML Engineer/ AI consultant
  • AI & Algorithm Scientist

As there are many variations of the job role, there are many different skill sets needed for a career in AI.

Sort after skills in the world of AI include; the ability to use TensorFlow, Caffe2, Keras, Microsoft Cognitive toolkit, Torch and Theano, with experience in; probability theory, data modelling, ML algorithms & software development techniques and language used to implement analytics solutions.

Facebook is just one of the many companies hiring to specifically focus on keeping on top of AI trends to continuously develop the Facebook product. The below is an example of their job ad for Research Scientist, focused on Artificial Intelligence, highlighting what they are looking for and an outline of the job description.


What is it?

2020 is claimed to be the year of 5G. We have started to see it rolled out to select networks in the UK (while the other networks will have to wait until 2025,) but its capability stretches way beyond our mobile phones. 5G will be the leading technology to enable machines, robots and autonomous vehicles to exchange data with their surroundings and the IoT.

What does it mean for jobs?

5G is opening the door to new and innovative tech that could transform the way we use everyday products, meaning the demand for developers is at an all-time high.

Some of these include:

  • Developing the limitations IoT currently faces: In a 4G world, there is only so much the Internet of Things can achieve. The development of 5G will speed up and increase reliability, vital for safety tech.
  • Robotics & drones: 5G will enable robots and drones to react quicker and in some cases, in real-time. For now, there is a 5G robot in North Korea who makes coffee but as the technology develops, expect to see the next-generation of robots being able to do much more.
  • Autonomous vehicles: the quicker the connection, the quicker the response time autonomous vehicles will be able to respond, particularly vital in safety situations.

Job Opportunities:

Companies such as Nokia, Samsung, Verizon and Oracle Agile are all hiring for various roles within developing 5G technology, including:

  • Software Engineer 5G
  • Senior Engineer 5G Research
  • International 5G Principal Architect
  • 5G Software Tester
  • 5G Technologist

Key skill sets include; a background in 3G/4G technology, knowledge of 5G and an excitement for the possibilities 5G can hold, develop complex simulations in MATLAB & develop code as part of a system level simulator and experience with PHY and MAC of wireless standards.

Below is an example of a job spec, focused on developing 5G technology.

Computer Vision

What is it?

It’s not just the dog filter on Snapchat, it’s also a vital part of many UK airports security.  If you’ve been on holiday within the last few years, you would have noticed a new way to go through passport control, this is computer vision at its finest.

In 2020 you’ll see a lot more systems using this tech, especially for security purposes, these include:

  • Autonomous vehicles: as well as 5G, computer vision will be one of the leading technologies needed to get these vehicles on the road. The computer vision part allows the vehicles to ‘see’ their surroundings, such as; objects, lane markings, signs and traffic signals.
  • Google Translate app: this will become your new holiday essential. As of July this year, the app can read signs almost instantly. All you’ll need to do is open the app, point your camera at a foreign sign, and the translations will appear.
  • Facial recognition: This isn’t new but it’s one that is constantly being developed for new and exciting products. One of these products is being developed by China for police work, extra security checkpoints at airports and payment portals.

What does it mean for jobs?

Currently, Google owns the most advanced driverless technology on the market, meaning that it’d only a matter of time before other companies begin to release their competing products. It’s such an important emerging technology that ‘Computer Vision Developer’ is now an official job title with the main industries pioneering this being; Electronics, eCommerce and Aerospace.

Job Opportunities:

Companies such as Amazon, Revolut, Google and Tesco are all working on developing Computer Vision and are hiring for a wide range of roles, including:

  • Data Scientist – Computer Vision
  • Deep Learning (Computer Vision) Applied Research Scientist
  • Computer Vision Researcher
  • Computer Vision Engineer
  • Applied Scientist, Computer Vision

Key skill sets include; Research, design, implement and evaluate computer vision algorithms to detect video and audio defects, building new machine learning models to automate Compliance processes, Python TensorFlow, Keras, PyTorch, experience with NoSQL DBs and experience with cloud-based infrastructure such as GCP or AWS.

Below is an example of a job spec for Amazon’s plans to build Computer Vision into their current product offering:  

Extended Reality (XR)

What is it?

AR and VR have been around for a while, used mainly for entertainment and gaming, but 2020 will see extended reality come into play. Used in simulations for training, extended reality aims to provide a safe and secure environment. For now, one of the main focuses is the medical industry, where students can practice surgeries without risk to the patients.

What does it mean for jobs?

According to Forbes, working on Extended Reality software is an incredibly high demand position to be in but it will be worth it. In the future, XR will change the way we train, work and play, meaning the race to develop new innovative before their competition will immediately place them as leaders in their field. Costs are higher for developing this product, down to the fact that it is such an emerging technology that will require new rules and guidelines for development. 

Job Opportunities:

Companies such as Accenture, IMB ix, Facebook, various universities and even the UK Government are all hiring for XR specialists:

  • XR Software Developer
  • XR Games Senior Designer
  • Graphics Programmer: Computer Vision & XR
  • Infrastructure Support Specialist: XR
  • Senior XR Engineer

Key skill sets include; experience using C++, knowledge of at least one popular HMD (I.e. Oculus, HTC Vive, Hololens,) experience of Unreal (ideal) or Unity, and application development and CAD modelling software packages such as 3DSMax, Blender or similar tools to support XR workflows. Below is an example of a job spec for developing XR for training and safety purposes:

Over the last few years, development on all these areas has excelled, and companies have had to as to not fall behind their competitors. Tech titans, Google and Microsoft are releasing new technologies led by AI, AIaaS, Machine Learning, Computer Vision and XR, with no signs of stopping developing any time soon. Will we find ourselves living in a sci-fi film, sooner than we think?

If you enjoyed this blog, you’ll also like ‘3 developing technologies that are shaping the future’ and ‘5 fastest growing languages of 2020.’

Alternatively, if any of the above has you thinking about your next career move, we have expert consultants who have placed many roles within these fields. If you would like more information or advice, give us a call on 0117 4280600.

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