April 20, 2018  |  Purdue University Global  |  Updated February 26, 2020

It's no wonder information technology professionals are in high demand. Everything from vehicles to homes to the devices we wear is becoming connected, and all types of organizations rely on technology more than ever. As the world increases its reliance on technology, the field of IT also grows.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook reports employment in the computer and information technology fields is expected to grow 12% from 2018 to 2028.* Software developers, computer network architects, information security analysts, computer and information systems managers, database administrators, and many more skilled professionals are needed to drive innovation and protect systems from cyber threats.

Here are five trends affecting the state of IT today.

IT Trend 1: Automation Hyperdrive

Faster actions that can be deployed immediately, without the need for manual work, make up one of the most powerful components of current technology. Automation enables IT systems to use data to predict cause and effect so they can self-monitor and fix problems quickly. According to Deloitte's Tech Trends 2019 report, “automation is the keystone that makes meaningful efficiency and cost reduction achievable.”

Today’s IT professionals create the technology that makes automation more efficient, but the IT professionals of the future will recommend and develop unique solutions that use this technology.

IT Trend 2: Machine Learning

Effective machine learning is needed for tasks to be successfully automated. In addition to focusing on automation, expect organizations to ramp up artificial intelligence usage in both in-house processes and external services. For example, more than 300,000 chatbots have been built on Facebook's Messenger platform, generating more than 8 billion messages a day, according to VentureBeat. This is a practical use case of machine learning that affects millions of Facebook users.

IT professionals optimize machine learning and make it more accurate for organizations, businesses, and customers. Machine learning is already powering self-driving cars, online recommendations, and brand sentiment collection from customer feedback and reviews.

Operating systems, hardware, and in-house software can provide data that can be analyzed with machine learning to predict trends and patterns, which can also help organizations protect themselves from fraud and cybersecurity threats.

IT Trend 3: Cybersecurity

Although cybersecurity is nothing new, damages from cybercrime are expected to rise to $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015, CSO reports. Cybersecurity spending is projected to exceed $1 trillion from 2017 to 2021. The increase in threats could triple the number of cybersecurity jobs that are unfilled, reaching 3.5 million by 2021.

Expertise in combating cyber threats will be an essential skill for IT professionals. This type of crime permeates the lives of all computer users and requires experts who can fight it. National security, business dealings, infrastructure, and more are all vulnerable to cyber threats. Using machine learning and automation to detect threats, IT pros can alert stakeholders to risks their organizations are facing and more proactively manage such risks.

IT Trend 4: Cloud Computing

The exclusive use of physical servers continues to diminish as more systems move to the cloud. According to the RightScale 2019 Cloud Trends report, for which 786 IT professionals were surveyed:

  • 94% of respondents use the cloud
  • 84% of enterprises use a multicloud strategy
  • Companies plan to spend 24% more on public cloud in 2019 vs. 2018

As the need for data collection becomes more prevalent, so does cloud adoption. Cloud computing expertise is a required skill for most IT professionals today and will be more necessary for organizations across diverse industries.

IT Trend 5: Internet of Things

Connected devices are everywhere, from smart watches and in-car navigation systems to vacuums, farm robots, cameras, and health care equipment. The global Internet of Things (IoT) market is expected to reach $167.1 billion by 2027, according to a Kenneth Research report published by MarketWatch, and there will be more than 20 billion connected devices by 2020, according to the 2019 State of IoT Report from Particle.

Businesses will come to rely on more intelligent things in the office, too, from smart boards to remote video capabilities. If the objects we use in everyday situations can be made more efficient with technology, look for innovators to create ways to make it so.

IT Is More Important Than Ever

IT is continually changing and evolving, making this an exciting field to enter. With the projected job growth for IT experts moving at a faster than average pace, pursuing an education in IT can open the door to an array of fulfilling opportunities. Consider joining associations such as:

If you're interested in earning a higher education in information technology, learn more about information technology degrees and certificates from Purdue University Global. Request more information today.

About the Author

Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global delivers a fully personalized, world-class education online that's tailored for adults. We offer 175 programs, including associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees as well as certificates, in areas such as business, IT, education, health sciences, nursing, criminal justice, and more.


* National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

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