You don’t have to be a tech expert to realize that our world is advancing rapidly. With new upgrades to hardware and software popping up left and right, it’s obvious that things are accelerating; and it will certainly help to obtain it certifications.
While that’s a good thing for most people, it can also lead to worry, especially for those who are looking to work in the tech or engineering industries. With such quick changes, it’s difficult to decide which industries to invest time and energy into, let alone keep up with having all the essential knowledge and skills for new and upcoming technologies.

If that’s you, read on! We’ve done the legwork and found five key developments in the industry you should definitely keep in mind as you work towards a career in tech and engineering.


1. Automation

Long gone are the days where factories and manufacturing plants relied a hundred percent on human labor. Now, many processes are automated and function on their own with minimal human intervention needed. In factory plants, for instance, only a handful of people are needed to oversee the production of what used to be the work of tens, if not hundreds of factory workers. Some industries that see this actually happening are in agriculture, manufacturing, even retail, and trade.

And that’s good news for many countries, including Singapore. As fewer people are needed to do the manual work, more can now work on jobs that require higher skills. This includes jobs that require strategic planning and management skills — so if you’re looking to work in a related field in the future, having these soft skills is just as important as the knowledge of machinery.

On the other hand, if you’re going into different industries that traditionally don’t use automation, you might need to start picking up on some knowledge of these. Health and medicine, for one, is rapidly including more automation with medical robotics. Transportation is also becoming increasingly automated with new inventions like self-driving cars and self-diagnosing train cars, all designed to reduce reliance on human labor.


2. The Internet of Things

When the smartphone was first introduced, many people were wowed by the new hardware features. However, apart from things like a sensitive touch screen and voice recognition, there was something else revolutionary — what we now know as the Internet of Things.

In layman terms, it’s essentially an enormous network of things that can communicate and transfer data in realtime, even without physical contact. It happens every day, from when photos from your phone get transmitted to a cloud server, or when health data from your Fitbit enter your phone in realtime. The technology has evolved to a point that you can have an entire ecosystem of your own devices sharing all sorts of data about you all the time.

In the business world, the Internet of Things is also shaking things up. Many new business processes and systems have been designed to make full use of these systems to maximize benefits. Think real-time availability of data across continents, or the use of sensors onsite to send insights to people in other offices. The possibilities are almost endless. As such, it’s important more so now than ever to get familiar with such systems. It’s likely you’ll need to use them both in work and personal contexts.



3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

It was less than a hundred years ago when mathematician Alan Turing wondered if machines could think. Since then, however, we’ve gotten closer and closer to finding out if human intelligence can be artificially created in machines. And the answer seems to be affirmative.

Even right now, we see lots of progress in that direction. Take spam filters on your email, for example, where the AI learns to filter and delete spam without you having to click a single button. Or algorithms on streaming services like Spotify that learn what kind of content you enjoy and automatically offer you similar content. On the consumer level, there’s no question that AI is becoming increasingly widespread.

It’s no wonder then, that in the business world, AI is also gaining traction in almost all different kinds of industries. Perhaps it’s most obvious in the tech or engineering industry, with things like drone robots and prediction tools. However, AI doesn’t only exist in these industries. In fact, it’s present in many other fields like marketing, healthcare, and customer service, where intelligent conversational bots are used now to communicate with customers. In financial services, Robo-advisors are also getting more and more popular for stock trading.

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4. 3D Printing

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is one of the most exciting developments of the decade. In the past, these techniques and machinery were only used for specific, small-scale prototypes, but today 3D printing has evolved to become viable at large scales. With incredibly precise machines, patterns that are difficult to construct by hand can now be modeled digitally and printed accurately. Heavier models can even be printed with hollow interiors, such that the object is not too heavy.

For now, this rapid-printing technology is more relevant to those looking for careers in manufacturing and engineering. As the tech is rather new, it’s a good time now to learn more about the processes of additive printing and manufacturing. With enough knowledge and experience, you’ll surely go far in the years to come.


5. Big Data

You may have heard this term being thrown around as a buzzword, and for good reason too. With increased processing capacity and new technology to help locate, gather, and analyze data, the big data systems are becoming more and more complex. With that, there’s also a growing need for professionals who have the know-how to make sense of the data. More and more businesses turn to companies such as to drive their work better by optimizing operational, development, delivery and other important business processes.

Only after making sense of the data can companies optimize this and use the information to their benefit. Data visualization is also important, such that other teams in the company who are not data experts are able to understand and use it.

To ride this wave, you should start building comprehensive data skills as soon as possible. It can get quite technical, so do be patient! Start building your data skillset with languages like Python, or tools like Apache Hadoop. Once you’re comfortable, you can opt to specialize in different areas such as data mining, distribution, or architecture.


In summary, look out for these five new developments that are growing in significance across all industries. Invest time and energy to upskill yourself and work on these areas, and you won’t have to worry about being left behind.

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