Technology has always had an influence on the way we work, communicate, and function in our day-to-day lives. That influence has perhaps never been quite as potent as it has over the last year and a half.
As we all attempted to navigate a global pandemic and its effects, technology became the answer to a lot of difficult questions. It allowed many of us to work remotely and maintain some level of contact with those who were important to us. It kept us informed and kept us moving forward.
As a result, we saw rapid growth in many technology sectors. Some of these technologies were already on the rise, but others were jettisoned by the pandemic. This created a lot of opportunity for those interested in starting a career in technology, or simply switching fields to another sector.
So, which areas of technology are showing the most promise and growth?
Financial Technology has become extremely lucrative since early 2020. Globally, the industry received investment of $44 billion, half of which was from the US alone. This was a 14% increase from investments made in 2019 globally, and about a 30% jump for the US. Considering the level of uncertainty in many markets throughout 2020, this is impressive growth.
This area of technology includes banking, wealth management, payment services, and more. Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, which were massive topics of conversation last year, also fall under this sector. While there are big players in the industry, we’re seeing many small-to-medium-sized corporations enter the market and growing rapidly. Many will soon be publicly traded.
As a result, it’s hard for businesses to keep up with staffing needs. “There are far more jobs than talent,” says Rebecca Faiazza, our Director of Technology in Toronto. “Also, salaries are a lot higher than they were a few years ago.”
A contributing factor, Faiazza says, is the fact that so many people were laid off in her market at the start of the pandemic. “Things are getting back to normal, projects are underway, offices are opening back up,” she says. “A lot of people who were laid off during COVID found other jobs right away, so that leaves their previous employers in a situation where now that they can bring them back, they need to be replaced.”
Most In-Demand Roles: Data Engineers and Full Stack Java Developers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the healthcare technology field grew very rapidly in 2020. According to Silicon Valley Bank, the industry raised $15.3 billion in investment capital, up almost $5 billion from the year before.
This kind of technology was extremely useful when patients could not physically go to a doctor’s office. Remote healthcare became a necessity, and healthcare tech was there to meet those needs. According to Emily Newton, Manager of our Tech team in Houston, this comes in many forms. “It could be an app the customer has on their phone,” she says, “or it could be hardware the customer takes home which they use to self-test and send results back to the doctor. Also, we have seen products that basically allow the provider to access data from other locations.”
Newton says that this introduction of data-related products and services was a big step for the sector, as it tended to shy away from them for security reasons.
Although this growth was hastened as a result of the pandemic, it is expected to continue.
Most In-Demand Roles: Sales and Project Management
Cybersecurity has been a growing concern for many years, as our world is becoming more digital. “Everything we do now is digital and online,” Newton says, “therefore any smart criminal would change the direction of their efforts.” This is why technologies like Blockchain have become so popular.
The rise of the remote workforce has made cybersecurity even more important. In 2020, though there were fewer individual data breaches than in 2019, the amount of information compromised “grew dramatically.” Ransomware attacks even doubled.
“I think because of the rush to get people working remotely as a response to COVID some of the security requirements were basically put on the back burner,” Newton explains. “People thought it would be over within a few months. Obviously, what happened was much longer-term exposure.”
Although some organizations were prepared with tight security, others were left exposed once their employees were out of network. Cyber Criminals took advantage of this and as a result, many businesses learned the importance of cybersecurity. Investments in cybersecurity broke records in 2020, reaching $7.8 billion.
Most In-Demand Role: Cybersecurity Engineers
Another result of remote work was increased investment in workplace technologies such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Teams alone gained 95 million users throughout 2020, and earned an estimated $6.8 billion.
This trend does not show signs of slowing, as many people want to continue to work remotely (at least part-time) even after the pandemic has ended. Newton says that where she is in Texas, 80% of the roles are remote.
“The uptick (of workplace technology) has been in companies that didn’t work remotely before all of a sudden needing to do so,” she says, “or those returning to more of a mixed model. Infrastructure upgrades have been big in this space as a result.”
Most In-Demand Roles: Infrastructure roles, Project Management, and Engineers
Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Cloud Computing, and even Virtual Reality (VR) are also growing in popularity. These innovations can be used across multiple sectors, such as FinTech.
While Newton says that we’ve seen AI, ML, and Cloud roles in demand, VR is a bit trickier. “VR seems to be unstable, like it hasn’t found its market yet,” she says. Newton explains that while gaming companies tried to implement VR technology, the immersive experience was too much for many people. Some experienced motion sickness, which is a feeling of dizziness or nausea that is caused by your senses sending mixed messages to your brain. (For example, your eyes tell you that you’re moving because of the simulation, but you aren’t physically moving at all.) “Now,” she says, “in the education space, it’s been great. What better way to learn that watch it come to live in front of you?”
These are the kinds of technologies that savvy candidates should watch out for and considering upskilling themselves in as they become more commonplace. The opportunities will likely be there as the technology advances.
If you’d like to discuss potential opportunities in the technology industry, please reach out to us today.
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