Skills You Need to Excel in Emerging Technologies

What skills are needed in emerging technologies? How can you build them?
Sarah Si
Sarah Si

Enginuity - Skills You Need to Excel in Emerging Technologies

Clockwise from top left: Mr Isaac Hee, Managing Director, gradsingapore, Mr Jimmy Ong, Technology Consulting Partner, APAC Blockchain Leader, EY, Mr Sanjeev Solanki, Team Lead for Technology Research, Acronis, and Ms Chunrui Zhang, Head of Embedded Software, Dyson

The world has changed – it’s practically unrecognisable from what it was even a mere decade ago. Widespread adoption and use of smartphones and more efficient internet connectivity means that users are now interacting with technology in a completely different way. IT is no longer even just the purview of a select few, but has grown into a permanent feature in most industries.

This shift into what is now known as the digital era has had an equally large, if not larger, impact on companies. If they want to stay relevant and survive in this new world, they have to adopt new, emerging technologies. It’s this drive that has created a massive explosion in demand for experts in this field and made space for buzzwords like “emerging technologies”, “blockchain”, “IoT”, and the occasional “cyberinfrastructure”, as industries adapt to the new normal (pun intended).

Find out what some of these up-and-coming technologies are, as well as how you can build these skills!


Emerging technology: Cyberinfrastructure

Just to be clear, cyberinfrastructure is not exactly a new technology – it has always lurked unnoticed in the background. But recently, it has been identified as the factor that combines data, technology and human resources into a seamless whole with software and high-performance networks that, according to Indiana University, “improve[s] research productivity and enable breakthroughs” that may otherwise not be possible.

Because the various cycles in cyberinfrastructure allow industries all over the world to convert data into viable information, engineers able to work in this field are in high demand.


Skills needed

As engineers working in cyberinfrastructure might find themselves executing or implementing plans one day, and looking into solutions for big data transfer the next, skills required can range a great deal, from the basic, like strong communication and interpersonal skills and proficiency of programming languages, to the advanced, such as an ability to programme with parallel methods.

“On top of all this, you’ll also need some knowledge of cloud services management and maintenance as well as how to continue improving it,” Mr Sanjeev Solanki, Team Lead for Technology Research, Acronis, said.

Some employers may also require professional certifications.


Emerging technology: Blockchain

Blockchain is, essentially, a database that keeps digital records of all transactions made. Its name comes from its structure, wherein individual records, or blocks, are created to store information and chained together in chronological order. Blockchain can also be decentralised, meaning that all users can access it, and records are kept transparent.

At present, about a third of all companies in the world have adopted blockchain for both the cybersecurity it provides and as a solution to tracking value chains.


Skills needed

Much of the skills needed for blockchain – such as a familiarity with software development, knowledge of algorithms and data structures and proficiency in programming languages like C++ and JavaScript – are often imparted in schools.

A critical skill is also understanding how various components work together from a business perspective, according to Mr Jimmy Ong, Technology Consulting Partner, APAC Blockchain Leader, EY. He said, “Solution architects and enterprise architects are needed because solutions no longer exist in isolation, so having a good holistic view and mindset is vital.”


Emerging technology: Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) premise is often described as innovating new machinery and products, or improving current products. To do this, there is a system of embedded interrelated computing devices – such as processors and sensors – that transfer data collected from their environments over networks and gateways. As these devices mostly work without human intervention, these transfers of data don’t require human-to-computer or human-to-human contact!


Skills needed

Like cyber infrastructure and blockchain before, knowledge of programming languages is crucial in IoT, though Python and JavaScript tend to be preferred. A strong understanding of embedded software development is important too, as is data analytics. As IoT involves a lot of data, data management, especially of big data, is one of the skills graduates need to master too!

A strong background in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) is vital as well. “You also need to understand the algorithms used to control the machine, as well as make sure they are all connected and communicating with each other,” Ms Chunrui Zhang, Head of Embedded Software, Dyson, said.