It’s easy to get drawn into cliches around technology that things move quickly. In actual fact, in the tech world what passes for ‘progress’ takes place at different rates in different places. Yes, Silicon Valley companies may be trying to push boundaries, and teenagers are able to hack into even the most secure systems on the planet, but there are still plenty of companies for where data science is a folder of excel spreadsheets, where a cloud infrastructure is a Google Drive system.
That makes it hard to say exactly what will matter in 2018 in tech. But we’re going to try anyway. So, whatever you do, and whatever you’re going to be working on in 2018, here’s 5 things that will definitely matter in 2018…
1. More Empathy
It sounds obvious but technology isn’t just a human invention; it’s also a human activity. It’s something people build – together – and something people use. This is a fact that is all too often forgotten in the chaotic reality of modern work. However, if we can all have more empathy for both those around us – other developers, our colleagues – as well as for users, we’ll not only build better software, we’ll also be much happier while doing so.
2. Developing standards and best practices
Open source has been a true revolution, impacting not only the software that’s used today, but also the way we think about it. But with open source, the ground beneath us has opened up. And, if we’re going to deliver on point #1, we’re going to need to start thinking about setting standards for how we build software alongside each other. Living in the wild-west might be fun for a while but it will quickly grow old and difficult to produce anything of lasting value.
3. Ignoring the hype and focusing on what matters to you
Open source has made things chaotic – there’s simply a lot of software out there. Even within a very specific area, there’s a range of potential solutions to a single problem. It’s important to remember that the most hyped or popular tool isn’t necessarily going to be the one for you. Focus on the problem you’re trying to solve and what solution is going to be most effective.
4. Dedicating time to personal development
While we shouldn’t be distracted by the fluctuations of the tech landscape, it’s important to nevertheless take steps to try and tame it. If it’s going to work for you, you still need to do some work. Identify what tools are going to be key in your job next year, or what skills you need to move your career forward and then create a plan for when you’re going to actively invest time in learning those tools and skills.
This may be obvious, but 2018 needs to be the year that everyone gets serious about security. High-profile hacks are only leading to more and more confusion around digital media. And on a slightly different but related note, with governments spending more time interested in the internet habits of its citizens and ensuring the internet is ‘safe’ it’s going to take a lot of commitment on the part of the tech world to challenge lazy established thinking and to make sure individuals are secure – whether that’s from criminals or otherwise…