The Future of Software and Infrastructure Roles
5/2/2018 by MRL
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Software and infrastructure roles are an ever-evolving discipline; where the mechanisms create new subdivisions daily. This diversion from the main is creating unrivalled economic growth and new careers that are shaping not only the lives of the engineers but of the world.
In a current study carried out by LinkedIn, new insights were found on the influx of software roles that have increased over last year. The software sector, as a whole, as seen a 650% increase in jobs since 2012. With current job projections expected to go up to 11.5M by 2026. This is probably the largest hotbed of tech in the foreseeable future and something that will see heavy investment in from all areas of technology.
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The Internet of Things is now the norm. IHS Markit predicts nearly 27 billion IoT products were created last year and 125 billion are to be made by 2030. This increases the possibility of hacking into personal data exponentially with the devices holding either our social data or banking information, to name BUT a few. With great ease of life comes great risk of security.
To combat this, a Cyber Risk Manager is going to be a very crucial component to most tech companies providing the myriad of IoT devices to the public. It will make the testing process more rigorous, increase time of release but at the cost of saving a business’s reputation, it will be worth the expenditure and time.
One aspect a Cyber Risk Manager will need to focus on is that of Blockchain technology. Blockchain might be something you relate to bitcoin but it is expanding far beyond the digital currency. It has essentially created a new type of security software via cryptography that any company will be able to utilise. It will allow businesses to transfer high-level data securely that, so far, is un-hackable thanks to its lack of centralised storage. This new innovation is something that Cyber Risk Managers will be working with for years to come.
What does it take to be a Cyber Risk Manager? Well, the current skill set being asked for is someone with a strong history of attack patterns, kill-chain methodology, and identify traffic trends that could indicate an imminent threat. Unique and personal authentication systems will be a huge priority with fast response procedures if there is a security incident.
Like most things in the world, humans have an innate want to combine things to create one superior item. But more than that we want them smaller (around 10 ‑9 meter, or a millionth of a millimetre if we’re feeling adventurous) and more user-friendly. As we pump more tech into devices, we need to keep weight and size down. And it’s going to be Nano Scientists that we will turn to, to keep the balance.
At MRL one of our specialities in recruitment is for the semiconductor industry. The trend we have seen over the last 20 years is that everything is following Murphy’s Law…as far as it can. Smaller, faster, smarter, better. At the moment we are seeing nanofabrication with single crystalline inorganic nanomaterial proving to be the continued way of the future. It allows for unusual shapes, bends and stretches. Think bendable phone screens, activewear that is connected to your Fitbit, supercomputers the size of a shoebox.
These nanotechnologies will create a new type integration with everything, from the bathroom mirror to building connections in your brain to help animate robotic limbs. Nanoelectronics will be a revolution that will stay. Because it can be integrated into everything, everything will be integrated.
To become a Nano Scientist you will need a background in nanoscience and robotic engineering but more importantly, excellent hand-eye coordination to work with the specialised equipment and patience as the desired results may not always present themselves straight away when working at the atomic level.
Data science has been around for a long time but recently it has helped to develop Machine Learning - essentially its evolved self. This next generation is making huge waves across tech and most companies are taking it very seriously by creating a high demand for a currently small pool of qualified professionals.
This shift to an artificially intelligent software is warping our understanding on how we implement code into future tech projects. What is so amazing is the scalability of machine learning, it is code that can become completely self-sufficient…and dare we say it, create a perfected understanding of its requirements?
In the future it will be integrated into everything and will make our devices incredibly intuitive to our needs…perhaps too intuitive? Elon Musk has made his opinions on machine learning very clear and is frankly terrified by it, “I’m inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight… at the national and international level… just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.” And if the man who is leading the way to get us to Mars is concerned it’s definitely something we should keep an eye on.
We are starting to see the beginnings of it with effects like marketing personalisation; may this be your Netflix recommendations, your search engine results, or your email client assessing what is spam, all these are aspects of machine learning where it uses its algorithms to deliver stronger results.
A field that will benefit the most from machine learning is medicine. Putting in the results from trials and patients to an algorithm that can assess the information can indicate what treatments have had the most success and begin to provide a far more accurate diagnosis to doctors. More than that, it will be able to work out combinations of medicines and might even suggest new ones. It could become limitless.
To become a Machine Learning Engineer you need to have a background in data science and data engineering as a minimum. After that it comes a bit varied, Python, Pearl, C++, Java, Linux, Algebra, Probability, Kafka, SQL, Tensorflow, PyTorch… the list really goes on. There doesn’t seem to be a defined skill set just yet. This understandable because it is still in its infancy. Maybe someone should create an algorithm of what is required to become a great Machine Learning Engineer? We’re just throwing it out there.
IBM, Google, Microsoft, Toshiba, Intel, AirBus, even BT and more are now looking towards the next step in tech; learning how to fully utilise superposition electronic programming aka quantum computing.
So what is it? Laments terms it takes the basics bits of computing ‘0 and 1’ then adds three extra possible functions in-between those to the programming. If you want to find out more check out this great in-depth article from Dr James Wootton “How to program a quantum computer”, he makes it sound easy.
New levels in quantum programming will radically improve our mathematical and physical understanding of the universe as it expands our ability to solve complex problems regular supercomputers can’t handle. This goes far further than machine learning.
However, as fantastic as this sounds, someone has obviously got to programme these things. Even build them. Issac Chuang an MIT physicist told Nature, a science journal, “The real challenge is whether you can make your algorithm work on real hardware that has imperfections.” Essentially we are going to need some time to solve the problems that will one day solve our problems. As a flaw on a regular computer will be probably go largely unnoticed, but an error on a quantum computer would be gargantuan.
This is where the call for a Quantum Programmer comes into the forefront. This job role will become very commonplace within the decade. Unfortunately for the moment, it is such a rare skill set that it is affecting our development of the technology. As developments are made, more training programmes will be created which will alleviate the problem. For now, it’s up to the Einstein’s of the day to resolve.
For now, the suggestions is to get on to QISKit which offers developers an ability to immerse themselves in IBM Quantum Experience, it uses a Python interface to experiment with. The next thing you will need to get on your CV is a deep understanding of Superdense coding, Qubits, Superposition and Measurement. If you can make sense of these you are on your way to becoming a Quantum Programmer.
With all these new positions, tech and software taking off in the ever-expanding world of technology there is going to have to be an individual to implement and maintain these radical systems. That’s why at number one an Advanced Systems Architect is going to become a very in-demand role over the next decade.
This role will cover knowledge of all the previous four and then some…
It might sound a bit omnipotent to have this type of knowledge and power but the term is interdisciplinary. And this type of role will be sitting at the C-level of a large global company which means you are going to need to have that kind of skill set to get to this role. This will become the crème of the crop when it comes to engineering.
The essentials that the role will require is going to be as endless as the tech they will be looking after. From design, prototypes, tests, cost, availability, schedule, data, risk management, space, power, safety, usability, reliability, launch, analysis, maintainability, monitor, review, optimise, fix, backup, liaise, support… it really could go on, and on.
Being the main interface for what will be, multi-million pounds tech, for a multi-trillion pound company it’s going to make you famous, so along with being a visionary, you will need to able to handle the pressure of life in front of the camera. This role will be something that only a few will be able to handle but you can be assured it will put you in the history books.
The roles mentioned are merely a selection of emerging jobs, the true careers of the future are appearing today, as in right now as you read this, and it takes a little while for the rest of the world to hear about them. Every advancement creates a new career sector, and from those new careers, they create new niches. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for tech and even more so placing these new roles into companies around the globe.