CDI Corporation

3 ways IT contractors should prepare for 2018

The continuing fast pace of technological development virtually guarantees a steady demand for skilled IT workers. At the same time, that breakneck pace can also mean tech workers may quickly fall behind the proverbial eight-ball if they don’t constantly keep themselves apace with all of the field’s developments. Even trends that initially seem minor – as Bitcoin, for example, likely did in the late 2000s – can explode in a matter of months, and dissipate just as quickly.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at three prominent considerations for IT contractors in the new year, whether they intend to continue with current roles or seek out new contract opportunities during the course of 2018:

Remember: The internet of things reigns supreme
While the interconnectedness of the computers, smartphones, tablets, appliances and other electronics – the web that is the foundation of the so-called internet of things – is already a considerable concept to contend with. IT contractors must understand that this trend’s influence is only likely to expand. According to Forbes, fields in which IoT didn’t have a strong presence in the past few years, like healthcare, retail and the industrial sector, will more broadly adopt its methodologies during 2018. IoT security concerns may become more pressing as well, potentially offering IT security specialists the chance to shine.

Understand the greater openness of data
Deloitte, in its roundup of 2018 tech trends, cited the importance of greater data freedom and accessibility throughout organizations. Achieving this can be highly beneficial but might also raise privacy and organizational issues. As a result, IT professionals must diversify their understanding of data analytics while never ignoring tangential concerns.

Follow the rise of machine learning
Speaking with TheNextWeb, app developer Piyush Jain of SIMpalm explained the increasing importance of machine learning, to recognize speech, handwriting, facial structure and other physical characteristics and automate certain device tasks based on those prompts. Because these functions are being continually tweaked, IT may often need to troubleshoot devices when machine learning issues arise. As such, contractors should know the parameters of machine-learned device features as well as workarounds that allow automated device tasks to be completed manually by users.

Numerous tech industry prognostications point to a year packed with exciting developments and the rapid spread of new ideas. For IT contractors whose job descriptions and requirements can change within a month or less, keeping closely abreast of these changes and updating skill sets accordingly will be particularly important. It’ll make the difference between those who succeed in this field and those who become stagnate.