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5 Top IT Industry Trends in 2021
March 8, 2021

Swift adaptation of IT industry trends is necessary to ensure financial prosperity for businesses in 2021 and beyond. 2021 is a pivotal year that will establish the groundwork for the future of work. Significant changes are occurring due to the pandemic and massive technological advances are causing widespread digital transformation of top industries. These changes will create the blueprint for the "new norm" going forward. The immediacy with which companies recognize and act upon top trends in the IT field will be paramount in securing a valuable competitive advantage over their competition and will be the difference between success and failure in the new year. So, what are the 5 top IT industry trends of 2021? 

The top 5 IT industry trends of 2021 are: 

  • Online education is becoming a pillar of the educational system
  • Continued expansion of remote work and videoconferencing

  • Increases in cybersecurity
  • AI integration, internet of things, and autonomy innovation and implementation
  • Partnering with IT consulting companies [1] 

Online education is here to stay. E-learning is no longer an afterthought of traditional educational practices. It will become a central pillar of the educational system. Tremendous growth and advances have been made in the EdTech sector over the last decade, culminating in the widespread acceptance of online learning as a necessary resource. The global e-learning market is expected to reach $398.15 B by 2026 [2]. This is evidence of massive growth and potential in the EdTech sector. Online learning is doing more than changing the traditional delivery method of education; it is also changing the units in which courses are delivered. There is a massive demand for micro-courses to help close skill gaps across industries experiencing a digital transformation. Traditional degrees are not adapting quickly enough to offer degrees and courses on the specific topics that employees must learn to keep up with advancing technology. 

Additionally, many professionals do not have time for the traditional format of semester-long classes and degrees, which take years. Flexible online courses are what professionals need for upskilling. "48% of online and remote students were motivated by career and employment goals to enroll in their programs, 93% of students said they have had or expect a positive return on their online education investment, and 74% of students thought that online learning was better than or equal to on-campus learning. Students' biggest challenge to making a decision about online education was finding a program that met their needs and interests" [3]. This challenge is why upskilling using micro-courses is the future of professional development and education.  

Expansion of Remote work and video conferencing is another trend made popular by the pandemic and is not going anywhere. "Since 2020, people have been meeting by video calls 50% more‚ĶDuring COVID-19, close to 70% of full-time workers [were] working from home. After COVID-19, 92% of people surveyed expect to work from home at least one day per week, and 80% expected to work at least three days from home per week. 23% of those surveyed would take a 10% pay cut to work from home permanently‚Ķ Upwork estimates that 1 in 4 Americans, over 26% of the American workforce, will be working remotely through 2021. They also estimate that 22% of the workforce (36.2 Million Americans) will work remotely by 2025" [4]. To support an expanding remote workforce, online learning platforms and courses will become an essential aspect of employee onboarding and community building. Having online learning environments for employees will help employees learn about the company, upskill when needed and create a culture that bolsters company loyalty and builds the community that remote work typically lacks.  

An unfortunate side effect of increased remote work and technological advances is the increased risk of cybersecurity threats that require increased cybersecurity initiatives. 47% of IT executives surveyed reported the number of cyberattacks is up since the pandemic began. 36% said that "they experienced an increased volume of security vulnerabilities due to remote work" [5]. "COVID-19 is blamed for a 238% increase in cyberattacks in FinTech, with 80% of firms worldwide increasing their digital security infrastructures" [6]. Cybersecurity is a real issue when you have a remote workforce and increase vulnerabilities associated with that. "The average enterprise has 900 applications. The proliferation of new endpoints creates new avenues for intrusion, requiring robust Application Programming Interface (API) security. API is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other" [7]. Each time an employee uses one of the 900 applications, an API is used, exposing companies to cybersecurity threats. It is important to use platforms that are vigilant about detecting cyber threats and encrypting data. Online learning platforms used for remote work should integrate APIs securely and have AI technology and machine learning capabilities to detect threats and ensure your company's security. "Defensive applications of artificial intelligence...automation and machine learning [will] help human security analysts separate the most urgent alerts from a sea of data and take instant remedial action against certain threat profiles", because "the sheer amount of security alerts, of potential threats, is too much for humans to handle alone "[8].  

AI integration, internet of things, and autonomy innovation and implementation is a trend that will cause industries to revolutionize in 2021. 2021 will see a period of hyper-automation, which is a process where "businesses automate as many business and IT processes as possible using tools like AI, machine learning, robotic process automation, and other types of decision process and task automation tools" [9]. AI growth is forecasted at 126B by 2025 [10], and automation is the first step to innovation. "81% of IT organizations will automate more tasks to allow team members to focus on innovation" [11] during 2021. "57% of organizations say they are at least piloting automation of processes in one or more business units or functions" [12]. "McKinsey estimates that automation could raise productivity in the global economy by up to 1.4% annually" [13]. Autonomy is being experimented with across industries driven by AI technology.  

In 2021, the autonomy of tasks like administrative processes and production lines will change workforces. However, the autonomy that is being innovated and tested in the automotive field is different and will significantly change the automobile industry workforce. Ford is testing a "purpose-built autonomous vehicle without manual controls such as a steering wheel and pedals for its commercial fleet" [14] this year and plans to launch a commercial self-driving vehicle business next year. GM and other traditional vehicle manufactures are also developing autonomous cars, with plans to launch soon. The autonomy of top industries will result in the need to upskill workers to learn the skills needed. Autonomy will change workers' basic required skills across all industries, and employers must help them adapt to ensure the company stays competitive and productive.  

The pandemic required a quick shift to remote working and learning. Companies identified that hiring an in-house IT team did not make sense. Many businesses are opting to outsource some business processes, especially information technology processes, to companies that offer IT consulting and contracting. Software as a service or SaaS companies provide a way to grow without expanding. "93% of CIOs indicate they're already adopting or are soon planning to adopt SaaS solutions" [15] to free themselves from complex software and hardware management. Using a SaaS option is also the smartest way to handle employee upskilling to support the IT changes in 2021.  

How to Embrace These IT Trends at Your Company to Prepare for the Future of Work? 

Top IT industry trends must be embraced by your company in 2021 to stay competitive and prosperous. Leveraging online education by upskilling your employees, expanding your remote work capabilities, increasing cybersecurity, and implementing innovative technology can be accomplished by partnering with the right tech company.  

Partnering with a company that provides industry-leading online learning environments is vital. Sourcing an online learning platform to upskill your employees can allow your company to expand its remote work capabilities, boost cybersecurity, and, most importantly, learn the required skills needed to implement innovative technologies.  

Here are key elements that online learning platforms need to provide value to your company and employees:  

  • Customized micro-upskilling courses that are relevant to your workforce
  • Engaging delivery methods that keep employees actively learning
  • AI and advanced data capabilities
  • Positive user experience and high retention rates
  • Turn-key systems capable of immediate implementation with no learning curve  

The future of work and your company's continued prosperity will rely on a smart partnership that can enable your company to adapt to these top IT industry trends swiftly. Don't get left behind in 2021.  

Amesite Offers a Single, Easy to Use, Scalable Solution 

Launch a fully managed enterprise learning platform to expand remote working capabilities, increase cybersecurity and implement innovative technologies. 

Amesite is a high-tech AI-powered online learning platform. We specialized in scalable, custom branded online learning environments and content curation to meet the employer's unique needs to support the business's upskilling efforts.  

 With Amesite, you can:  

  • Deploy a fully managed enterprise learning platform plus customized courses that enable you to deliver job-specific certifications quickly and efficiently for your staff. With Amesite, you just hit the easy button, and you can scale an entire remote work curriculum in just 30 days.
  • Use AI and machine learning to identify trends and make informed decisions while upskilling your teams with comprehensive data analytics and customizable dashboards.
  • Integrate with 1000s of APIs to enable routing of data and information that makes administration simple and secure.
  • Thwart cyber-threats with its modern and sophisticated code architecture, cloud-based, high security, and privacy-oriented tools, including encrypted video conferencing. 
  • Attract and keep employees engaged with social media-inspired interface design and the most up-to-date content. Build employee networks that improve your organization's success.  

Amesite creates outstanding learning experiences delivered on its advanced platform. Using AI and advanced analytics to provide fresh content, employers can take courses with the most up-to-date information available. Amesite's unparalleled retention rate in the enterprise sector is 100%. Enterprise companies like Ford Motor Company trust Amesite to provide a world-class online learning environment to upskill their employees. Upskilling is a crucial and necessary step to adapt to the 5 top IT trends in 2021 and will set your business up for success.  

Let us help your company support its training goals today! Request a Demo!  

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Resources:  

[1] INC. Dec. 15, 2020. Top Business and Technology Trends in 2021. https://www.inc.com/anis-uzzaman/top-business-technology-trends-in-2021.html Accessed March 5, 2021. 

[2] Market Watch. Global E-learning Market Size & Trends Will Reach USD 374.3 Billion by 2026: Facts & Factors. Dec. 17, 2020. https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/global-e-learning-market-size-trends-will-reach-usd-3743-billion-by-2026-facts-factors-2020-12-17?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts&tesla=y Accessed March 5, 2021. 

[3] Best Colleges. 2021. 2021Online Education Trends Report. https://www.bestcolleges.com/research/annual-trends-in-online-education/ Accessed March 5, 2021. 

[4] Apollo Technical. Jan. 4, 2021. Statistics on Remote Workers That Will Surprise You (2021). https://www.apollotechnical.com/statistics-on-remote-workers/#:~:text=Global%20Workplace%20Analytics%20believes%20that,will%20work%20remotely%20by%202025. Accessed March 5, 2021. 

[5] Threat Post. Jan. 3, 2021. 2021 Cybersecurity Trends: Bigger Budgets, Endpoint Emphasis and Cloud. https://threatpost.com/2021-cybersecurity-trends/162629/#:~:text=Forrester%20researchers%20believe%20the%20remote,%2Da%2Dservice%E2%80%9D%20model. Accessed March 5, 2021. 

[6] Cybersecurity Insiders. 2021. Cybersecurity Trends to Keep Track of in 2021. https://www.cybersecurity-insiders.com/cybersecurity-trends-to-keep-track-of-in-2021/ Accessed March 5, 2021. 

[7] ZD Net. Dec. 7, 2020. Top 8 trends shaping digital transformation in 2021. https://www.zdnet.com/article/top-8-trends-shaping-digital-transformation-in-2021/ Accessed March 5, 2021. 

[8] Threat Post. Jan. 3, 2021. 2021 Cybersecurity Trends: Bigger Budgets, Endpoint Emphasis and Cloud. https://threatpost.com/2021-cybersecurity-trends/162629/#:~:text=Forrester%20researchers%20believe%20the%20remote,%2Da%2Dservice%E2%80%9D%20model. Accessed March 5, 2021. 

[9] Threat Post. Jan. 3, 2021. 2021 Cybersecurity Trends: Bigger Budgets, Endpoint Emphasis and Cloud. https://threatpost.com/2021-cybersecurity-trends/162629/#:~:text=Forrester%20researchers%20believe%20the%20remote,%2Da%2Dservice%E2%80%9D%20model. Accessed March 5, 2021. 

[10] Statista. Dec. 7, 2020. Artificial intelligence software market revenue worldwide 2018-2025. https://www.statista.com/statistics/607716/worldwide-artificial-intelligence-market-revenues/#:~:text=Artificial%20intelligence%20software%20market%20revenue%20worldwide%202018%2D2025&text=The%20global%20artificial%20intelligence%20(AI,billion%20U.S.%20dollars%20by%202025. Accessed March 5, 2021. 

[11] ZD Net. Dec. 7, 2020. Top 8 trends shaping digital transformation in 2021. https://www.zdnet.com/article/top-8-trends-shaping-digital-transformation-in-2021/ Accessed March 5, 2021. 

[12] ZD Net. Dec. 7, 2020. Top 8 trends shaping digital transformation in 2021. https://www.zdnet.com/article/top-8-trends-shaping-digital-transformation-in-2021/ Accessed March 5, 2021. 

[13] ZD Net. Dec. 7, 2020. Top 8 trends shaping digital transformation in 2021. https://www.zdnet.com/article/top-8-trends-shaping-digital-transformation-in-2021/ Accessed March 5, 2021. 

[14] CNBC. Oct. 20, 2020. Ford unveils new self-driving test vehicle for 2022 launch. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/20/ford-unveils-new-self-driving-test-vehicle-for-2022-launch.html Accessed March 5, 2021. 

[15] BMC. Aug. 31, 2020. SaaS in 2021: Growth Trends & Statistics. https://www.bmc.com/blogs/saas-growth-trends/ Accessed March 5, 2021.