Haythem Balti, the Director of Curriculum at Software Guild, says that his job as an educator is to “see the horizon of enterprise, to be aware of needs that are going to arise, and to introduce those concepts to students at the right time.” So we consulted Haythem to find out which technologies and skills he predicts will be most popular in 2020 – and how to take your own career in data, front end, or back end development to the next level in the New Year. Plus, how to upskill even if you’re working in a full-time job. 

Meet Haythem

Haythem joined The Software Guild in 2017. He is now the Director of Curriculum at Software Guild, and leads a team of Content Developers, Instructional Designers, and Project Managers. Together his team supervises the development of content at Software Guild, including business to client (B2C), such as bootcamps, and business to business (B2B). 

Tech Trends that Prevailed in 2019

  • Data

  • Cloud Computing

  • Front-End Design and UI

The most demand we saw in 2019 was for data-related skills. Everything from data engineering, machine learning, data science, Python, and R were huge this past year. For example, most of our corporate partners are in the financial and insurance industries. There is a lot of data out there in the enterprise world and companies are just starting to use it to improve efficiency, improve revenue, reduce errors, etc. We will continue seeing a demand for data specialists in 2020.  

Cloud computing for businesses was big in 2019. It's a much easier and cheaper way for companies to get started than running on-premises data centers. There are a lot of companies that are trying to migrate some of their workload and infrastructure to the cloud, and a large portion of the information technology workforce is lacking skills in cloud computing. 

Finally, skills like front end design, React, Node.js, and AngularJS are very popular requests from employers right now. Essentially, the ability to build better software applications and user interfaces is in demand. In the back end, we're seeing similar trends towards Javascript and frameworks like Spring. 

Haythem’s Predictions for Tech Trends in 2020

  • Demand for Cloud Computing and Data-Related Will Grow

  • Cyber Security Will Become Vital

  • Blockchain Will Mature

There will definitely be continued demand for cloud computing and data-related activities. Both are somewhat new and companies are getting into the flow of it now. We're going to continue seeing opportunities there. 

We will certainly see a rise in the need for cybersecurity. As companies operate more in the cloud, there is a tremendous need for security. For example, insurance companies and financial companies have strict rules and regulations around cloud computing because they have private customer information that they have to protect. Towards the end of 2019, we began to see upskilling for cloud computing and security and it will be a focus in 2020 as well.  

Blockchain is maturing and is now being used for compliance regulations for insurance and government alongside cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is just one application of blockchain, but I've seen more and more companies operating blockchain within AWS. Blockchain requires a lot – encryption, mathematics, and computer science principles – and costs a lot of money. Most companies aren't currently equipped to handle blockchain, but we expect that to change in 2020.

If you know Excel, then learn SQL & Python in 2020

I recommend Data Analysts have the following two key skills in 2020

  • The ability to use a scripting language like Python to automate processes

  • General database knowledge, like querying data and storing data on databases. 

If you are a Data Analyst and you're using Excel at work, the most logical next step is to learn SQL. Excel is essentially constructed in the same way as SQL, and a lot of knowledge can be transferred from an Excel user to SQL. Master SQL first, and make sure you can create databases, make tables, do create retrieve update delete (CRUD) operations, and understand join tables. Once you've completed that, try going into Python and learning a bit of programming and scripting. You need to be able to query data from multiple systems, servers, and platforms. Create scripts to pull data from different servers and combine them, create a report, and then automate the process. Learning SQL and Python will create a huge productivity boost for any company you work for. 

If you don't learn Python and SQL, the next couple of years will likely be pretty tough for you. The amount of data that enterprise has now is huge and it's only growing. It's all stored in different systems. You can't work with that much data in Excel. It's necessary that data analysts that work a lot with Excel now consider upskilling with SQL and Python. 

If you know Back End Development, learn DevOps & Cloud Computing in 2020

For back end developers, I recommend working on cloud computing because most applications are developed and deployed on the cloud. Focus on things like DevOps, Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment (CICD), and cloud computing. Learn how to run a virtual machine on AWS, and know how to continuously push code and deploy.

At Software Guild, we’ve taught AWS since 2017. We're currently building training around Azure and Google Cloud. Azure has become more popular over the past year and it's definitely becoming another key player in the cloud industry. We’re also working on a cybersecurity curriculum – 2020 will likely see a rise in these technologies.

Lastly, another important thing for back end developers to learn is SQL. Have some basic knowledge of this to help your clients build their applications, query data, and work with that data. 

If you know front-end development, then learn React in 2020

At Software Guild we're seeing a lot of demand for frameworks like React and AngularJS. Node.js and ExpressJS are also in high demand in the web development world. They facilitate the efficient design and development of front end and applications. If you have a background in front end, then take a look at learning React or AngularJS (they’re very similar). You'll find that many companies actually use both. Understand the big picture of why these tools exist and how they make front end development easier. 

If you know HTML/CSS, then learn JavaScript in 2020

If you only know HTML and CSS right now, then start to slowly learn JavaScript in 2020. JavaScript is tightly related to HTML and CSS. It’s an amazing scripting language and you can do powerful things with it. Of all the pure scripting languages, I'd say JavaScript is my second favorite after Python. Learning JavaScript will allow you to create interactive webpages and more easily make the transition to other programming languages. 

What you decide to learn after JavaScript is personal preference. If you are more interested in front end, try learning React. If you like back end better, try Spring. Most importantly, look into the market demand. 

JavaScript is also a good transition to Python. They're similar in a lot of ways. If you learn JavaScript and you're able to understand it, you can definitely understand Python. These web-based learning platforms are great for beginners. There are a lot of resources for both.

How to upskill while you’re working full-time

  1. Take small steps, have a plan for yourself, and manage your expectations. For me, when I was learning blockchain, my goal was not to build the next Bitcoin. My goal was to do "Hello World" in blockchain and it took me almost three days to do it! But that was the aha! moment and I was so happy to get there. 
  2. If you're working a full-time job, you likely have some training opportunities within your company. They might even sponsor upskilling. Too often employees are not well-informed about the company's existing training programs. I always encourage people to reach out to human resources or their manager to find out if there are any training programs or free resources. There are also a lot of free resources for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, and SQL online if your company doesn’t offer anything. Take your time – the frustration can be real and you have to manage your frustration to power through. 

Find out more about Software Guild including student reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Software Guild.

About The Author

Liz pic

Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students considering a coding bootcamp. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube

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