Machine Learning, IoT Top Developer Focus

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What technologies are developers focusing on these days? According to the Evans Data Corporation Global Development Survey (PDF), the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, and automobiles are three areas targeted by app-builders. (Hat tip to Forbes for the original link.)

Some 45 percent of the 1,441 surveyed developers said that IoT was very important to their overall app strategy; another 41 percent suggested that cognitive computing and artificial intelligence (A.I.) were very important.

Among those developers whose primary focus is creating apps with machine-learning capabilities, the most-targeted categories for those apps included the Internet of Things (11.4 percent), professional, scientific and technical services (10 percent), and manufacturing (9.4 percent).

The results of the survey dovetail neatly with industry trends in IoT, machine learning, robotics, and automobiles. In addition, these categories sometimes overlap. For example, tech firms such as Google and Tesla are experimenting with how machine learning and A.I. can allow cars to drive from points A to B with no human input. Apple, Intel, and a constellation of smaller firms are making inroads into IoT, particularly the subcategory of “smart homes,” which incorporate A.I. and hardware into a (hopefully) seamless package.

For tech pros (and not just developers), this overlap means a wide range of potential jobs in each category. For example, self-driving cars demand the talents of not only hardware designers and manufacturing gurus, but also machine-learning experts, UX programmers, and other types of highly specialized engineers.

Many of these “hot” industries are still nascent, however, which may give developers pause. One of the most visible manifestations of the newfound interest in machine learning, mobile bots, have yet to ignite a tsunami of developer enthusiasm on the scale of mobile apps—despite an aggressive push by Facebook and other firms. And while Amazon’s Echo has developers onboard, it remains to be seen whether “smart” home hubs will become truly ubiquitous.

Nonetheless, developers know they must work at least a few years ahead of the curve if they hope to release a mature product into a ready market. That impulse would certainly explain the types of developer interest evidenced in this latest survey. If you’re interested in breaking into the machine-learning field, check out Dice’s handy tips for the skills you’ll need to learn.

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