DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Dec. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Political change and instability, natural disasters, the rapid emergence of blockchain and voice technologies, and the ongoing challenge of finding new employees are some of the critical factors that shaped the information technology (IT) industry in 2017, according to the board of directors of CompTIA, the leading technology industry association.
CompTIA directors at a board meeting earlier this month spent time discussing the events that had the greatest impact on the industry over the past 12 months. Out of nearly 20 developments raised by board members, five rose to the top of the list of impactful events.
- Political change and instability
- Natural disasters
- The year of the voice
- Blockchain rising
- Workforce challenges
"Our industry has a history of rapid change and disruption, and some level of 'expect the unexpected' is always present, but it's been some time since we've seen a year as turbulent as 2017," said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO, CompTIA.
The political change, instability and turmoil that marked the first year of the presidency of Donald Trump had the biggest impact on the technology industry in 2017. Domestic debates on healthcare and taxes; the threat of a new war on the Korean Peninsula; the ongoing investigation of links to Russia; and clashes over cultural issues all contributed to the uncertainty, with the President's use of social media overarching everything.
Earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters were another major business disruptor for the industry in 2017. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that 15 separate weather and climate disasters each caused at least $1 billion in damage in the U.S. That doesn't account for damage from wildfires in California, cyclones in Africa, floods and landslides in South Asia, and earthquakes in Mexico and Iran.
Some observers have labeled 2017 as "the year of the voice", not because of the discovery of the next great singer, but because of the widespread consumer embrace of voice-controlled and voice-activated assistants. A CompTIA report found that six in ten consumers are familiar with the concept of smart home technologies, led by virtual assistants. New applications for these devices, coming from a variety of industries, hit the market almost daily this year, with more in store in 2018.
The rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has raised interest in blockchain, a method for recording transactional information that made significant strides in 2017. Though awareness remains fairly low, companies that are familiar with the technology are exploring blockchain as a way to confirm digital identities, maintain audit trails and streamline common business practices such as asset management and contract agreements.
There remains a significant gap between the number of core IT positions employers are seeking to fill and the number of candidates to fill those jobs. CompTIA's latest analysis of jobs data shows that in Q3 2017, U.S. employers posted openings for nearly 604,000 IT jobs. That was 3 percent more than in Q3 2016. As businesses become more digital, and as technology moves out of the background shadows and on to center stage, skilled, trained and certified IT professionals will become even more essential.
As the leading trade association for the technology industry association CompTIA provides a vast selection of education and training materials, research and market intelligence, webinars and conferences, business best practices, member communities and advisory councils, and more on a wide range of technology topics. Visit www.comptia.org to learn more.