Going Beyond The Hype: What Tech Skills Should You Learn In 2021?
And How To Go From Analyst To Engineer
In 2021 there are a lot of “top skills” that are floating around for developers and engineers to learn.
You should learn blockchain.
You should learn machine learning.
You should learn magnemite.
So what should you learn?
How do you go beyond the hype?
After taking some time to think about what skills are the most impactful to a company I came up with this list of 5 below.
I decided on skills that I saw as gaps.
Skills that were missed, hard to gain, or just skills I often have to pull in as a consultant.
So here are the five skills I think would be impactful to learn.
Cloud Computing And Administration (Serverless, System Admin, Data Management, etc)
ML and Data Science
Solutions Architecture And System Design
Let’s go over quickly why I think each of these skills provides a lot of value to a company and why I see them as impactful.
System Design And Solutions Architecture
Start-ups and large companies often need to develop new pieces of infrastructure that involve databases, codebases, cloud components, and so many other key components that it's often hard to pick the right design.
This skill is hard to pick up. Why? How often do we as engineers need to design an entire system from scratch? Or at the very least, redesign some key component of a system.
Many engineers are maintaining systems, adding a small feature here or there, but rarely does a company need to design a new system. Especially a system that needs to handle billions of requests daily across multiple regions and manage a whole new array of features
So if you have the chance to learn how to design an entire system, take it.
Machine Learning and Data Science
There is a lot of hype around both machine learning and data science. Many companies are hiring for these roles.
Many are fighting over top talent.
Despite the hype, being able to take data and provide highly valuable insights that can help increase companies' revenues or decrease costs can be majorly impactful.
But it goes beyond that. Machine learning and data science are also often the only options for solving some problems.
In some cases, basic analytics will suffice when it comes to trying to figure out cost-saving opportunities. However, if you are trying to create some model to quickly categorize PDFs or trying to develop a system that can optimize the routing of packages or vehicles, then you will likely need to involve some form of data science or machine learning.
Although data engineering is starting to take off, I still see data science and machine learning as key skills in the coming years.
DevOps And MLOps
Being able to write code or develop a machine learning model that works is one thing.
Being able to develop a process that helps get that model or code into production and monitors said systems, is a much harder thing. Most developers and data scientists often have a gap here. They may have some base knowledge when it comes to getting code into production, but I continue to see a gap.
So if you can learn how to properly deploy code or a machine learning model, you can become invaluable to a company.
Are you building a start-up? In particular, are you building some form of SaaS or other software?
Then you will need a UI/UX specialist.
These days when people open up an app they want to feel like they just walked into a white granite countertop coffee shop or an Apple store.
They don’t want to feel like it’s 1999 and your software looks like a Microsoft GUI.
That’s why UI/UX remains a valuable skill.
Creating a flow that is both aesthetic and user-friendly makes your product sticky. It makes it stand out.
This is why I personally still contract out this role on projects. Because I want someone that does UI/UX for a living to do that kind of work.
Cloud Computing And Administration
Cloud services have gone from only being used by billion-dollar corporations to helping support small businesses (We have worked with several small businesses that utilize EC2, RDS, S3, and more).
Cloud services help in decreasing the overall operating cost, and they can help you in running your operations more effectively and efficiently.
However, with this new technology comes new skills a developer needs to learn. It can feel impossible to keep up with all the technologies and various ways you can run code, store data, and managed infrastructure.
Many times it feels like we finally learn about one cloud service only to discover there is now another one to replace it or perhaps just new functionality that has been added.
What Skills Are You Learning In 2021
With all that being said, what are the various technologies you should at least have a high level of knowledge of?
Ask A Data Consultant - Office Hours
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Thanks To The SDG Community
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You guys are keeping me motivated.
Every read, comment, like and financial subscription is amazing and I really appreciate all you.
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Analyst To Data Engineer
Articles Worth Reading
There are 20,000 new articles posted on Medium daily and that’s just Medium! I have spent a lot of time sifting through some of these articles as well as TechCrunch and companies tech blog and wanted to share some of my favorites!
How Airbnb Standardized Metric Computation at Scale
As described in the first post of this series, Airbnb invested significantly in building Minerva, a single source of truth metric platform that standardizes the way business metrics are created, computed, served, and consumed. We spent years iterating toward the right metric infrastructure and designing the right user experience. Because of this multi-year investment, when Airbnb’s business was severely disrupted by COVID-19 last year, we were able to quickly turn data into actionable insights and strategies.
With buyout, Cloudera hunts for relevance in a changing market
When Cloudera announced its sale to a pair of private equity firms yesterday for $5.3 billion, along with a couple of acquisitions of its own, the company detailed a new path that could help it drive back toward relevance in the big data market.
When the company launched in 2008, Hadoop was in its early days. The open-source project developed at Yahoo three years earlier was built to deal with the large amounts of data that the internet pioneer generated. It became increasingly clear over time that every company would have to deal with growing data stores, and it seemed that Cloudera was in the right market at the right time.
The Lost Designer
Designers are hired to change things, as no one one hires a designer to keep everything the same. The challenge is that often we want those changes to happen on our terms, using our ideas, methods and beliefs. This creates a natural conflict. The way we understand design is different from how ordinary people like clients, coworkers and executives do. It makes sense that designers often feel ignored, misunderstood or even lost. Yet somehow we’re surprised by these feelings. And over a career, they can grow into disappointment and resentment because we expect things to be different from how they are.
Companies I Am Watching
There are so many data start-ups that are being funded every month!
A few updates ago I wrote on Greylock’s data analytics companies they were focused on. But there are so many more.
In this update, I wanted to focus on Mozart Data and Datafold.
Last year Mozart Data raised 4 million dollars led by Craft Ventures and Array Ventures.
Like many other companies currently, Mozart is focused on data management. In particular, they are a platform designed to collect, organize, and manage your data.
All in one place.
Mozart aims to collect and orchestrates all of your companies SaaS data sources.
We are all struggling to manage the Silos of data. Whether it be Salesforce or Stripe. Mozart is trying to solve this problem. They help manage everything from storage, ingestion, scheduling, and transformation.
All without any engineering.
If they succeed, they will win big.
As a data engineer, I am constantly fighting slight schema changes in the applications that I pull from.
Some software engineer decides to not tell me they changed data or removed a field and suddenly all of my pipelines are broken.
It’s happened many times.
This in turn breaks dashboards, reports and leaves a lot of customers coming to me not the software engineer or SaaS that broke the pipeline.
Datafold is looking to try to address some of this problem.
Datafold is a data observability platform that helps Data teams move faster and with higher confidence by automating data quality analysis, monitoring, and common repetitive tasks in data engineering workflow.
One of the services Datafold offers is Data Diff.
What does Data Diff do you ask?
It gives analysts and data engineers the ability to observe how their changes to code or SQL impacts downstream dependencies.
So if you change a data type or remove a field, Datafold will let you know if you are about to break someone’s report.
This is an exciting proposition. Especially coming from someone who has had to deal with this problem over and over again.
I look forward to seeing how this product grows.
End Of Day 10
Technology continues to change in 2021. And we all are fighting to keep up technically.
My recommendation is don’t get caught up too much in the hype.
Look for what companies need.
Whether that is machine learning, data engineering, Salesforce, or UI/UX design.
You don’t have to do the most technically difficult task to be valuable. There are so many ways we all bring value. So pick a skill that you feel drawn to and do it!