Top 10 Digital Transformation Trends for 2024

Top 10 Digital Transformation Trends for 2024
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731.13 billion US dollars—that’s the global digital transformation market size for 2022 as calculated by Grand View Research. Between a global pandemic and the rapid advancement of new technologies such as cloud computing and AI, it’s never been more important for businesses to keep up to date with the latest digital transformation trends reshaping 2024 and beyond.

Here they are, in no particular order: the top 10 digital transformation trends for 2024.

1. AI and machine learning go mainstream

In January 2023, ChatGPT set the record for the fastest-growing user base in history with 100 million monthly active users, just two months after its launch. Every day, people are using the language model to explain concepts, debug their code, write screenplays, and even finish their homework assignments. It’s no secret why Microsoft elected to extend its multi-year, multibillion dollar investment into OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT.

And it’s not all limited to text or conversational chats. AI text-to-image generators such as Stable Diffusion, Midjourney, and DALL-E 2 allow average users without a background in tech or art to create their own AI art. Even programmers are getting in on the AI-act; GitHub Copilot, an AI-pair programmer, integrates directly with coding editors to suggest functional code as you program.

Many of the digital transformation trends on this list are really about AI. In a world where school children are using AI to complete their homework, and most websites already leverage AI chatbots to some degree, 2023 is shaping up to be the year AI and machine learning became mainstream.

The skills you need

Are you a developer looking for a way to take advantage of the AI revolution? Skills like machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow and PyTorch are a great place to start.

Not a developer, but looking for top independent talent to help you build your own AI-powered apps? From AI engineers to machine learning experts, we have the talent you need to develop your own machine learning algorithms.

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2. Big data is becoming bigger, faster, and multidimensional

120 zettabytes—that’s the total volume of data and information Statista predicts will be created, captured, copied, and consumed worldwide by the end of 2023.

That’s staggering, considering we were only at 9 zettabytes in 2013. If this exponential trend continues, we’ll be looking at a total data volume of 181 zettabytes by 2025. It’s estimated that 80-90% of big data is unstructured data (large collections of files, raw sensor data, and multimedia).That means a lot of work needs to be done before it can be put to use.

In 2024, digital transformation in the big data industry is largely a story of better organization and consolidation of the multiple disparate data silos and pipelines that make up an IT environment. The modern data center looks like a unified hybrid cloud environment in which on-premises, private cloud, public cloud, and edge environments are seamlessly integrated together via a networked architecture of data services called a data fabric.

A data fabric gives organizations full access, visibility, and control over their data, without compromising security. That increased data mobility, monitoring, and accessibility makes it easier to leverage AI analytics solutions to extract valuable insights for your business.

The skills you need

Managing the collective data gravity that humanity has to contend with in 2024 isn’t easy. Fortunately, proficiency with the following tools will help you unlock the hidden potential within your big data:

  • Big data analytics platforms such as Spark, Apache, and Hadoop
  • NoSQL databases like MongoDB and Cassandra
  • Cloud services such as Azure, AWS
  • Data integration tools for IBM, Oracle, Informatica, Microsoft, SAP, and Talend
  • Hybrid cloud infrastructure

The talent you need

Looking for top independent talent to help you modernize your data analytics pipeline? From data scientists to business intelligence professionals, we have the talent you need to extract valuable insights from your data.

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3. UI/UX pioneers are taking on AR, VR, and the Metaverse

Nothing says digital transformation like creating your own fully fleshed out virtual world. According to Statista, the AR/VR market is predicted to grow to $31.12 billion by the end of 2024.

Augmented reality, virtual reality, and the metaverse gained a lot of traction in the industry in 2022. This trend is likely to continue as more and more businesses compete to help pioneer the future of the internet.

We’re still a long way from the original vision of the Metaverse outlined in Neal Stephenson’s cyberpunk novel Snow Crash. But Meta Platforms Inc remains committed to devoting 20% of its budget to Reality Labs in 2024.

Beyond the headlines we can see that, year over year, AR has the largest share of this market. It’s easier to implement, doesn’t require sophisticated headgear, and is already accessible on your smartphone.

And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how voice search and AI are reshaping user expectations of UI/UX. Businesses using simple AI chatbots on their sites to back up traditional FAQ pages is now commonplace. AI also plays a role in providing personalized generative content, Wix ADI being a great example of this—you tell the app what type of website you want, and it generates a template for you.  

The skills you need

Eager to pioneer the future of UI/UX design for the metaverse? To design for AR you will want to familiarize yourself with tools such as Adobe Aero, AR Kit, and Vuforia. For VR you’ll need to bolster your 3D design skills. Popular platforms for VR design include Unity 3D, Unreal Engine, and Blender.

The talent you need

Looking for top independent talent to help you craft a modern UX for your customers? From UX designers to UI designers to AR/VR developers, we have the talent you need to create an app experience your customers will love.

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4. Embracing the cloud with everything as a service

A consistent contender on top ten digital transformation lists, going back for at least a decade, is the switch from one-time-purchases to subscriptions. There’s a reason Fortune Business Insights predicts the XaaS market will rise from $545.35 billion in 2022 to $2,378.07 billion by 2029.

The as-a-service consumption model gives providers and consumers alike both operational flexibility and predictability. From SaaS apps to the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and platforms as a service (PaaS) apps that supported them, today's consumers enjoy everything as a service (XaaS).

So what sort of cloud computing trends do we see in 2023? Despite pandemic restrictions winding down across the globe, Gartner predicts global spending on desktop as a service is projected to continue to grow to $3.2 billion in 2023, no doubt to power an increasingly hybrid workforce.

The skills you need

For developers looking to get into cloud computing, the fundamentals haven’t changed much in recent years:

  • Cloud services such as Google, IBM, Oracle, and AWS
  • Programming languages such as JavaScript, Java, and Python
  • Database fundamentals including SQL and NoSQL
  • API development
  • Network management for cloud environments

The talent you need

Looking for top independent talent to build your own XaaS apps? From software developers to cloud computing specialists, we have the talent you need to deliver cloud agility to your customers.

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5. Containerization is key to building cloud-native apps

Virtualization remains a strong digital transformation trend as the key technology that enables businesses to migrate workloads from on-premises environments into the cloud. But while the virtual machine ecosystem has largely matured, containerization remains a hot topic among IT leaders seeking digital transformation.

IT research firm Omdia found container usage to be largest among the hyperscalers Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, with 45% of software containers in use by IaaS environments managed by cloud providers.

And for good reason, containerization is the key to building cloud-native apps. It allows you to bundle software code alongside all its dependencies into a single container image that can be run on any environment.

Combine the advantages of containers with a micro services architecture, and you get a cloud-native app. One that operates as a collection of independent microservices that can be deployed anywhere on demand.

Whether it’s optimizing resource expenditure to handle peak traffic loads while saving resources during periods of low demand, or gaining the ability to roll out new features and security updates through a DevOps pipeline, containers are crucial in modernizing your app infrastructure.

The skills you need

Eager to unlock the operational agility of cloud-native apps through containers? You’ll need to master container tools like Docker, Amazon ECS, and Azure Containers alongside container orchestration tools like Kubernetes, Amazon EKS, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.

The talent you need

Looking for top independent talent to help you virtualize your data center? From VMware administrators to Kubernetes developers, we have the talent you need to bring the wonders of hybrid cloud consolidation to your organization.

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6. The World Wide Web is evolving

January 2023 saw 5.16 billion internet users worldwide, or 64.4 percent of the global population according to the latest Digital 2023 Global Overview Report. A whopping 91% of those users accessed the internet via a smartphone, but only 65.6% used a laptop or desktop device.

In a mobile-first world, it’s not surprising that progressive web apps (PWAs), which are websites designed to look and behave like native mobile apps when viewed from a smartphone, have continued to rise in popularity in 2023. The PWA market size is projected to reach $10.44 Billion by 2027 according to Emergen Research.

Other 2023 web development trends include the rise of AI chatbots in place of FAQ pages and the rise in popularity of AI assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Cortana. These changes in how users access the web shows the need to optimize websites for voice search.

The skills you need

If you’re a web developer you’ll be happy to know that the big three front-end JavaScript frameworks React, Vue, and Angular, remain incredibly popular. WordPress ecosystem remains as strong as ever.

That said, React Remix and Next.js are among some of the promising newcomers to the developer toolkit that have started to stir up some buzz. And then there’s WebAssembly which brings the performance power of low-level languages like C and C++ to websites.  

The talent you need

Looking for top independent talent to help you build your own web apps? Whether you need help with JavaScript frameworks like React, CMSs like WordPress, or ecommerce site builders like Shopify, we have the web development talent you need to bring your web project to life.

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7. Bitcoin and beyond with the blockchain

There’s no question that 2022 was a rough year for crypto, which saw high-profile collapses from Terra/Luna to FTX alongside the larger market context of inflation, war, and a pandemic. But the blockchain technology as a whole still saw some major wins in terms of growth, adoption, and innovation.

In spite of the negative press, blockchain technology market share grew from $6.92 billion to $11.54 billion in 2022, and is projected to reach $19.36 billion by the end of 2023.

According to Casper Labs, nearly 90% of enterprises across the USA, UK, and China are using blockchain in some capacity, the most common use cases being managing database copy protection and security.

Ethereum, the major blockchain behind the largest decentralized app (dApp) ecosystem, successfully completed The Merge, joining the original execution layer with its new proof-of-stake consensus layer, a major step forward for sustainability, scalability, and security of the platform going forward.  

The investment dollars clearly speak to blockchain’s value. Regardless of the controversies surrounding cryptocurrencies, blockchain can be an immutable distributed ledger system with real applications across the enterprise technology stack.

The skills you need

A solid foundation in blockchain architecture, cryptography, and data structures is key to surviving as a blockchain developer in 2023. Familiarity building on top of dApp platforms like the Ethereum network. Experience with cloud technologies and distributed systems is also key.

The talent you need

Looking for top independent talent to help you build your own dApps? From cryptocurrency specialists to blockchain developers, we have the talent you need to bring your blockchain project to life.

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8. Edge computing and the Internet of Things

It’s 2023 and not only is the Internet of Things (IoT) expanding, but so too is our collective ability to compute at the edge. According to IoT Analytics, the global market size will increase 19% to $238 billion in 2023. Industry Research reports that the global edge computing market is poised to reach $55.93 billion by 2023.

It’s not hard to imagine why. The larger your fleet of IoT devices, the bigger the data your analytics pipeline has to handle. The next step in digital transformation is to store that data and make decisions locally, at the edge of your distributed architecture. This cuts down on the performance bottlenecks and latency issues associated with sending and receiving data between a centralized cloud and the individual edge devices.

Today, this synergy between IoT and edge computing technologies manifests in many forms, including self-driving cars, supply chain management, smart grids, and predictive maintenance of factories.

The skills you need

So what does the skillset of an edge computing architect look like? Basically that of a cloud solutions architect. All the major cloud computing platforms offer developer tools and solutions for managing IoT edge applications. Leading IoT platforms include Google Cloud IoT Core, AWS IoT Core, Azure IoT, and IBM Watson IoT.

The talent you need

Looking for top independent talent to help you build your own IoT-powered apps? From IoT specialists to Arduino programmers, we have the talent you need to get your IoT project off the ground.

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9. Automation and the rise of DevOps

Development and operations (DevOps) speaks to the natural tension between the developers who build the apps and the IT operations staff who manage the infrastructure that deploys them. Integrating these traditionally siloed groups opens the door for greater agility and automation across an organization. DevOps is as much a culture as it is the automation and integration tools used to implement it.  

For enterprises that rely heavily on software, success is intimately tied to an organization’s ability to build, test, and deploy their applications at the speed of innovation. According to IMARC Group, the global DevOps market size reached $8.7 billion in 2022, and that number is projected to reach $32.7 billion by 2028.

So what trends do we see shaping the DevOps industry?

AIOps is what happens when you apply the latest advancements in AI to DevOps. Basically take all the data collected from monitoring tools across your entire CI/CD pipeline, and apply machine learning to extract actionable insights for improving your processes. AI can identify patterns across your development and deployment system that even the best engineers might miss. These patterns can be used to improve everything from security to deployment times.

Google’s 2022 Accelerate State of DevOps Report noted security as top-of-mind for the DevOps community in the wake of some 22 billion records being exposed in 2021. They found surprisingly broad adoption of emerging security practices in 2022, with 63% adopting application-level security scanning as part of continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) systems for production releases. Expect DevSecOps investment to continue to rise as organizations combat growing cybersecurity threats in 2023.

The skills you need

The skillset of a DevOps engineer in 2023 might familiarity with these tools:

  • Configuration management tools such as Red Hat Ansible Automation, Chef, and Puppet
  • Source code management tools such as GitHub and Bitbucket
  • Continuous integration tools like Jenkins and CircleCI
  • Continuous testing tools like Selenium and Appium
  • Continuous monitoring tools such as Nagios and Splunk
  • Container orchestration with Kubernetes or Docker Swarm

The DevOps toolchain is constantly evolving, DevOps engineers need to continue to upskill as tools change and new ones become available.

Talent you need

Looking for top independent talent to help unify development and operations across your organization? Search for top DevOps engineers to meet your needs today.

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10. Cybersecurity is top of mind for everyone

Cybercrime is predicted to cost the world $8 trillion  in 2023, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. If cybercrime were a country, it would be the third largest economy after the U.S. and China. The average cost of a data breach in 2022 was $4.35 million .

It’s no wonder why cybersecurity investment continues to increase year over year. Yet despite best efforts, the cyber security talent crunch is real, Cybersecurity Ventures predicts 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs globally in 2025.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Ransomware revenue plunged for the first time in 2022 thanks to increasing efforts in ransomware mitigation such as encrypted data backups and snapshots. Chainanalysis monitored the cryptocurrency addresses of known ransomware groups and noted a revenue decline of 40% between 2022 ($457 million) and 2021 ($766 million).

The skills you need

If one thing is clear in 2023, it’s that cybersecurity professionals are in high demand. That means ethical hacking certifications are in high demand. Other noteworthy skills include identity and access management (IAM), virtual private networks (VPNs), and a solid understanding of cloud security best practices are key.

The talent you need

Looking for top independent talent to help you stay secure in the next decade? A certified ethical hacker (CEH) can run penetration tests to identify security vulnerabilities and a certified information systems security professional (CISSP) can ensure security best practices are built-in to your technologies and processes.

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Developing a digital transformation strategy in 2024

In this article, we looked at the top ten digital transformation trends poised to shake up 2023. From AI chatbots to rising costs of cybercrime, organizations that are able to pivot and adapt to an ever evolving landscape are key. Keeping up with the latest digital transformation trends can seem daunting, but with the right strategy in place it’s possible to craft a competitive edge that will last into 2023 and beyond. Check out our handy guide on developing a digital transformation strategy to learn more.

Disclosure: Upwork is an OpenAI partner, giving OpenAI customers and other businesses direct access to trusted expert independent professionals experienced in working with OpenAI technologies.

Upwork does not control, operate, or sponsor the other tools or services discussed in this article, which are only provided as potential options. Each reader and company should take the time to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.

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Author Spotlight

Top 10 Digital Transformation Trends for 2024
Yoshitaka Shiotsu
Technical Copywriter & SEO Consultant

Yoshitaka Shiotsu is a project engineer turned technical copywriter and SEO consultant who regularly contributes to the Upwork Resource Center. He specializes in helping tech companies, startups, and entrepreneurs set themselves up as voices of authority within their target industries.

Top 10 Digital Transformation Trends for 2024
Technical Copywriter & SEO Consultant

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