We’ve covered the technical skills every web developer, data analyst, and IT specialist should have on their resume in 2020. Now it’s time to look ahead at which technical skills are growing in popularity on the Udemy Marketplace. These frameworks, languages, and cloud computing platforms represent skills that have grown in popularity based on data from Udemy’s 50+ million global learners over the last three years from 2016–2019. As you consider where to invest your learning in the decade ahead or which tools to adopt within your organization, look to these 10 hot technical skills. For more learning and workforce training insights, download the 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report: The Skills of the Future.

The top 10 hottest technical skills of 2020

1. TensorFlow

The #1 hot technical skill for 2020 is TensorFlow, a deep learning Python library developed by Google. It’s used for an artificial intelligence specialization called neural networks, which we’ll also cover in this article. The library is used to uncover insights and predictions from large datasets. The fall of 2019 saw a much-anticipated update to the popular library with the release of TensorFlow 2.0. Since its initial release, TensorFlow has amassed an ecosystem of tools and the ability to use the library in languages other than Python, including JavaScript and Swift. 

These tools, built by a community of TensorFlow enthusiasts, include TensorFlow.js, a JavaScript library that trains and deploys models in the browser; TensorFlow Extended which prepares large data pipelines for machine learning tasks from start to finish to deployment; and TensorFlow Lite, which uses less processing power than a desktop computer to deploying models on mobile or Internet of Things devices. TensorFlow 2.0’s biggest update is the integration of Keras as the default API, which allows for simple and fast prototyping.

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2. Chatbot

According to a Gartner prediction, by 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be handled completely by artificial intelligence — chatbots, specifically. Chatbot technology is software powered by AI to mimic human conversations. A boon for scaling customer service teams and offering round-the-clock support, chatbots recreate the way a human interacts with customers to solve administrative tasks, sales, or frequently asked questions (FAQs). In a Gartner survey of CIOs, chatbots were named as the primary use of AI in their organizations from finance to healthcare to retail, which is why it lands at #2 in our list of hot technical skills for 2020. 

Conversational UI, or the natural way humans tell computers what to do through messaging or speaking, is built on a complicated backend of artificial intelligence techniques like machine learning and natural language processing, as well as data mining. However, there’s no need to worry about how to upskill your technical teams on chatbot creation from scratch. Chatbot engines like DialogFlow (owned by Google) do the heavy lifting of building and deploying conversational interfaces for companies. By combining chatbot engines with development teams equipped in JavaScript and Node.js skills, organizations can adopt chatbot technology without completely restructuring teams. 

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3. Microsoft Azure 

While Amazon’s AWS cloud computing platform remains the market leader in cloud providers, Microsoft’s Azure cloud services are becoming a popular option for enterprises requiring strong security implementation and alignment with the suite of Microsoft services already in use by the organization. A multi-cloud approach is also rising in popularity as IT leaders recognize the cost savings and efficiencies available in leveraging different cloud providers for different purposes. The growth of Azure demand landed this technology at #3 in hot technical skills for 2020.

So that IT specialists can verify their skills in Azure, Microsoft offers 10 different certifications ranging from the generalist Azure Administrator to the advanced Azure Architect. Even if your team isn’t using Azure solutions currently, Udemy instructor Scott Duffy suggests learning fundamentals for the platform to propel personal career growth and to get ahead of any technical shifts your company could make as it migrates more IT practices to the cloud. 

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4. OpenCV 

Through a branch of artificial intelligence called computer vision, computing systems learn to identify and analyze static images and videos. This technology is now applied to help self-driving cars identify obstacles on the road, accurately diagnose medical conditions, and even identify old photos of your parents. The computer vision industry is projected to grow to a market value of $26 billion by 2025. Democratizing the use of computer vision for developers of all experience levels is an open-source library called OpenCV, which is our #4 technology to watch in 2020. 

OpenCV has Python, C++, and Java interfaces and runs on macOS, iOS, Linux, Windows, and Android operating systems. The library supports applications like facial, gesture, and object recognition systems. This technology was once available only to advanced scholars, but thanks to OpenCV, developers with JavaScript knowledge can build computer vision models. 

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5. Neural networks

Part of the deep learning branch of artificial intelligence, neural networks are algorithms built to function like the neurological pathways of the brain. By mimicking the complex way humans learn, these algorithms can recognize patterns within complex datasets and generate independent insights on the data. Rounding out the top 10 hottest technical skills on Udemy, building neural networks is a skill you and your team will want to master for 2020 and beyond. 

As Udemy AI instructor Kirill Eremenko explains “neural networks have been able to increase the usefulness of computer systems and more benefits are sure to come.” How exactly? By using programming languages and frameworks like Python and TensorFlow, developers create complex graphs made up of layers of nodes and edges. Every node in a layer is connected to every node in the next layer, transmitting data as a human brain does. This approach allows neural networks to make much more complex predictions than other machine learning approaches. For instance, neural networks can identify objects in images, detect fraudulent credit card activity, or predict a city’s housing prices with near-perfect accuracy. 

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6. LPIC – Linux Certification

Year after year, Linux, an open-source operating system based on the Unix operating system, takes top honors for the most commonly used platform and most loved platform categories in Stack Overflow’s developer survey. It’s estimated that 16,000 developers have contributed to the Linux kernel since 2005 and the OS can be found on 96% of the world’s top one million web servers. 

Linux doesn’t show any signs of losing popularity in the coming decade, so companies want to ensure their teams can properly administer and maintain their internal Linux instances. At #6 in Udemy’s hottest technical skills is LPIC prep to pass the Linux Professional Institute’s exam for Certified Linux Administrators. The certification validates a professional’s ability to perform key tasks like maintenance on the command line, installation and configuration of computers running Linux, and basic networking configuration. 

7. Ethereum

Ethereum is an open-source, decentralized software platform based on blockchain technology. While interest in blockchain technology as a currency fluctuates, Ethereum’s use for smart contracts and distributed applications has propelled it to the #7 hot technical skill on Udemy for 2020. While Ethereum does have a cryptocurrency, Ether, developers are creating applications that run on Ethereum because they know it will run as programmed without downtime, censorship, fraud, or other third-party interference.

Ethereum applications are built off a network of computers (also called nodes) which are used to transfer money between parties and store data. Each node has a full and separate copy of the blockchain, which acts as a database to store every change made to a transaction or application. As an example of Ethereum in use today, because of its decentralized network, Ethereum has been used by the United Nations for an efficient and secure distribution of refugee aid.

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8. Splunk

From servers to IoT sensors to syslogs, a staggering amount of the data companies process is machine-generated rather than human-generated. Monitoring, analyzing, and reporting on this high volume of data is a challenge for even the most skilled IT teams. This is where Splunk, the #8 hot technical skill on Udemy for 2020, becomes an important tool.

Splunk is software that ingests both structured and unstructured data from nearly any source and easily mines that data to provide business insights through report visualizations and alerts. Splunk uses Search Processing Language (SPL), a proprietary hybrid of SQL and Linux that’s simple for non-developers to use. Splunk is already a popular big data analysis tool and continues to see growing adoption thanks to an engaged user community that collaborates on APIs and Software Development Kits (SDKs) to extend the product’s capabilities. 

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Quantum geographic information system (QGIS) is a term many professionals aren’t familiar with, but this #9 hot technical skill has an increasing use in the age of mobile-first and Wi-Fi-equipped devices. QGIS is a type of GIS software that stores geospatial data — data with a geographic component such as map coordinates. Spatial data can be found everywhere from Google Earth to satellite data to your GPS-connected fitness tracker. 

Understanding how to use GIS tools is becoming more important for technology teams as location tracking services, car navigation systems, and IoT devices become more embedded in our daily lives. QGIS is an open-source, cross-platform GIS that allows users to edit, manage, visualize, analyze, and even compose spatial information or maps. Industries including telecom, agriculture, consumer goods, retail, network services, and many more have functions that can expect to call QGIS a necessary skill. 

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10. Kotlin

In the top five of developers’ most loved languages is Kotlin, a programming language used for Android development. Because it’s a language for the Java Virtual Machine, Kotlin can be used anywhere Java is also used. Google even made Kotlin an official language of Android apps. Its popularity is only continuing to rise, which is why it rounds out our list of 10 hot technical skills to watch for 2020. 

Kotlin is a developer favorite because it’s a language with a clean and concise design. This drives a more manageable code base for the future and helps development teams ship code faster. Additionally, developing in Kotlin reduces the likelihood of error, as its compiler facilitates searching for bugs and performing checks to avoid runtime errors. 

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