Cloud, edge, and 5G will drive global tech industry growth to $5T this year

The IT industry is poised to grow in 2019, despite concern over customer spending weakness and political uncertainty, according to a CompTIA report.

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The global tech industry is projected to grow 4% this year to $5 trillion, with upside potential of 6.4%, according to a Wednesday report from CompTIA. However, an economic slowdown and international trade issues could push the growth forecast down to 1.5%, the report found.

Industry growth is also reflected in the workforce: In 2018, we saw an average of 250,000 tech job postings by US employers each month, the report noted.

"It's an exciting time as we embark on the next wave of innovation. Technology is more accessible than ever; and there are more opportunities to use technology to build and grow organizations," Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA, said in a press release. However, "while the potential is great, the challenges and anxieties are great, too," he added.

SEE: Digital transformation: A guide for CXOs (Tech Pro Research)

Reaching new customer segments, selling new business lines, and launching new products—particularly in emerging technology areas—will help drive growth in 2019, according to the industry executives surveyed in the report.

While CompTIA's IT Industry Business Confidence Index remains in positive territory, industry executives cited concerns, including the potential for a financial crisis, government turmoil, and margin pressures, as factors that could impede growth, along with usual concerns such as customer spending weakness, the report found.

Several trends will shape the tech landscape, workforce, and business models moving forward into 2019, according to the report. The rise of the cloud, edge computing, and 5G will form the modern economic infrastructure, CompTIA predicted, and emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) will open new possibilities in ambient computing. Distributed technology models will continue to challenge existing structures, and stackable technologies will aid in digital transformation efforts, the report predicted.

Companies will also begin to hyper-personalize products to take customer experiences to the next level. Consistent tech talent shortages will fuel new, creative solutions, and digital/human models will begin to shape the future of work, according to the report.

"This year's trends reaffirm the importance of thinking about technology holistically," Tim Herbert, senior vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, said in the release. "While discussions of 'The Next Big Thing' have their place, the practical reality for most organizations is the need to understand how technology building blocks spanning infrastructure, applications, data, and as-a-service models fit together."

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • The global tech industry is projected to grow 4% this year to $5 trillion. — CompTIA, 2019
  • In 2018, there were an average of 250,000 tech job postings by US employers each month. — CompTIA, 2019

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Image: iStockphoto/metamorworks

By Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.