Artificial intelligence (AI) and big data have made their presence known in the enterprise, but the influence of these technologies will reach new heights in 2020, an Udemy report found. The technology has made operations smarter and more efficient for retailers, healthcare, field service work, cybersecurity, and more, but 2020 will see AI, and big data take on business learning.

SEE: Tech Predictions For 2020: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

Based on what more than 40 million people are learning on Udemy worldwide, including by role, industry, and country, Udemy’s 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report identified the top five trends for organizations to consider in 2020.

With both technical skills and soft skills proving critical to landing and keeping tech jobs, the report offered the following five insights to help organizations best upskill and reskill their employees; and AI and big data are consistent themes in these trends, according to Udemy.

Top 5 workplace learning trends

1. AI goes mainstream

A major shift toward AI and data science occurred over the past three years, with tech skills including TensorFlow, chatbot, Microsoft Azure architecture, OpenCV, and neural networks seeing the greatest growth from 2016 to 2019. In 2020, AI will not only be popular, but it will be the norm for businesses, the report found.

The most popular tech skills for 2020 include Python, React, Angular, and machine learning, which indicated a strong emphasis on AI, data science, and web development, according to Shelley Osborne, vice president of learning at Udemy.

“Overall, these tech trends demonstrate a healthy appetite for both AI and data science skills (30%) and web development frameworks (30%),” Osborne said. “As a reliable indicator of what skills are in demand, this activity illustrates why we predict that 2020 is the year that AI will go mainstream. So if you’re looking for a first step into a growing technical profession, you can’t go wrong with an introduction to Python or TensorFlow.”

This theme is also shown in Udemy’s top emerging tech skills of 2020, which included Gatsby.js web framework, AWS big data, React Hooks, Microsoft Azure Architecture, and Next.js web framework.

SEE: Python is eating the world: How one developer’s side project became the hottest programming language on the planet (cover story PDF) (TechRepublic)

2. The full potential of humans and machines will be realized

The fear or robots stealing human jobs has dissipated for the most part, as humans realized the power of robots supporting their work. The partnership of humans and automation will become even more prevalent during 2020, the report found, as robotic process automation (RPA) gains ground.

Both RPA and business process management tools ranked in the top 10 fastest-growing process and tools skills for 2020, according to the report.

RPA are software robots that automate repetitive, manual tasks humans perform on tools such as Microsoft Excel, databases, or web applications, according to the report. Businesses will continue realizing that the more they automate monotonous tasks, the more time human employees will have to conduct more important work.

RPA systems aren’t alone in reaching its full potential, as humans expand their soft skills to focus on growth mindset, creativity, and communication in 2020. Soft skills are crucial for tech professionals, with the majority (67%) of HR professionals saying they withhold job offers from qualified IT candidates because they lack these skills, according to a West Monroe Partners report.

Other top soft skills that ranked high in the report included focus mastery, innovation, storytelling, and culture awareness.

SEE: Learning programming languages for free: Github’s best guides for Java developers (TechRepublic)

3. Learning and development will help reskill the workforce

Automation and other disruptive technologies will force organizations to offer more learning and development (L&D) trainings; and, employees aren’t viewing this shift as a bad thing, the report found.

The majority of organizations (64%) have an informal or formal reskilling program for employees, which proves to be a better system than replacing old talent with new, according to the report.

Employees were even optimistic about learning these new skills, with 29% saying they were excited to improve their skill sets with the onset of automation. With that said, 35% of L&D teams said they increased their L&D budget in the past year, the report found.

4. Organizations will move toward a data-driven culture

With data-driven organizations statistically performing better than those forgoing data decision making, organizations across industries are prioritizing data-based skills, according to the report.

Business services, financial services, software and technology, information technology, manufacturing, government and nonprofit, consumer goods, and retail industries are all turning to data, upskilling employees’ tech skills to include deep learning, algorithms, automation, natural language processing, Excel, data analytics, and the cloud.

Check out pages 23 through 29 in the report to find the top 10 fastest growing skills to find the top 10 fastest growing skills in each of those industries.

5. Countries will upskill coveted tech skills

Upskilling is happening both across industries and across the world, according to the report.

The US, India, Brazil, the UK, and Germany are projected to have the most professionals learning popular tech skills in 2020. As for the top countries with the highest learning on popular tech skills per learner, Bulgaria, Italy, Ukraine, Greece, and Canada topped the list, the report found.

Overall, the report unveiled how crucial upskilling and reskilling employees will be in 2020.

For more, check out How to prepare your workforce for the digital era on TechRepublic.

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