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Digital trends in 2018

Even a couple of months into the year, GDPR undeniably remains the big news for 2018. From 25 May, all EU member states will adopt the General Data Protection Regulation, which replaces the 1998 Data Protection Act in the UK and is designed to strengthen and unify data protection throughout the European Union. And whatever happens with “Brexit”, the government has said that it will bring the GDPR into UK law.

The key development is the formalising of the concept of data controllers – individuals or companies that determine how and why someone’s personal data is being captured – and data processors, which process data on the controller’s behalf. Controllers are pretty much any business that holds data about customers and employees. Data processors, as the name suggests, process data on the controller’s behalf – they are the party actually capturing the data. 

GDPR enforces an “opt in” from users, which controllers must respect or face financial penalties. The definition of personal data itself also expands under GDPR to take into account increased use of smartphones, social media etc.

As the GDPR compliance deadline looms, many businesses remain unsure whether they will fall foul of the new rules. GDPR experts will be in demand and candidates with relevant experience or who have thoroughly researched GDPR will be highly sought-after. 

But of course, GDPR is just one part of data analytics. As the value of data to businesses continues to increase, there may be scope for more roles alongside data scientists and data engineers, bridging the gap between these areas so that businesses can use data more effectively to improve business performance. Companies will want to create more value from the data they possess, making sure they have extracted all relevant information out of the masses of data they hold. Data analysis of existing software and apps will also be in demand to enhance user experience. 

Expect to hear more about “digital twins” as digital models of real-world objects (from cities to humans) will allow for complex and effective simulations to help deal with potential events.

DevOps will really come into its own in 2018, as more companies adopt the working practices associated with DevOps in order to ensure their software stays current and they can respond to market fluctuations more quickly. There is an argument that as DevOps matures and companies learn to develop software alongside hardware (allowing for product updates in response to technological change or consumer demand), the nature of testing may also change, replacing some aspects of traditional software testing with real-time monitoring, adapting processes as actual user information becomes available. 

Read our related blog:
GDPR: 5 things you need to know
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