My Top Three 5–10 Year Trends of 2017

1. Computer Science Education

2. Distributed Work

3. Cryptocurrency/Blockchain

These are three of the trends I think will continue to really emerge in the next five years. They are already here — but mostly all on the fringes, even if they have received some attention.

1. Computer Science Education

We’re all in on this one at CodeHS — the top comprehensive platform to help schools teach computer science. 5 years ago there were very few K12 schools teaching computer science. Now we are seeing a number of states start to develop standards, a few start to require it, and lots of schools start to teach it. It’s still not obvious yet, and even if high schools do offer it they usually just have one class — I think in 5–10 years it will be obvious that schools should teach computer science, the states will require it, and you’ll see lots of progress in US and international programs around K12 computer science curriculum, professional development and training and software. We hope in that time significantly more funding goes to schools and districts to implement computer science courses to make this a reality. I’ll guess over 80% of US high schools will teach computer science in 5–10 years and 20+ states will require it.

2. Distributed Work

If you google around on this, you’ll see many more companies are starting to support distributed work. We started to really support distributed work at CodeHS about 5 months ago, and now have team members in 10 cities. As we researched this trend, we found some great resources about it, but they still weren’t very readily available. We’d see a few of the same companies, and same bloggers and a few books. It’s common for larger companies to have many offices (though they don’t really think of themselves as a distributed company — they probably should). However for most small companies I know — they aren’t distributed. I think over the next 5–10 years distributed work is going to become even more common. You’ll see lots more software and companies popping up to support it, it will be a clear benefit to employees, and I think both the millenials and the older generations will want it, but for different reasons. I hope we reach a tipping point on video calls as well (Zoom is pretty good… but I’m hoping for something 5x better :) ). My guess is distributed companies will become increasingly common over the next 5–10 years.

3. Cryptocurrency/Blockchain

Bitcoin started 8 years ago in 2009. It had a number of big spikes in the last few years but really got lots of attention this year as it jumped above $10,000 and reached a $20,000 all-time high. There’s now a flurry of cryptocurrencies, the overall cryptocurrency market cap is $565 billion — Ethereum increased 8000%+ this year and Bitcoin increased 1300%+ this year. With the rapid increase and interest in Ethereum, ICOs raised over a billion dollars in 2017. However, cryptocurrency and blockchain is still on the fringes. The recent spikes brought in a number of speculators, but most people aren’t using it for every day transactions. Though ICOs raised a lot of money, they’re not yet funding a large number of companies. I think in the next 5–10 years the cryptocurrency ecosystems will mature quite a bit and it will change significant parts of the financials system as well as major internet applications, and the way people make every day payments.