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Software Development Trends for 2021

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Throughout the pandemic, we’ve witnessed industries fast-tracking their digital transformation to simply stay afloat. As a result, the demand for top tech talent has never been higher.

The confluence of economic and work-life upheaval has changed the course of many of our lives. And the IT modernization tsunami has brought disruption on a massive scale.

Businesses are also banking on staying up-to-date and reliable during these challenging times. And as they scale back new projects they’ve shifted focus to core infrastructure, remote workflows, and cybersecurity sectors.

But the future looks bright for developers with the skills and flexibility to take advantage of this time of change and innovation. Here are some of the bigger trends taking center stage in 2021 and beyond.

Low-code, No-code

Low-code no-code (LCNC) solutions seem inescapable as they become more accessible and popular for scaling products quickly. For less tech-savvy teams they can bridge the gap with user-friendly, cross-platform UI, and let devs focus more on driving business.

“Because of its advantages, Gartner estimates that the low-code approach will account for 65% of all application development activity by 2024.” — What developers should look out for in 2021

And that doesn’t mean that developers will become obsolete … it means that hybrid teams will be able to orchestrate more, faster. Good business all around.

“Expect to see new hybrid teams emerge, with business users and professional developers building apps together with low-code tools built on cloud-native platforms.” — Jeffrey Hammond, VP & Principal Analyst at Forrester Research

Edge + cloud computing: Decentralized infrastructure

As data storage needs and management become a larger priority, businesses are looking to models that will save money and increase uptime. In the face of adversity, flexible options that solve these issues look promising for developers.

“Demand for cloud-native development skills is expected to expand in future years to satisfy the increased agility needed by organizations with a development model that span data centers and multi-cloud environments,” — Erica Langhi, senior solution architect EMEA Red Hat

Edge computing also offers advantages that the cloud can’t solve on its own. And IT pros willing to wade in will see a lot of opportunities.

“The worldwide Edge computing market is predicted to increase from 1.47 billion USD in 2018 to 26.84 billion USD by 2025.” — Statista Research Department

As modernization costs create a need for many businesses to decouple compute from storage,

a greater reliance on hybrid cloud architectures will arise. This increases the demand for developers with the know-how to create apps built just for these use cases.

The rise of AI and ML

The proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for transforming the user and customer experience is also sweeping industries. Some forecasts see AI-related business hitting $3.9 trillion by 2022.

Chatbots can now integrate AI to answer a client’s needs quickly and with a personal touch. And ML is helping test professionals enhance the efficacy of test automation by leaps and bounds.

As businesses ask developers to speed up this transformation and automation, developers with expertise in these fields are seeing a spike in demand. Not to mention cybersecurity (see: below) as AI is also being used to prevent and repel threats to keep businesses safe.

“Demand for AI and Machine Learning skills is growing at a 71% compound annual growth rate through 2025 …. IT Automation job skills are predicted to grow 59% over the next five years.” — Top 10 Tech Job Skills Predicted To Grow The Fastest In 2021

Serverless and Kubernetes

The flexibility and cost-effectiveness of Serverless infrastructures has grown by leaps and bounds (see also: cloud). Combined with the rising popularity of open-source, extensible platforms for managing storage and containerized services, there’s been a sea change for DevOps.

“Serverless delivers exact units of resources in response to a demand from the application. … With traditional cloud computing, the computer resources are dedicated to you whether you’re using them or not while with Serverless, you’re dynamically pulling only what you need from a vast ocean of resources.” — What’s the Difference Between Cloud Computing and Serverless?

As workloads shift to highly adaptable platforms like Kubernetes, demand for individuals with a deep understanding of cloud development grows.

5G and IoT

With the next generation of the Internet of Things (IoT) and always-connected devices, 5G and lightning-fast internet will be critical. As consumers look to businesses to solve their problems, developers are seeing vast opportunities.

“It is in the intersection of 5G and IoT where the next generation of transformations will arrive from,” — Tom Canning, VP of IoT at Canonical

The demand for augmented reality, resource-intensive apps, and Connected Technologies knowhow will only grow with 5G. Developers will be needed to help not only keep smartphones running smoothly, but to keep the “smartification” of entire city grids online.

DevSecOps FTW

As we mentioned many businesses are looking to keep their tech stacks reliable and shore up defenses during these times of adversity. The modernization of apps and services has also brought renewed attention to cybersecurity issues.

“…Job openings for cybersecurity engineers increased by 20 percent from February to March 2020, indicating an increased need for employers to defend their data and networks. Cybercriminals have taken advantage of the scattered work environment created by COVID-19 to perform phishing and various cyber-attacks.” — Easiest and Hardest Developer Skills to Hire For in 2021

Digital transformation isn’t the only concern. The “new normal” and #WorkFromAnywhere revolution requires DevSecOps to think about how teams communicate remotely with new scrutiny.

“And with the world switching to remote working, developers with cloud architecture and cybersecurity skills for the cloud are going to be highly sought after.” — Co-founder and CCO of CodinGame, Aude Barral

Hybridized business means flexible roles

These big shifts in how teams work together are forcing most businesses to rethink their strategies. Upskilling and reskilling have become hot topics as industries pivot to focusing on hiring from within.

Strategic thinking is in higher demand than ever to keep up with the ever-changing times. Individual roles are being rebranded by what niche skill sets developers can bring to the table.

And soft skills are more important for IT pros than ever, “… Around 66% of all new jobs will mainly rely on soft skills. Some of such top soft skills are collaboration, problem-solving, and communication.”

Full-stack developers who can think outside of the box, communicate effectively, and have a repertoire of both front and back-end programming languages will win the day.

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Category: Contracting Tips , Developer Life , Distributed Workforce , Hiring Strategy , Talent Sourcing