21Aug 2020

Software Development: What You Ought To Know To Stay Competitive

The demand for software developers did not start in 2020; there has always been a gap and it is likely the gap will remain for many years. As a software developer, you can keep up with the trends in development languages but it is the emerging technologies such as AI, IoT, and Blockchain that are shaping the industry more.

In almost all industries, there are digital transformations. The use of Artificial Intelligence-enabled programs such as Gmail, predictive searches on Google, personalized recommendations for products on eCommerce sites, and other technologies are shaping the way software is developed.

The next software developed will have to work with robots, cryptocurrencies, AI, and IoT. These technologies are especially important for online merchants whose field keeps changing. To stay competitive, you need to understand what is trending.

Mixed Reality (MR) and Software Development

Mixed Reality (MR) and Software Development

MR provides great solutions for enterprises. MR combines Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) and it has a large role in enterprise applications. AR offers a link between the physical environment and the digital content. VR, on the other hand, seeks to create an immersive experience for users online.

MR already rolled out in defense, tourism, architecture, gaming, tourism, and healthcare. These sectors are already seeing the value of MR. The market share of MR continues to grow and is projected to reach $9.982 billion by 2024. Between 2018 and 2023, MR might see a compound annual growth rate of 73.2 percent.

Depending on the nature of your business, there are so many applications of MR including:

  • 3D modeling for manufacturing businesses in a VR environment
  • Use of VR and AR to train employees in complex jobs 
  • Overlay digital information in a physical environment in real-time
  • Offer engaging content to consumers in the media and entertainment industry
  • Allow customer to try out products virtually before buying

BlockChain

Blockchain was made popular by cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether. However, the technology has so many uses for enterprise applications. The use of blockchain promotes transparency, efficiency, and increased security. Being a peer-to-peer network, blockchain offers a decentralized ledger that promotes security and transparency. Contracts that run under blockchain are tamper-proof and create improved trust. The execution of these contracts is irreversible which makes their administration easier.

Many business and government systems are integrating blockchain in their systems and this has led to the rapid growth of the technology. The blockchain technology is expected to reach $57.641 billion by 2025. There are many sectors where the integration of blockchain can bring great value.

  • Streamline supply chain management through its distributed ledger and smart contracts
  • Improve Identity and Access Management processes with its tamper-proof data and distributed ledger
  • Offers better analytics for businesses thanks to its immutability and its audit trail – your business can run its own analytics tools on reliable data
  • Disruption of existing centralized models through the creation of decentralized apps. Application developers can use platforms such as NEO and Ethereum to create these apps
  • Blockchain can secure the Internet of Things – since everything on IoT takes place over the internet, there is a need to secure the systems and blockchain can help do that

Artificial Intelligence

 Artificial Intelligence is trending in all software fields

Big brands such as Google and Amazon are already using AI in their applications. With AI, machines and programs are able to perform tasks that were previously only possible with humans. AI is multidisciplinary – parts of it are already commercialized but research continues in many dimensions.

AI brings different capabilities including machine learning, vision, deep learning, speech, natural language processing, and many more. Basically, AI trains computers to learn from experience and improve their ability to perform human-like tasks. According to Gartner, AI will bring more than $2.9 trillion for businesses in 2021.

The AI market is growing rapidly. MarketandMarkets projects that the AI market will grow to $190.61 billion by 2025. There are many ways that AI can benefit businesses and organizations including:

  • Image and video recognition to help law enforcement and security agencies
  • Processing of patient data to promote healthcare delivery organizations
  • Streamline customer service operations using chatbots
  • Predictive maintenance to help improve the efficiency of machinery in the manufacturing industry
  • Automating low-end tasks during software development testing

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is one of the technologies that have shaped the world. The advancements in technology have far-reaching impacts not only in the business world but in homes and so many other industries. Software developers have to consider IoT when developing their applications. IoT is an integration of physical devices, gadgets, appliances, and vehicles. Devices on these networks run on application programming interfaces (APIs) and they exchange data over the internet.

There are so many technologies used in IoT including Big Data, sensors, ML, AI, APIs, and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID). Forbes predicts that the global marketplace for IoT will grow to $520 billion by 2021.

IoT will have a lot of applications in businesses, government institutions, and non-governmental institutions. These include:

  • Predictive maintenance in large companies such as manufacturing, oil, and gas
  • Monitoring the consumption of energy in real-time using smart meters
  • Rack assets to help businesses in inventory, supply chain, and logistics
  • Connected vehicles can self-drive and reduce the number of accidents
  • Fleet management for companies with a lot of vehicles

Trends in Language and Framework for Enterprise Apps

Trends in Language and Framework for Enterprise Apps

The languages and frameworks used a few years ago might not be so applicable today. As a software developer, you need to understand popular languages and frameworks. Stack Overflow Developer did a survey to identify the most popular languages and frameworks. The results showed that:

  • JavaScript reigns as a developer’s language. Other popular languages are HTML/CSS, SQL, Java, and Python. 
  • jQuery leads among web frameworks followed by  React.js, Angular, and ASP.NET.
  • js is the leader among libraries and networks followed by .NET.
  • Popular databases include MySQL and PostgreSQL followed by Microsoft SQL. 
  • For native development on iOS and Android, Kotlin and Swift are the most loved languages.

Cybersecurity

Cybercrimes are costly – they have cost enterprises trillions of dollars in losses. It is therefore crucial that every software developer considers cybercrime when developing applications. As more technologies come up, so are the skills of cybercriminals. In most instances, cybercrimes are organized making them even more dangerous.

Cyber-attacks include different attacks such as a denial of service attacks, phishing attacks, and much more. It is estimated that cybercrimes will cost more than $6 trillion in enterprise losses in 2021. Developers need to find ways to mitigate risks on applications proactively. This means that a developer needs to manage the project well, adhere to available IT architecture, and follow coding guidelines.

Some of the risks that applications need protection from include:

  • Injection
  • Exposure of sensitive data
  • XML external entities
  • Ineffective authentication
  • Cross-site scripting
  • Deserialization without enough security

There are new security threats almost every day that developers have to be aware of.

Progressive Web Applications

Native apps are the best for enterprises looking to deliver the best customer experience. However, enterprises find it challenging to develop apps for both iOS and Android separately. You will also need to factor in the long term maintenance of two code bases.

Today, most developers prefer to use Progressive Web Apps which are web apps that deliver an experience close to native applications. The apps are responsive, fast, secure, and they work offline.

A PWA easily installs on the home screen and it supports push notifications. Users do not have to visit the App Store to get these applications as they can find them on the web. They are linkable and always updated.

Although PWAs do not give the experience of a native app, they come in handy for enterprises that are struggling with the budget. You will only have one codebase to develop and maintain making them less costly. They give you the same customer engagement that you get with native applications.

Low-Code Software Development

Instead of using a forest of code, the low-code development trend seeks to minimize the amount of code used and increase the efficiency of software development.

Instead of starting from scratch, low-code platforms come in the form of GUIs and all a developer has to do is draw a flowchart that shows the business logic they need to create. The GUI platform then generates a code that implements the logic.

By using low-code development, businesses are able to expedite their projects, cut down development budget, and reduce the backlog of IT development projects. You do not have to rely on niche technical skills, most of which are expensive to hire.

Just choose the right development platform and you are set to go. If you choose to go with these options, choose enterprise-quality platforms such as Mendix and Appian.

Quality of Code

This is not a trend – it is one of the things that will stay in software development for a long time. Code quality is very important in software development. As such, you need to consider this in every project you undertake. There are several aspects of this including:

  • Readability
  • Predictability
  • Consistency
  • Reliability
  • Maintainability
  • Robustness

It is easy to maintain applications with good code quality. When the code has low complexity, the organization doesn’t have to solve so many bugs. If you are the one maintaining your software, code quality helps you find abnormalities very fast.

Conclusion

With so many new technologies that determine how you do your job as a software developer, the need to outsource work has only grown more. For instance, manufacturing companies need IT systems but their IT team might only be skilled in simple system maintenance. For such companies, outsourcing development work to an IT company helps them focus on manufacturing. Most businesses have increased the IT budget for outsourced work from 6.3 percent to more than 8.5 percent.

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Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K, is the Tech Lead at Acodez. With his rich and hands-on experience in various technologies, his writing normally comes from his research and experience in mobile & web application development niche.

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