2018 has proven to be a great year for developers. According to U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of best jobs, software development is the best job in the country. With so many emerging tech developments, the opportunities for developers are seemingly limitless. However, keeping up with the current trends and the abilities most valued at the moment is crucial for staying competitive in this growing field. Here’s a look at a few of the top need-to-know trends for developers.
Blockchain technology has been an increasingly popular topic due to its growing impact on nearly every industry. Originally devised for cryptocurrencies, blockchain is creating a stir as the tech community seeks out other potential uses for the technology. In the battle for claiming enterprise-level dominance, a recent Juniper study found more than half (57 percent) of the world’s largest corporations are considering the deployment of their own blockchain solutions. These corporations include Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon, and IBM, who, at the moment, leads the way for pending partnerships with banks, food distributors, and government regulation agencies for blockchain use. With full faith in the potential of the technology, IBM CEO Virginia Rometty claims “blockchain will do for transactions what the internet did for information.”
As this technology proliferates, industries of all kinds are going to build apps on blockchain platforms, causing the demand for blockchain developers to soar. Considering there were only 5,000 full-time blockchain developers worldwide in 2016, this is a specialty any developer could capitalize on.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
At this point, almost every business has been touched by AI. As the technology continues to expand and improve, it’s in any developer’s best interest to jump on the bandwagon. Leaders in the field, such as Mark Hurd, advocate for AI’s future influence, predicting that “90 percent of all enterprise applications will feature AI capabilities by 2020.” As a key driver of digital transformation in business, developers can benefit from the need for AI implementation in executing various tasks for providing optimized services and enhanced customer experiences. The most popular applications forecasted include voice-activated home assistants, smartphones, and big data.
As grim as it sounds to discuss the potential benefits from the rise in cyber attacks, it’s too relevant not to explore. In 2017 alone, more than 61 percent of small businesses suffered a data breach, in comparison to 55 percent in 2016. In all industries, the risk of an attack is on the rise and, in return, so is the need for stronger software security. This threat creates an array of opportunities for software developers.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The IoT ecosystem is on the fast-track for expansion due to the excitement everyone has about the potential it presents. While the general public fawns over wearables like Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Android Wear, companies from all industries are seeking out involvement in this growing trend. To put a number on it, an IHS survey estimated there are 20 billion IoT-connected devices globally. This enables a lot of opportunities, especially as the demand grows for developers to build applications that allow for optimal user control of devices from anywhere at anytime.
A combination of reality, virtual reality, and augmented reality, mixed reality (MR) is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. Going forward, various businesses are exploring the potential behind immersive experiences for consumers. MR could allow shoppers to try out clothes on virtual mannequins or allow homeowners to see how home improvement designs will look before committing to a renovation. As this technology is picked up in the shopping, remodeling, and gaming spheres, it’s only a matter of time before every industry wants in on the action and MR developers are in big demand.
As we approach 2019, these software development trends will increase the demand for developers with a broad skill set. It’s never too late to study something new and further your skills, so take advantage of these emerging opportunities in the year ahead.