The Future of Software Development in 2021 and Beyond

The year 2020 stormed into our lives, bringing changes that most of us were not ready for. Businesses had to either take the path of overwhelmingly rapid digitalization or put their very existence at risk. We reached an unprecedented milestone when technologies were once and for all to become the heart of even very traditional businesses. 

While organizations were flying blind through the dark times of the lockdown, software development came under the spotlight – helping companies to embrace agility and resilience. Considering massive shifts that happened last year, a lot of which are going to stay with us forever, more software innovations are likely to be seen in the near future.

So what’s going to be in the software engineering news in the coming years? Let’s take a stab at it.

Digital skills will remain in high demand

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation. It resulted in a rapid embrace of technologies and, in the meantime, revealed a shortage of people whose job it is to deliver them – software developers. 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for this role is projected to grow 22% by 2029. Today, not only tech companies cry out for software engineers. Many organizations have shifted their business processes online and started to launch services on the Internet from scratch. They are in need of technical talent. As more and more companies want to renew their services and develop new technologies to meet their customers’ fast-evolving needs, the lack of specialists will get even bigger. Furthermore, the skills recruiters are expecting from the applicants now are different from those before the quarantine. 

All this is likely to put small and mid-sized businesses, looking for candidates with the right skill set, into a difficult position. No wonder 41% of organizations intend to increase their spending on software outsourcing, as a Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO survey shows. Not to lose in the race of constantly changing demands, partnering with software development experts sounds like a pretty wise plan – it’ll help businesses to be better equipped with new tools in the software industry to keep the pace of digitization.

Remote work is here to stay

remote work

For the past one and a half years, a number of companies have adopted – not by choice – unprecedented workplace flexibility with all the advantages and drawbacks it entails. What once seemed like a temporary situation is now clearly the new normal and won’t be going anywhere. Since the genie can’t be put back in the bottle, there’s nothing we can do but learn how to effectively deal with more people working remotely.

The Terminal-commissioned research finds the vast majority of employees love the benefits that remote work offers and don’t want to get back to the old ways. The top reported advantages of remote work for software engineers include a lack of a commute, enhanced work-life balance, and increased autonomy. 

At the same time, a lot of respondents admit that it’s become harder to collaborate or feel part of a team. Indeed, no matter how difficult it is to imagine developers’ work without over-the-shoulder reviews, yet here we are – this form of collaboration has become a thing of the past. But if code reviews can be completed through a specialized tool, unstructured, organic interactions that occur due to the physical proximity of employees in the office are difficult to recreate. 

The way software engineering has changed is especially tough for managers and new hires. The former are more likely to face burnout; the latter suffer from the lack of valuable team building and learning that takes place at natural moments of “collision.” New ways of encouraging team collaboration are likely to be found to build more inclusive remote environments for employees.

Proprietary software will be outnumbered by open-source 

Since its emergence in the ’90s and up until recently, open-source software has been disparaged as lower in quality and security than proprietary solutions. With time, these myths were dispelled though, and the situation has changed drastically. Today, business use of open-source software is soaring. 

Although proprietary software providers still dominate the market, open-source software plays an equally important role. Moreover, a number of factors show that more is yet to come for open-source development. The first one is that it’s fast. Increasing the speed of time-to-market and pushing out updates on a frequent basis are no longer issues. Secondly, open-source software is decentralized. As long as open-source projects have multiple backers and stakeholders, businesses won’t suffer from vendor lock-in. Finally, since the code is open, this software is easy to customize, which means that the solution can be tailored to meet customers’ specific needs.

A Red Hat report shows that about 80% of IT departments plan to increase their use of open-source software over the next year, with 95% of IT specialists saying that open-source has become strategically important to their business. While proprietary software use is expected to be down to 32%, the use of open-source, in contrast, will increase to 44%. Using open-source solutions is a software trend for a reason – they offer companies powerful capabilities without having to invest heavily straight away. 

Low-code platforms will be taken more seriously

low-code platforms

High demand for software solutions and the lack of qualified developers have brought low-code platforms to the forefront. These platforms help businesses quickly react to the changes and rapidly deploy new solutions due to the simplification of the development process. Instead of laboring over raw code forever and a day, engineers can focus on adding more value to the product.

Taking into account the growing gap between developer supply and demand, it’s expected that low-code tools will get even more popular as their adoption doesn’t require any special qualifications. Writing “everything” or “almost everything” from scratch is no longer relevant merely because “almost everything” is already there. Does it mean, however, that programming we got used to will vanish into thin air? Not at all. It’ll just transform from a kind of craft into an act of art. 

The significance of developers is still rising because they are not swamped with low-level programming and integration and have an opportunity to concentrate more on customers’ problems rather than snags in the code. For the past two years, a lot of companies across industries have optimized their business processes, cut development costs, and scaled fast with the help of low-code platforms. 

Because of the pandemic, businesses started massively switching to online operations and needed suitable instruments for that. Creating applications in a traditional way could lead customers to bankruptcy. Meanwhile, with low-code, development has become several times faster and cheaper. Solutions based on low-code are more flexible, which means that companies can effortlessly adapt their software to any changes.

Taking advantage of future software development technologies

The last year put us on a fast track to a completely new world. The future of software development turned into the present in the blink of an eye. Far from everybody was ready to keep afloat – the rest is history. 

Do you want to leverage the changes that the future holds? Contact us for a free consultation on choosing the best software development strategy for your business.

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