Software Development Trends - Top Trends That Will Dominate 2019
The first quarter of any new year brings analysis of past trends, a close look at best practices, and strategic planning for the coming year. In the software development industry, it is critical that a company stays on the cutting edge of burgeoning trends or they will quickly be left in the dust. Software development trends are changing rapidly and, as this happens, software development teams are reevaluating and broadening their scope of what constitutes outstanding software. They are also evaluating what constitutes an optimal customer experience. With success objectives established, it is important to consider what are continuing and emerging trends in the software development arena for 2019 and beyond.
Trend 1: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are certainly not new but, they also are not going anywhere. The development of software that is adaptable and intelligent is important on both small and large scales. As software ‘learns,’ it is able to think intelligently and adapt its’ behaviors accordingly.
The reasons for an increase in dependence on artificial intelligence and machine learning can be boiled down to two things: improved engagement for the user, and efficiency. The more artificial intelligence and machine learning is used, the more information is collected, aggregated, analyzed, categorized, and utilized. Through this, a more personalized user experience is created which is not only more engaging but also improves efficiency. And, for businesses, the more efficiency is approved, the more money they are able to save by reducing business expenses. Artificial intelligence and machine learning touches all industries and all businesses - it is not only a trend for 2019 but one we will see far, far beyond.
Trend 2: Blockchain
Blockchain technology is something with which most people were unfamiliar only a few short years ago. However, with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency making headlines the last few years, blockchain has become something with which people are far more familiar today. After all, what gets people’s attention more quickly than money? The blockchain technology market is being forecasted to be one of the fastest growing industries in the next few years.
Blockchain technology simplifies bank transactions by creating a distributed ledger. It has traditionally been used in the banking and financial industry but is now being used across more industries. Forbes elaborates on how widespread the use of blockchain will become in 2019 and beyond, “Blockchain has highlighted a critical aspect of the way data is going to work in the coming decades, and that is a world where data will be ever increasingly distributed. Any solutions for next-generation data problems must come to grips with this fact, and plan for a day where critical data is distributed among many geographies and even across on-premise and cloud data centers…One of the areas of advancement in blockchain will be the standardization of interoperability among the different blockchains. While it is inevitable that there will be several blockchains with a specific business purpose, true benefits for the consumer or enterprise will be realized when they are able to "collaborate" in an open standard..Blockchain’s structure is built as a distributed ledger that ensures complete privacy and control of all data to all users. Any changes to the blockchain are always completely transparent and accessible to the public. The use of a single publicly available digital ledger makes it easy to spot hacking attempts, while also reducing the messiness associated with systems containing multiple ledgers…Blockchain technology is actively progressing. After the foundations for distributed consensus and exchange of value, we already see the early steps towards secure distributed data and common standards, aiming at distributed autonomous applications in a few years. This opens the opportunity for autonomous negotiation and trade among applications that can make markets more efficient.”
Trend 3: Automation and DevOps
So many of the trends we are discussing work together or work in some complimentary manner to enhance the benefits of each other. Automation and DevOps are a software industry trend that is no exception to this. As mentioned earlier, artificial intelligence and machine learning will become more and more important in the coming years and it is that learned intelligence that will become a critical component of automation and DevOps.
The automation of software development allows teams to include ‘virtual developers’ on their team. While we are a long way away from virtual developers being able to completely develop software independently, a combination of artificial intelligence and automation allows for improved efficiency and reduced costs without sacrificing quality in software development. And, for product testing, it is far quicker and more efficient to have it done by artificial intelligence and automation rather than manual testing. Further, because there is an increased demand for artificial intelligence and automation, there is also an increased demand for software developers experienced in using and working with this type of technology.
Trend 4: Replatforming and Modernization
With technology changing every second, it is understandable that a lot of applications are left playing catchup. Applications exist on particular platforms but if those platforms become outdated, replatforming must take place for modernization to take place. Forbes explains the advantages of replatforming for application modernization, “Replatform migrations move assets to the cloud with a small amount of up-versioning -- perhaps using a managed DB offering or the addition of automation-enabled autoscaling -- to benefit from cloud infrastructure. While a slower migration path than rehosting, this approach offers a solid middle ground between rehosting and refactoring, allowing workloads to take advantage of base cloud functionality and cost optimization, without the level of resource commitment required for refactoring.” The key to replatforming as a whole is preserving the existing functionality of your application while modernizing the technology to preserve business-critical application usability.
Trend 5: Microservices
More and more companies are beginning to decouple their monolithic applications as the pressure to be more agile, more flexible, and the need to continually deploy functionality to users faster rapidly increases. This trend has picked up steam as more organizations share the stories of their successful migrations and the benefits microservices have helped them achieve. For any company looking to create applications that are more scalable, fault tolerant, and more quickly deployed, microservices is not a trend to be ignored.
Trend 6: Progressive Web Applications
The term “progressive web app” or PWA has been around since about 2015, though there is still some confusion as to what exactly a PWA is. That is because a PWA is some combination of a mobile app and a regular web app but there isn’t just one ‘formula’ for combination. According to industry experts, PWAs follow 3 general rules: they run under HTTPS, they have a Service Worker, and they must include a Web App Manifest. They take all of the features and usability of a native mobile app but bring it to a regular website for a more cohesive and unified user experience. This is important because PWAs not only improve the user experience and engagement but they also increase conversions. We will see a rapid increase in PWAs in 2019 and beyond.
Trend 7: Cybersecurity
With the increase in IoT (Internet of Things), cybersecurity is more important than ever before. Layers of cybersecurity protection must not only address current security needs but anticipate the needs and threats of the future for more comprehensive protection. Data is stolen - all the time - and that is more than a troubling security breach that can leave sensitive information exposed, it can also lead to significant financial loss.
Every industry is increasing their internet presence, website-based services and features, and more, and that just means an even greater demand for robust cybersecurity. That cybersecurity is not just dependent on one factor but software developers know just how important their role is in cybersecurity moving forward.
Trend 8: Outsourcing
Demand for tech talent has reached new heights, and the need for firms to keep up with growing consumer expectations, and to control costs, continues to increase. As a result, software outsourcing is becoming a necessity for many organizations. As more companies have made their decisions on whether they should outsource at this point, there is still much debate as to where and how to outsource technology needs in the most cost effective way. As more and more countries develop their technological prowess, the number of options has never been so vast. In order for companies to make this determination in 2019, they must evaluate all of the possible options available to them in order to find the ideal outsource partner.
Trend 9: IoT
The Internet of Things, or IoT, as aforementioned, is something most people are familiar with today. In essence, it is the ever-increasing dependency on internet connectivity for every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Appliances, automobiles, home technology, home security, business security, business technology, business services and more - they have all been consumed by the IoT. Every single industry is integrating smart features into their products and that simply means there is an increased need for software integrations in a wide array of areas.
The reason for the increase in the IoT is that when artificial intelligence, machine learning, and internet connection are used either independently or together, process efficiency is greatly improved which saves time, adds convenience, saves money, and so on. Needless to say - all industries are interested in all of those advantages and thus, we will see an increasing trend towards IoT in the future.
Trend 10: Mixed Reality
Mixed reality is exactly what it sounds like - a mixture of physical and digital realities into one experience. While this sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, software development industry professionals know just how prevalent this will likely become in the next 2-5 years. When we think about the experience we have as a human without technology, and the experience we have when leveraging the power of technology to improve our human experience, it only makes sense that we would try to blend the two even further.
Some prime examples of mixed reality are online shopping and online home improvement. These two areas have made leaps and bounds to improve the user experience with mixed reality because they know it will lead to increased conversions. If someone can see a dress on a real person that is moving around, or see what furniture, paint or a complete remodel will look like using their home’s own dimensions or architectural features allows them to really picture what it will be like, making them more prone to ‘pull the trigger,’ so to speak. As can be imagined, this has wide-reaching potential to overhaul almost every industry so it is inevitable that this will be a big trend in the coming years.
It is extraordinarily important to pay attention to existing and emerging software industry trends. By doing so, you can anticipate what is coming and begin to make adjustments and adapt to industry standards. But, it also allows you to take a close look at what you are doing and find ways to be at the forefront of software and technology trends so that you can meet the needs of your customers and be an industry software development industry leader.