Now when we’re almost 5 months in, let’s see what will dominate on the global software development scene during the rest of 2019 and beyond. This analysis of trends is based on 8allocate crowd expert predictions and musings.
1. Focus on hiring rational and straightforward software development consultants
Modern business is increasingly focused on results. While brands still need working hands to fulfill particular programming tasks on their software development projects, what they really lack today is a new generation of consultants with skills far beyond programming who can act as their advisors and use consultative and educational approaches to help them grow through digital transformation, BPA, legacy software replacement, long-term software development strategies, etc.
Specialists who can just code are no longer that interesting for entrepreneurs pressured to lower down their IT budgets by investors and/or current market situations while delivering state-of-the-art quality solutions. They need consultants who dive deep into their product, explore it from inside out, and help create an actionable plan on how to derive the best commercial value from it. As such, there is a growing demand for software engineers who can solve issues quickly, efficiently, cost-effectively, and qualitatively. Even if you need a robust tech solution, each cent invested in its R&D should be justified to ensure project/company growth, scalability, and sustainability.
Professional software developers understand that not every project task requires programming from scratch. In some cases, using already existing software, frameworks, and reusable components makes more sense than building stuff from the ground up or re-inventing a wheel. Several software apps can also be combined together to better meet client needs without blowing up development budgets. Other tasks, on the contrary, may require a new program or tool to be built from scratch, as the existing ones have particular bottlenecks that will cost the client additional overheads at the post-release stage.
That being said, it is essential for a modern software developer to have a strategic vision of a product, as well as business analysis and marketing skills to foresee what features will have to be added in the future to make more profit from it. In 2019 and beyond, software dev consultants who know how to act ahead of the time and can create highly scalable, predictable and automated technology solutions without overblowing client budgets will be most appreciated and sought-after by both startups and large enterprises.
As lack of tech talent is a serious issue affecting thousands of businesses around the world today, finding and hiring rational software development consultants onshore becomes a real rocket science so Western companies will continue looking to low-cost yet talent-rich locations like Ukraine as a way to access extensive expertise while keeping their software development budgets low.
The tendency of entering offshore markets for launching outsourced R&D or dedicated development teams is ascending. Companies like Samsung, KIA Motors, Daewoo, LG, Google, and Amazon have increased their presence significantly in Ukraine in recent years. They host hackathons and job fairs in all major cities like Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv or Dnipro, establish talent sourcing partnerships with the Ukrainian IT outsourcing providers and universities, run coding boot camps and extracurricular tech schools to grow and nurture own talent from junior resources, etc.
Another big trend shaping the future of software development is Business Process Automation (BPA) that was the main contributor to the evolution and adoption of the artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and products such as chatbots and virtual (aka voice) assistants. Mobile and web stores are already taking advantage of progressive web tech and expected to use such tools even more extensively going forward.
Python will also be among the top programming languages, according to our crowd expert. More and more developers are considering using it for their projects, especially when it comes to FinTech/InsurTech. This is not strange, because Python has several significant advantages such as extensive support libraries, robust integration features, high productivity, unit testing framework, and more.
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3. Clean code-driven development
Clean code is crucial to any software development success. When you don’t deliver clean code, you risk incurring a tremendous amount of technical debt that in the long run will cost thousands of dollars to eliminate and replace. The amount of time and resources needed to fix poorly written code can also threaten to derail the project.
When we talk about delivering clean quality code to our customers at 8allocate, we are primarily talking about reader-focused development style that produces apps that are easy to read, change and maintain by any successor team.
In today’s software development and architecture, simplicity is king! There shouldn’t be more code than you need to achieve your software development goals. Anything extra has to be eliminated.
Whether you’re engaging in C++ or PHP programming, the rules are the same. The source code needs to be readable, understandable, and maintainable by anyone taking over the project.
For example, if someone new comes in halfway through a software development project, they shouldn’t have to spend hours trying to figure out things like how different objects collaborate with each other, the purpose of each expression and variable, the role and responsibility of each class, and so on.
It’s also critical to have the ability to extend and refactor the code seamlessly. This means that anyone coming in at a later date should be able to understand the source code quickly, make changes, and be confident enough that the changes introduced wouldn’t break any of the existing functionality.
For another programmer to come in and quickly make changes to the code, you also have to ensure the following:
- Each class had a clear and concise API.
- The classes and methods were predictable and worked as expected.
- The code is easily understood, changeable, and testable.
- The code has its own unit tests, etc.
4. Return to functional programming
8alocate specialists note that although this process started back in 2017, it’s still affecting the software development industry in 2019 and will continue doing so in the months to come. Functional programming (FP) is the process of building software by composing simple functions, avoiding shared state, mutable data, and side-effects.
As far as functional programming is concerned, the key focus is on providing compressed and expressive syntax; quality error checking during the compilation process, and support for parallel computing. Examples of FP languages are Clojure, Scala, Erlang, and Haskell.
While functional programming (FP) opens up new great opportunities, it is still difficult to comprehend for many specialists. There’s an opinion that functional programming is like writing backward or solving a puzzle rather than telling the software what it should do to satisfy a particular user’s need. Besides advantages, software developers should also keep in mind that FP has certain disadvantages, and namely:
- Lack of a practical unordered dictionary, as well as a multitude;
- Not compatible with algorithms on graphs;
- Not compatible with solutions based on imperative programming languages (C, C++, Java).
The defenders of FP, as opposed to the second and third arguments, suggest that these aspects are not disadvantageous. Reasons why they opt for FP include but aren’t limited to the following:
- High-level abstractions;
- Shorter code resulting in fewer bugs and errors;
- Fewer language primitives;
- Flexible language structure.
In conclusion, everyone who’s already working or looking to pursue a career in software engineering should keep in mind that they’ll be working in very rapidly changing conditions, which will affect both their strategic and tactical tasks and goals.
In many ways, 2019 will continue the trend of the previous year. Imperative, and object-oriented programming will continue dominating software dev space, with functional programming taking center stage or gaining a good share of the market.
Tech talent deficit will continue to be the #1 issue in software development globally, with more companies turning to Outsourcing 4.0, or value-based outsourcing, to gain a competitive advantage and keep heads above water at times when AR, ML, and AR take center stage in software engineering.