What the global pandemic, global recession and supply chain issues have taught every business is that it’s fundamental to build systems and processes that are agile and can adapt to new requirements. Ultimately, we need to be able to prepare for the unexpected and software development forms a fundamental part of that.
Technological demands will continue to rise as businesses, large and small, aim to streamline processes, improve efficiencies and deliver more value and better customer experiences. And as powerful technologies such as cloud services, artificial intelligence and blockchain come to the forefront, organisations are expecting more from their software solutions than ever.
Trends That Are Becoming Widely Adopted
With the rapid digital transformation and move to remote working that has happened over the last couple of years, some upcoming trends have quickly moved to more mainstream adoption. Organisations need to be aware of these trends and consider adopting them to remain competitive. Here are just some of the trends that have become more widely adopted:
1. Low-Code/No-Code Platforms
By using low-code or no-code platforms, developers and non-developers alike can build platforms without using any coding. This gives smaller organisations or those on tight budgets the ability to create their own functional applications in-house. Meanwhile, those who use a development team can achieve more. Professional developers can work more efficiently and, with the basics covered, can focus on business logic and custom integrations. No-code tools are set to increase in popularity further, putting power in the hands of every business to achieve more.
Automation is becoming key to every business; it enables manual processes to be eliminated along with human error, delays and frustrations. And automation is used within software development itself, with AI now beginning to write code. There are very few areas that automation doesn’t prove to be a valuable development tool; from coding to quality assurance, it can speed up the development process and greatly improve productivity.
3. Serverless Computing
Traditional software developers would need to facilitate the process of deploying their code to the server or the cloud; however, serverless computing works to automate that process. This helps businesses to leverage the benefits of automatic scaling within their cloud infrastructure. With serverless computing, developers can build and run application code without worrying about provisioning or managing servers or backend infrastructure. As with low-code platforms and automation, this saves valuable time and enables developers to focus on custom features.
4. Big Data
Businesses collect a massive volume of data but are often unable to process it in real time. Instead it is catalogued in large and, often, unstructured datasets. A data scientist can examine and organise sensitive and valuable data and organise it in a structured, cohesive way that can be consumed by other systems and used to improve processes, gain invaluable insights and drive business growth.
Cutting Edge Trends to Keep an Eye On
The cutting-edge is where the most innovative and pioneering technology can be found and it’s where the real action is happening where software development is concerned. While some of these technologies may already be on your radar, they’re set to evolve and expand exponentially over the coming years:
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
While we may no longer see AI as something new, it is rapidly evolving and is being applied further to areas such as cybersecurity. The technology can help automatically detect malicious behaviour within software and identify breaches. In addition, AI is being developed further for use within chatbots and conversational interfaces. ChatGBT (Generative Pre-Trained Transformer), launched by OpenAI in November, is quickly gaining in popularity. It uses adaptive human-like text to answer questions, write stories and engage in dialogue. In fact, it can also debug computer code, admit mistakes and reflect incorrect requests. It’s a clear example of how advanced AI is becoming and could well replace traditional search engines like Google at some point in the future.
2. Machine Learning
Machine learning is a part of artificial intelligence that makes decisions based on previous information or real-time information. Again, as with AI, there are already many applications of machine learning. Voice assistant technologies like Alexa are examples of how heavily technology giants have already invested. As machine learning learns, making decisions based on previous information, it stands to reason that the more it is used, the better and faster it will become. Machine learning is set to be a fundamental component of future software applications.
Blockchain technology creates a secure, decentralised database record of all transactions in a sequential order and, importantly, that record can’t be altered. Blockchain adds security and transparency to transactions and is becoming more widely used. While predominantly thought of in relation to cryptocurrencies it also offers the ideal solution for creating trustless systems, storing data in transparent ledgers and moving data in peer-to-peer networks. As mobile applications need to become evermore secure, blockchain is becoming increasingly popular.
4. Deep Learning/Neural Networks
Deep learning is a part of machine learning involving a neural network with three or more layers. The neural networks aim to simulate the behaviour of the human brain and learn from large sets of data. A network with a single layer can make approximate predictions but the additional layers in deep learning work to optimise and refine accuracy. Deep learning will be used more frequently to enhance coding design and software delivery and alleviate some of the extensive organisation and preparation work from development teams.
5. Business Process Orchestration
Business process orchestration is the coordination, synchronisation and monitoring of multiple automated workflows. While it involves automation, it takes the concept to the next level, ensuring workflows work together in a cohesive way that fosters collaboration and communication. Business process orchestration delivers a holistic view of processes and workflows and integrates all the software and applications used across different teams into a single platform with a single view and a single source of truth.
Predictions for the Future of Software Development
Software development is a rapidly evolving industry and is invaluable for adapting processes and services to meet changing market needs and user expectations. We can’t know for sure how new technologies will evolve, but they are certain to focus on the key areas of agility, quality and security.
What is certain is that software development will continue to be key to our businesses, their operation and, ultimately, their success. Having a handle on the future trends that might shape software development offers invaluable insight into future opportunities that will help businesses to stay ahead in an ever-competitive environment.