The new year is here, and many of us in the software industry are wondering what 2016 will hold. Here is where I think software is heading in the coming year.
Developer Trend #1: DevOps
DevOps is a movement fueled by automation and driven by system administrators, developers, project managers and anyone involved in software applications from development to deployment.
DevOps is constantly evolving, and 2016 will see the refinement of the tools and practices used. Current front-runners for tools are Git, Jenkins and Docker. If you are not already familiar with these tools, then it is time to start becoming so! Whether you are a SysAdmin or a developer, you will need to understand how to use these tools—especially as more large enterprise companies adopt DevOps. As for DevOps itself, there still is not a formal manifesto or certification aside from DevOps Engineering on AWS, but look for a consensus on a formal manifesto for practices to emerge from the community.
Developer Trend #2: Docker
Docker is a tool that aids in the success of DevOps. It simplifies the use of containers, which removes the worry over setting up and maintaining different environments and language tooling for applications. Although UNIX and Linux have offered containers for a long time, Docker makes containers easy to use. We can also expect Microsoft to release their version of containers. During 2016, we will see the use of Docker in large enterprise companies grow significantly.
Developer Trend #3: Programming Languages
As professional developers, we should know more than one programming language. It helps us to approach problems and find solutions in a variety of ways. The question always remains, “Which language should I learn?”
For 2016, I would say to learn or brush up your skills on Python, Swift or C++ (depending on the project), as I anticipate all of these programming languages gaining popularity this coming year. With that said, you can also expect Java and C to remain the most widely used languages, primarily to maintain existing code bases instead of green field projects. Although Objective C will still be used quite a bit because of the amount of existing code out there, it will continue to decline as Swift will be the choice for new development on Apple devices.
Developer Trend #4: Wearables
Watches are one item stacking high in the wearables trend, and throughout 2016 we will see name-brand, high-end watches adding more smarts to the collection. But I expect the larger trend to be wearables as clothing becoming indistinguishable from nondevice clothing, making the market for these devices grow. There will be a need for many applications, not just on the devices themselves but also to process and present the data that is being generated.
Before I wrap up, I will leave you a final trend to think about. I expect to see this not only in 2016 but every year moving forward: artificial intelligence (AI). Major tech giants, such as Elon Musk and Bill Gates, have previously expressed their concerns about AI if we’re not considering and proactively minimizing the risks. Musk has pledged a billion dollars to fund the nonprofit, OpenAI, to research and “advance digital intelligence in a way to benefit humanity as a whole” by using huge data sets to build robots. As professionals in the software area, we should all be working to make sure we get it right.
So there we have what I believe will take the storm in the software industry for 2016 and years to come. The best way to prepare and remain on top of the game is to ensure that your skills are current.
What do you think we will experience as developers over the next year?