Yesteryear’s image of software developers designing office programs for the two basic platforms, PC and Mac, has gone extinct. Today’s software developer could work on anything from cloud integration to Internet of Things (IoT) development, automotive computers, mobile apps, or cyber security.
The entire business world is migrating to a fully digital, online, data-driven universe and software must be developed to facilitate each stage and each function of that universe. Developers’ responsibilities now include cloud PaaS (Platform as a Service) development, iPhone and Android environments, machine learning algorithms, business development, and globalization.
Rapidly expanding industries and companies jumping on the data bandwagon need competent, hard-working developers to meet their diverse needs. Software developers can find opportunity in the following fields:
1. Business Development and DevOps – The mundane, everyday tasks of running a business have always taken up time that could be spent more productively elsewhere. Through the DevOps model, software developers collaborate and communicate with IT departments while automating infrastructure and delivery. The simpler, housekeeping tasks of running a business, such as scheduling, managing customers, and monitoring employees, giving business owners and managers more time to tackle matters that are more complicated.
2. Messaging Platforms/Chatbots – Messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, and cell phone provider messaging apps have officially grown far beyond simple text-based chatting. Soon, messaging friends will be able to schedule dinners, order tickets, arrange for Uber pickup, and buy each other gifts without having to transfer over to another application. Bots (small, single-purpose programs within a larger app) are being developed to facilitate countless in-app tasks for messaging platforms.
The best way to illustrate the future of Chatbots at work is through an example. “Imagine this: you are chatting with friends on FB Messenger,” describes Elad Natanson, co-founder of app distribution platform Appnext, in his 2016 article, “Messaging Platforms, Bots And The Future Of Mobile” in Forbes. “[Your friends and] you decide to meet for dinner. A bot ‘hears’ that you are thinking about eating and suggests new restaurants in your neighborhood. You then make a reservation at one you’ve been meaning to try just by sending a message.”
3. PaaS – Platform as a Service (PaaS) will be the driving force behind many large companies’ migration to the cloud in the coming years. PaaS offers businesses solutions to managing their various applications directly through the cloud while providing the infrastructure and algorithms needed by each application. This takes the responsibility of maintaining infrastructure, security, and various other expensive resources away from the client and places everything within the cloud. Software developers design the platforms, interfaces, and other functions of PaaS to ensure the smooth running of client applications.
4. Open Source – Large-scale development projects often take advantage of open-source platforms such as Linux to speed up the process, distribute the workload, and create modular tasks. Since anyone can edit and repurpose open-source code, the range of possibilities is truly endless.
“Open source development is a highly collaborative process, and the only way for this to be successful is for all participants to make their technical motivations, intentions, and plans related to their participation visible to the rest of the community,” describes open-source authority Ben Lloyd Pearson in his blog post, “An Introduction To The Open Source Development Model” on Samsung’s Open Source Group webpage. “This encourages greater collaboration and cooperative planning, which improves overall productivity of all parties and helps dependencies get resolved more quickly.”
DevOps also benefits from open-source technology such as GitHub by building strong team dynamics, improving feedback loops, and facilitating close-knit and highly collaborative software development projects.
5. Google Go – First developed back in 2007, Google’s revolutionary programming code quickly became one of the most popular programming languages in the world. Go is extremely easy to learn and performs better than other languages. Among those who have already adopted Google’s programming language are Dropbox, Netflix, Cloud Foundry (a PaaS), and of course Google itself. Developers who are well versed in Go will be in high demand in the coming years.
6. IoT/Wearable Tech – The IoT grows exponentially each year as more devices, machines, and industrial equipment connect to the wider world around them. Software developers working on IoT products must balance the need to leave devices open for the natural development of the customer’s future desires with the customer’s current needs. This means programmers not only have to make wearable IoT devices functional, according to their promise, but also make them upgradable in the future.
7. Artificial Intelligence – Deep-learning algorithms are designed to “think” the same way a human brain thinks. Software developers will come into direct contact with artificial intelligence in data analytics, IoT, business development, and social media. As this exciting field grows in ability and popularity, deep learning could become one of the busiest fields in the tech industry.
“Data-fed machine learning is starting to have a significant impact on how businesses are making decisions, how information is delivered, how information is retrieved, and is driving changes in how engineering and operations team are set up, as lower-level tasks are no longer an issue,” according to programming expert Rachel Roumeliotis in her 2017 article, “Five Software Development Trends Shaping Enterprise” on Oreilly.com.
8. Healthcare – Hospitals, private practice doctors, and patients are now more interconnected than they ever have been. IoT, private clouds, and machine learning are all being adopted en masse by the healthcare industry. Doctors are now able to monitor and manage patients’ care via the cloud and make adjustments to treatments and medications immediately. Software engineers must be in place to handle healthcare organizations’ programming workload for records management, database software, and cloud computing.
9. Agriculture – The agriculture industry has experienced a massive technological shift of late. Precision agriculture involves big data, drones, sensors, and farm management software, all of which require full-time software development. Environmental controls, cellular agriculture (micro farms), smart packaging technology, gene manipulation, and e-grocer businesses have also pushed the entire agricultural business world into the computer age.
10. Cyber Security – Software developers who focus on security are few and far between. Yet, more and more corporations are migrating to the cloud, adopting IoT technology, and incorporating a variety of internet technologies into their business models.
Recent graduates with bachelor’s degrees in cyber security can transition smoothly into a master’s program in software development. Once the student acclimates to programming from a software development-facing approach, his or her value to tech companies can increase substantially.
“While it’s key to focus on security during software development, the limited talent pool confounds the situation: There aren’t enough professionals to keep up with the growing threats,” writes software development professional Steve Mezak in his article, “Tighten Security With Better Software Development,” on CIO.com. “Indeed, finding and keeping good software development talent is already challenging enough, let alone retaining talent that’s security-focused.”
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Messaging Platforms, Bots And The Future Of Mobile – https://www.forbes.com/sites/eladnatanson/2016/04/08/messaging-platforms-bots-and-the-future-of-mobile/2/#23c72a4c850f
An Introduction To The Open Source Development Model – https://blogs.s-osg.org/introduction-to-open-source-development-model/
Five Software Development Trends Shaping Enterprise – https://www.oreilly.com/ideas/5-software-development-trends-shaping-enterprise
Tighten Security With Better Software Development – http://www.cio.com/article/3168785/cyber-attacks-espionage/tighten-security-with-better-software-development.html
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