As software developers work to create new and edgy tech ideas and improve on existing technologies, changes are moving at breakneck speeds. Advanced hardware, new frameworks, and other acceleration tools lead to better end products, which ultimately create trends that are adopted worldwide.
Software development is not only building on already-existing technology; it is taking tech innovations in new directions. The challenge for IT professionals is to stay ahead of the fast-paced changes and implement new ones. In 2016, custom software development focused on the Internet of Things (IoT). In 2017, the IoT direction is continuing, but the target is end users, whether they are multi-million-dollar corporations or consumers in the grocery store. Developers are utilizing smart solutions to bring computers and people closer.
At the heart of the emerging technologies are students who pursue advanced software development degrees. Skilled developers who can create, code and market new ideas are paving the path for the future of technology.
Tech professionals are looking to software development that will shape and transform daily life. The following are the leading four trends in software development for 2017 and beyond:
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI has long been considered a significant technological advancement, but it’s not until recently that it’s become a major player. AI is everywhere, from predictive analytics algorithm used by retailers like Target and Amazon to anticipate shopping needs to fraud detection monitors from banks and credit cards. Chatbots, including bots recently added to Facebook and Kik, are introducing personalized voice services for more natural interactions. Digital assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa, help with everyday tasks like dimming the lights and turning on music. A study in the online journal Ophthalmology, by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, found AI may even play a role in fighting blindness associated with diabetes.
“What we showed is that an artificial intelligence-based grading algorithm can be used to identify, with high reliability, which patients should be referred to an ophthalmologist for further evaluation and treatment,” said Dr. Theodore Leng, the study’s lead author.
Major corporations that include Google, IBM, and Apple are racing to acquire private AI companies to make further advances in the technology. Ray Kurzweil, Google’s director of engineering, said by 2030 computers will be communicating at human levels, with emotional intelligence and personalized interactions.
2. Expanded mobile platforms
Mobile phones are not just essential to communications but also to Internet connectivity. Studies show business leaders and employees crave mobile-first technology that provides instant and easy access to data. Consumers want to be able to cross multiple devices to access the same information. Today, there are some 4.77 billion mobile device users. By 2019, the number of mobile device users is expected to increase to 5 billion. The driving force behind the growing mobility market is the impact of the IoT and its broad reach. IoT connections reach into transportation, energy, and agriculture sectors and are forecasted to boost the evolution of mobility strategy.
Researchers found businesses will be focused on Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) to make sure information is secure across mobile devices. Network giant Cisco recently announced an automated EMM service that allows companies to manage employee’s mobile devices, providing “real-time visibility into the amount of data employees are using on their devices.”
“In the next two years, business smartphones will grow to over one billion subscribers globally,” Jeff Orr, a research director with the technology market intelligence firm ABI Research, said. “There is an immediate market need for solutions that help enterprises automate device connectivity, usage accounting, and service management to curtail unnecessary mobility expenses.”
3. Cyber security growth
Millions of businesses worldwide depend on cloud computing for daily operations and increased connectivity, creating more opportunities for hackers to launch complex attacks that can exploit vulnerable networks and disrupt systems. Making the situation more critical is the sharp rise in IoT-connected devices in industries that include healthcare and manufacturing. Genpact Research Institute found 31 percent of Information Technology (IT) executives are so concerned about security issues they have delayed IoT adoption. Driving the concerns are the lack of standards, user errors, and links across multiple platforms.
In 2016, U.S. data breaches hit a record high of 1,093, representing a 40 percent increase over 2015, according to a report by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and CyberScout. The data privacy and research organization Ponemon Institute found cyber security starts with users. Businesses must foster a culture of security through training and programs that incentivize information protection, Ponemon said. In its 2016 “Managing Insider Risk through Training & Culture” survey, Ponemon found 66 percent of respondents considered employees to be the weakest link in cyber security. About 60 percent of respondents said their employees were not aware of cyber security risks to the company.
4. Advances in Augmented Reality (AR)
Pokemon Go and Snapchat are considered the driving forces behind the recent popularity of augmented reality. When Pokemon Go launched in July 2016, it was an instant sensation and since downloaded some 500 million times. Snapchat has pushed AR into daily lives, encouraging users to communicate and engage through AR. The world of AR, which provides a real-world view altered by virtual elements, is expected to increase more than 57 percent by 2022 to a $35.2 billion industry. At Facebook’s annual F8 conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company is testing programs that use cell phone camera functions to create AR images.
“As silly as these effects may seem, they give us the ability to share what really matters on a daily basis,” he said.
At the same time, AR is forecast to move beyond entertainment and further into education. For example, several companies have created AR training programs for welding. When learning to weld in real life, fusing molten hot pieces of metal with a blowtorch or electric arc can be daunting. Using a welding helmet equipped with AR technology, students take the first steps of learning through simulated environments. Instructors said it is a safer way to learn to weld.
Maryville University’s Online Master’s of Science in Software Development (MSSD)
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates the field of software development will grow by nearly 20 percent in less than a decade. Graduates of Maryville University’s Online MSSD program enter the field with advanced-level skills that easily translate into business competencies. The 100 percent online, 30-hour curriculum allows students to work from anywhere at anytime. Coursework includes coding, web applications, user interface design and database management.
Mobile phone users