September 14, 2020

Disruption in Software: Top Dozen Trends for 2020

Disruption in Software: Top Dozen Trends for 2020

As the software industry is booming and contributing billions to the economy, software engineers play the pivotal role of delivering quality software. There will be an estimated 27.7 million software developers worldwide in 2023, with the USA leading with 4.2 million. As software engineering is becoming the most desired skill, here are some statistics that will blow your mind.


The world is relying on the prowess of software engineers for innovation. Here are the most exciting 12 software development trends of 2020.

Trend 1  —  Cloud & Cloudification will Boom

The global Cloud Market size will be $488.5 billion by 2026 and does not show any sign of slowing down.

However, as exciting as the market size numbers are, the numbers become astonishing when we look at the projected revenue! The Cloud Market will reach $266.4 billion by the end of 2020 and $354.6 billion in 2022, witnessing a 37% overall growth year-over-year. Though, Cloud computing has its challenges, such as security and privacy risks, it continues to grow big by offering a new level of accessibility to online experiences.

As every cloud provider has their own unique set of features, software engineers will need to look to developing solutions that are cloud agnostic, or in some cases very specific to the features available on the cloud of choice. In short, be open to learning more about the cloud that is being chosen by your employer or customer because when used efficiently it can yield great results.

Trend 2  —  Containerization

Containers have now reached a maturity level that meets its demand. Every change in a software or a business process can be isolated and decoupled, to be able to grow and shrink rapidly.

Worldwide container management revenue has been up by 15% from 2019 as developers embrace its benefits that allow complete packaging of services which in turn, eliminates the toil of maintaining a unique developer environment. Containers can run on any server and can be managed through a container orchestrator such as Kubernetes. Business applications are now more independent from the infrastructure and operating systems required to run them. It provides more flexibility and requires lesser time to market required by the modern digital businesses.

Trend 3  —  Low-Code No-Code

In a world where digital innovation plays a key role in business growth, product creativity, automation, these features mean all the difference between zooming ahead or falling behind the competition. As low code can make anyone a developer, features, apps, and processes can be created and modified by non-technical users for their own purposes. Low code is bringing a fresh, unique perspective leading to innovative outcomes. Example — As healthcare establishments require immediate report on Covid-19 infected patients, some of the healthcare workers use low-code to create telehealth platforms and applications in less than a day.

The low-code will be used in 65% of all application development by 2025.

Trend 4  —  Frameworks & Languages

Though the number of languages hasn’t changed much, there seems to be a lot of interest in building frameworks for specific problems. We will continue to see a lot more companies jumping into the bandwagon of creating newer frameworks. The most notable frameworks in the recent times are React from Facebook, Angular from Google, and vue.js, from a set of varied sources.

Most of the larger ecosystem players are going after the software developer audience to get more mind share and data with their frameworks. These frameworks are very light weight, have wonderful documentation, better response times, reusable, and have a simple learning curve. These also have a huge impact on development projects by helping software engineers develop faster with high quality.

While the frameworks are booming day by day, languages like Python, GO, and more, are steadily expanding their market share. As software is getting to be widely used across various industries and devices, software engineering is becoming easier with simpler languages and frameworks.

Trend 5 — Data Science & Engineering (AI, ML, Big Data, Analytics)

In 2020, data science is peaking and so is AI, ML, Big Data, and Analytics. Software Engineering is taking on a totally new phenomenon with a lot more folks moving away from traditional software engineering to data science — which could be data manipulation, encapsulation, visualization, and monitoring. Data has become the new order of the day and that is sector that has sprung up away from normal software engineering and development.

Predictive, prescriptive, and proactive analytics with data are becoming important for enterprises and is being used in multiple verticals. The management teams are starting to uncover the real benefits of adhoc dashboards and reporting that are helping them to make faster and quicker decisions.

Trend 6  —  Importance of Learning

Learning on the job is a norm these days and the world of software development is an ever-evolving industry. The demand and popularity of different programming languages, frameworks, and tools alter every year. In order to grow within the industry, a software engineer cannot afford to become obsolete, and their skill set always has to remain up to date.

One habit every successful software engineer would vouch on, is to regularly read current trends and industry news. Reading them should become a second nature for you, in fact, here is a great article on how tofoster a continuous learning mindset and remain at the top of the game.

There are a growing number of online resources that are cost effective, high quality, and convenient for software engineers. Online courses and specializations are available from codecademy.com, udemy.com, lynda.com, and coursera.org. Make sure you are ready to learn to keep yourself relevant in the industry.

Trend 7  —  Working from Home — Remote Work Force

With the current trends and situation, remote work is here to stay. Tech companies seem to be taking the concept pretty seriously. Some companies like Facebook and Google are strategizing and extending their remote work to mid-2021.

Though working from home is cool in many ways — it is the software engineer who is affected the most of all the job profiles. The developers are more isolated than ever. Teaming for solutions and architecture is getting difficult and the software developers are feeling the pressure these days. Code reviews, working effectively, and efficiently as a team is being hampered by working from home, which will directly impact software development and the quality of the solution/product. The best of the best software developers will need to figure out ways and means to succeed through the new normal.

Trend 8  —  DevOps, Continuous Integration & Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)

Due to the growing need for fast application delivery with high quality, there is a high demand for DevOps that has reached an all-time high in 2020. The DevOps market is about to hit a growth rate of 24% approximately $10.3 billion by 2023. CI/CD is especially important in software engineering today, as we rely so heavily on online servers. We can simultaneously use the same server while it is being updated, this wasn’t possible in the past but now thanks to CI/CD we can knock out two birds with one stone.

Another big reason for CI/CD is the open source of tools and tool kits that have helped the DevOps ecosystem with some latest greatest solutions.

Trend 9  —  Cyber Security

The large number of remote work environments and the uncontrolled access to personal data is driving a huge need for processes that support and secure endpoints. Here is a list of latest data breaches and cyber-attacks in 2020.

The reduced security on BYOD and large number of connected mobile devices, are being heavily targeted by hackers. Along with them, hacking/managing assets on the cloud, the logistics industry, connected vehicles, or any other connected device is posing a huge vulnerability.

It is an absolute necessity for software engineers to manage or design the upcoming applications without any security loopholes and adhere to the privacy regulations as well. Securing data right is also an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed due to ransomware attacks and data privacy guidelines by states and countries which have convoluted software engineering.

Trend 10 —  Progressive Web Applications (PWA)

Today’s consumers use their smartphones for everything, especially purchases, so they must have the smoothest experience possible. This has accelerated the need to offer an omni-channel experience by the developers that has sparked interest in PWAs. They have the potency to increase 50% conversions roughly, 70% mobile traffic, and increase 3-fold in engagement with customers/users and the response is pretty fast. Here are some PWA success stories.

There are many well-known and successful companies that are experimenting with PWA, choosing an enhanced experience instead of native applications.

By the end of 2020, Progressive Web Apps is expected to replace 50% of all consumer-facing native apps. These enable web pages to act and feel like traditional applications.

Trend 11  —  The Experience Economy

People today are looking for software that reduces clicks, has better eye candy, loads faster, and is on the cloud anytime with all access. Gen Z has a much shorter attention span, look for instant gratification, and personalized experiences. The software engineers must understand their emotional spectrum and build applications that provide them with a better experience.

No longer can the software engineer churn out code and throw it out to delivery, they need to work towards developing for the next generation experience economy. For example, software engineers at companies like Amazon have been doing an excellent job at providing you with the finest personalized experience. That is why each and every time we hop onto Amazon, we are satisfied with the user interface, its predictions, orders, delivery, you name it! Same goes with products from Apple or Google as well, UI/UX is quickly becoming the primary priority for any consumer.

Trend 12  —  The Internet of Things, Everything

By the end of 2022, there will be more IoT gadgets online than there are traditional devices like laptops, smartphones, or PCs.

Though, it is exciting to have so many connected devices, there are some serious questions to ponder on.

With gigabytes of data coming into picture, will the future of connected devices be scalable enough? When every enterprise dealing with a connected device is opting for its own choice of cloud service, the software connecting them will have to pick data from different sources. A lot of personal information is being exchanged, will the software be secure enough? Can the software platforms scale enough for the data and velocity the data is being pumped into the platforms? The next top priority for software engineers would be to build the right software on devices and the platforms that host them, making sure they can address data scalability, big data, data lakes, and data security among a few major issues.

My Take:

Software engineering is changing rapidly by the day. The barrier of entry for software engineering has been greatly lowered, many of which begin to program without mastering the basics of software engineering! Nowadays anybody can code, thanks to programmers leaving a simple code for others to copy and paste. This is both a blessing and a curse. For one, this makes it extremely simple for anyone to create code for whatever their purpose is. Secondly a curse because the art of true software engineering is dying! Decades ago, there was innovation at every step with computer programming and now everyone is producing the same code over and over with little to no innovation.

I would emphasize software engineers of the future to master the basics of software development, understand the end-to-end architecture of systems, solutions, and applications before starting to develop a piece of software. From there, you can truly architect something revolutionary and there lies the true beauty of software engineering. That is what separates a software engineer from a programmer.

So, the million-dollar question remains — do you want to be a software engineer or a programmer? Thoughts, Comments, Brickbats and Roses are appreciated.

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This post was written by Asokan Ashok, the CEO of UnfoldLabs. Ashok is an expert in driving customer insights into thriving businesses and commercializing products for scale. As a leading strategist in the technology industry, he is great at recommending strategies to address technology & market trends. Highly analytical and an industry visionary, Ashok is a sought after global high-tech industry thought leader and trusted strategic advisor by companies.


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