The software development industry has been changing rapidly due to the introduction of new technologies such as machine learning and blockchain. Economies, jobs, and personal lives are becoming increasingly more digital, more connected, and more automated. Waves of innovation build over time, powering the technology-driven-growth engine that appears to be on the cusp of another major leap forward.
Emerging technologies are changing the way we work and interact with others, revolutionizing the way we do business, and making high-tech approaches an integral part of our lives. That is why we want to share some of the insights from our experienced engineering team regarding the current software engineering trends that dominate the industry today. Let’s see what they are, how they impact the world of business, and how you can adapt to get the utmost value from these innovations.
1. Artificial Intelligence
From managing global supply chains to optimizing delivery routes, artificial intelligence is helping companies of all sizes and in all industries improve productivity and the bottom line at every stage of the business lifecycle, from sourcing material to sales and accounting to customer service.
Computers are able to learn about the world in the exact same way that humans can, which means that through AI, along with an increase in computing power, computers will be able to start doing more complex human tasks at lightning speeds. With facial recognition, voice recognition, predictive analysis, and much more, intelligence machines are influencing nearly every facet of our lives to help improve efficiencies and augment our human capabilities.
2. Machine Learning and Deep Learning
Another trend in the software industry is the increased use of machine learning, a subfield of AI, which is essentially a computer’s ability to learn on its own by analyzing data and tracking repeating patterns. Machine learning uses methods from neural networks, statistics, operations research, and physics to find hidden insights in data without explicitly being programmed for where to look or what to conclude.
In traditional machine learning techniques, domain experts need to identify most of the applied features in order to reduce the complexity of the data and make patterns more visible to learning algorithms. The biggest advantage of deep learning algorithms is that they try to learn high-level features from data in an incremental manner. This eliminates the need of domain expertise and hardcore feature extraction.
Most industries working with large amounts of data have recognized the value of machine learning technology. Banks and other businesses in the financial industry use machine learning technology for two key purposes: to identify important insights in data and to prevent fraud. Machine learning is a fast-growing trend in the healthcare industry, as data analysis helps to identify trends or red flags that may lead to improved diagnoses and treatment. Websites recommending items you might like based on previous purchases are using machine learning to analyze your buying history. The list is endless.
Microservices are a software development technique — a variant of the service-oriented architecture (SOA) that structures an application as a collection of loosely coupled services that can be developed, deployed, and maintained independently. Each of these services is responsible for a discrete task and can communicate with other services through simple APIs to solve a larger, more complex business problem.
Unlike the monolithic architecture, where a failure in the code affects more than one service or function, microservices minimize the impact of failure as the entire application is decentralized and decoupled into services that act as separate entities. Scalability is another key aspect of microservices. Because each service is a separate component, it is possible to scale up a single function or service without having to scale the entire application. That approach also brings flexibility to the table in terms of choosing just the right tool for the right task. Each service can use its own language, framework, or ancillary services while still being able to communicate easily with the other services in the application, enabling businesses to develop and launch new digital products much faster.
4. Cloud Computing
Cloud services are giving businesses a great opportunity to considerably reduce their technology management costs in the most effective way. There are several reasons businesses are moving their content to the cloud instead of maintaining on-site servers. Since cloud users do not have to invest in information technology infrastructure, purchase hardware, or buy software licenses, the benefits of cloud computing include low up-front costs, rapid return on investment, rapid deployment, customization, flexibility, and solutions that can make use of new innovations. Some other benefits to users include scalability, reliability, and efficiency. Another potential benefit is that personal information may be better protected in the cloud.
5. Progressive Web Apps
Progressive web apps lie somewhere between web applications and mobile apps, giving users the most up-to-date user experience seamlessly across devices. Everyone from Google to Microsoft has begun developing PWAs that give browser features the same performance characteristics as mobile apps, as PWAs are much easier to develop and maintain than standard mobile apps.
The main part of every PWA is a browser script that runs in the background, separate from the web page, called the Service Worker. The script enables smart caching, offline functionality to visited sites, background updating, push notifications, and several other important features that help load a site faster after the first visit.
Blockchain is a growing, chronologically ordered list of cryptographically signed, irrevocable transactional records. Called blocks, these records are shared by all participants in a network. Appearing in 2008 to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin, blockchain has been integrated into multiple areas such as finance, government, healthcare, manufacturing, supply chain, and others. The secured and simplified recording of transactions in a decentralized ledger with the help of blockchain technology services is strategically important for businesses in all domains.
The technology allows companies to trace a transaction and work with untrusted parties without the need for a centralized third party such as a bank. Blockchain greatly reduces business friction and could potentially lower costs, reduce transaction settlement times, and improve cash flow.
The Internet of Things is the concept that all technological devices can be connected to the Internet and to each other, transferring data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
That includes an extraordinary number of objects of all shapes and sizes, from wearable fitness devices that measure your heart rate and the number of steps taken to self-driving cars, whose complex sensors detect objects in their paths. On a broader scale, the IoT can be applied to things like smart homes, construction, travel and transportation, health care, and "smart cities," helping us improve how we work and live.
We all have a growing awareness of the value of our personal information, and we are increasingly concerned with how it’s being used by public and private entities. Protecting data loss and leakage becomes the biggest concern for cybersecurity professionals, followed by threats to data privacy and breaches of confidentiality. Businesses of all sizes are facing cybersecurity issues, and they all look to the software industry for support, which makes it a trending service requirement in the IT sector.
Software development is changing at a lightning speed, with new technologies being introduced regularly to transform and improve the quality of software products. By keeping up with the latest advancements in the emerging technologies, you can anticipate what is coming and begin to make adjustments and adapt to industry standards. It also allows you to take a close look at what you are doing and find ways to be at the forefront of software and technology trends so that you can meet the needs of your customers and be a software development industry leader.