Aad Vredenbregt owns and runs Valoli.

17 September

Today, the work of software developers influences every life on this planet. Every company is becoming a software company. Experts predict that the demand for application development will continue to grow exponentially. The problem of talent shortage has exploded in software development. In 2020, the available jobs for software developers in the US alone are expected to exceed qualified applicants by a million (!). The future is bright for software developers.

No doubt, students are noticing the hype and will aspire to move into the software development sector. Nevertheless, there’s a large variety of nationalities in today’s development departments.

Currently, software engineer already ranks as the number one job in many regions. Software developers make good money: the average annual salary in the United States surpassed the 100,000 dollar mark years ago. I predict they’ll become the highest-paid persons at any company – making more than the executives (which Dutch IT entrepreneur Eckart Wintzen already considered justifiable 25 years ago).

Software engineers working as independent contractors in today’s booming economy already belong to the best-paid professionals. Getting more pay results in higher expectations of their productivity. Staying on top of their business is going to be the ultimate challenge for developers in an ever more demanding environment. They need to learn to shrink their code, let computers do the testing, roll out new features to a subset of users, while measuring their success no longer in terms of speed but in terms of smooth and frequent releases.

Because of the challenges and complexity of exponential growth in technology, the knowledge level of developers has become more important than ever. Advancements in software development technologies are a constant on this planet. Recent technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and IoT are becoming mainstream. Applications employing these technologies have spread to both the customer and industrial domains and are witnessing an exponential increase in demand.

Although blockchain originates from the finance sector, it’s increasingly finding its way to applications in media, publishing and healthcare software development services and will become strategically important for businesses in many industrial domains. The progressive reach of IoT is illustrated by the number of 26.66 billion devices connected to the internet in 2019.

In addition to technologies, software processes and tools are very dynamic nowadays. Development departments are falling in love with the use of microservices, making testing and smooth deployment of new code easier. Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) has become a common DevOps practice, allowing frequent, high-quality releases in order to meet stunning customer demands. But that practice causes testing to become a drain on resources, often resulting in a delay of software releases, so automated testing is a trend developers now also need to master.

The popularity of technologies like IoT, blockchain and AI creates a greater need for apps and software automation. And since software craftsmanship is scarcer than ever, low-coding practices are introduced. Of course, software engineers are skeptical of the benefits of low code. But low-code platforms aren’t meant for software engineers; they empower business analysts to build apps quickly, at low cost and without having to try to learn difficult coding techniques. Their use will increase dramatically as organizations want to build software at ever-growing speeds to meet staggering demands. However, low code is not no code! Software engineers will continue to write code and will need to keep up with the exponential changes in their industry.