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4 software development trends that have dominated in 2020

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay

As demands for advancements in digital speed, productivity, and efficiency continue to rise – software development has proven itself a rapid force within the global IT industry. Australia’s companies alone currently sit at approximately $13 billion in industry worth for 2020, having grown at an annualised 11.4% over the last five years. 

The right skills continue to be highly sought after, with career opportunities rising alongside the country’s emerging technologies. SkillsTalk explore 2020’s most dominating industry trends for software development – including these growing areas of tech below.  

Rise of AI and machine learning 

Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to break ground with developments in automated algorithms, analytics, and in some cases – even programming.

Software developers have increasingly made use of these advancements in their process, accelerating the stages of preparation, design, writing code, and testing. Through AI and machine learning capabilities, individuals can enjoy a more agile, streamlined workflow as previous coding patterns are tracked, recognised, and automatically applied where necessary; algorithms seek and communicate any abnormalities (i.e. bugs or gaps) in code; and client data is instantly gathered and analysed to automate a design plan. 

This effectively improves productivity in the industry, creating faster workflows and reducing time-to-market.  

Additionally, developers are now focusing on crafting apps that learn and respond from experience – collecting and assessing large, varied sets of data to form automated, yet tailored and accurate responses. Such advancements include “assistant” apps such as Alexa, Google Home, and Siri; and voice-controlled programs on our smartphones, TVs, and car media interface that eliminate the need for manual action. 

A sharper focus on cybersecurity

cyber security concept

Discussions and concerns on cybersecurity have only grown in recent times, with crime estimated to hit $29 billion in Australian business costs per year. 

As our technologies evolve and develop, so do the methods of cybercriminals. Coronavirus has spurred even more digital crimes in the previous months, as hackers capitalise on the growing business shift to online activity. As a result, 2020 continues to see enhanced security efforts in the software development process – with increasing investments in biometrics, multi-factor authentication, and encryption. 

Ethical hackers and IT security specialists are also increasingly working with developers, ensuring their software code is free of bugs and vulnerabilities. Most of these professionals have basic coding skills themselves, equipping them with the knowledge to properly test, analyse, and deploy newly-developed software.

In Australia, software developers are provided with guidelines for best security practices; outlining the importance of threat modelling (a process used for risk identification), program testing, segregating production environments (limiting the spread of potential risks), and other vital steps to enhancing software security.

Growing demand for progressive web apps 

Software developers have taken the best of both web and mobile applications – creating a hybrid experience known as the Progressive Web App. 

While some companies choose to build native apps for their services (i.e. Steam, Spotify, Netflix, etc.), offering an exclusive and more efficient user experience, PWAs offer the same results for a much lower budget. 

A PWA functions like a mobile app for your desktop, though is hosted directly on its respective website. This streamlines the update process for software developers, as updates can instantly be made straight on the web server, rather than having to send these updates to multiple different app stores. Users often have the option of installing the app right from the associated website, regardless of their browser or platform.

PWAs have also gained traction for their fast loading speeds, push notifications, and their instant addition to one’s home screen (no downloading or installation required!). Brands can also get their name to appear as a native program on one’s device – which can lead to greater consumer activity.

As of 2020, some of the best PWAs include Alibaba, AliExpress, and Trivago. 

Riding the wave of cloud computing 

cloud computing concept

Finally, the rising field of cloud computing has spurred massive developments in the global software industry.

With more and more businesses adopting the cloud (42% in Australia are now using a paid service), software professionals are increasingly needed to develop and upgrade cloud systems as necessary. As the technology grows ever-more mainstream (forecasted to hit $266.4 billion USD by the end of 2020), using the cloud is crucial to keeping one’s software development skills up-to-date and relevant. 

The cloud also enables developers to create systems and networks that are more secure. Additionally, the process is more cost-efficient – as companies will only need to pay for the software features they require at the time. 

Through the cloud, software developers are also granted access to an unlimited number of testing and staging servers; helping them accelerate the development process, enhance testing, and improve product delivery.  

Have a passion for software development?

The world of software development is an ever-changing and dynamic one – with only further advancements to come. To keep in line with evolving times, it helps to continuously build on your current skillset.

Upskilled currently offers the ICT40120 Certificate IV in Information Technology (Web Development), training aspiring professionals in the fundamental coding languages, business practices, and stages of product development; equipping them with the skills to launch a career in the industry.

Keep your skills up-to-date for one of Australia’s leading tech fields and make a course enquiry today!
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