In January of last year, Oracle’s VP of Product Management and Strategy made seven predictions for 2017 and beyond.
The forecasts, based on input from Oracle’s customers, gave developers insight into ways to advance their skills and careers as they come under increasing pressure to develop applications faster and more efficiently.
Let’s now review those seven predictions, compare with recent data, and assess what might further lie in store for developers keen to be at the forefront of evolving technology and business demands.
1. Significant growth of artificial intelligence (AI) in applications - AI to become the new UI
The implications were clear: The algorithms that developers write would play an important role, but even more so the data that feeds the AI application. Developers offering a competitive advantage would be those who understand which are the best data, and how to utilize them to achieve business objectives.
A recent report by Technavio indicates that AI is indeed on track to grow by more than 50% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2021, while an article by Quartz points to an ever-increasing lack of qualified labor to meet this demand.
2. By 2018, chatbot apps with natural language processing will be the norm
Developers would focus heavily in this domain in 2017, looking for cloud platforms to leverage chatbot capabilities; for example, enabling them to write a single interface that works across multiple messaging platforms.
Topical reports by Technavio and Market Research Future already estimate a 37% CAGR in the chatbot market through 2021 and 2023 respectively, while Business Insider affirms that 80% of businesses expect to have already implemented chatbots by 2020.
Correspondingly, a Servion report predicts that, by 2025, AI will drive 95% of interactions with customers, who will no longer even be able to ‘spot the bot’.
3. Containers more popular than VMs in 2018
Driven by volumes of development/test environments, which can be up to 10 times larger than production, developers would use containers to improve agility. For production environments, developers would turn to Container-as-a-Service to avoid having to manage infrastructure elements such as orchestration, scheduling, and resource allocation.
4. Number of application releases to double in 2017
Aware of the dangers posed by a competitor’s cloud innovation, line-of-business leaders would be compelled to continually test the market with new apps and features, putting additional pressure on developers.
Software.org found that the US software market is currently growing nearly three times faster than the US economy, hitting US1.14 trillion. Demand for developers has continued to rise over the past year and is now surging, while Java skills in particular are increasingly sought after.
5. All new apps built in the cloud by 2020
By moving dev/test environments to the cloud, developers benefit from being able to rapidly spin up resources, while also leveraging existing cloud resources – APIs, continuous integration tools, collaboration apps.
Meanwhile, CIOs can slash the dev/test costs which make up 30% of their budgets by paying only for the capacity developers use - and invest instead in innovation.
A ServiceNow poll of 1,800 IT, LOB, and DevOps professionals showed 77% expect to be ‘cloud-first’ already by 2018, while Gartner says that by 2020 the "cloud shift" will affect over US$1 trillion in IT spending.
6. Growth rate of citizen developers to exceed traditional, Java/.NET developers by 2020
The ease of building new capabilities in the cloud will increase the numbers of non-traditional developers coming from LOBs, who will use low-code platforms and a drag-and-drop interface to rapidly develop a web or mobile business app.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, 60% of all fast-mode application development projects will be done outside of IT, while a recent Forrester report concurred, concluding that “low-code development platforms are here to stay.”
7. 60% of IT organizations to move systems management to the cloud by 2020
Driven by the need for developers to consistently improve apps and experiment without risking outage or affecting performance for customers, we will see a shift to cloud-based systems management, which will use machine learning to spot problems more reliably.
According to marketsandmarkets.com, the cloud systems management software market will have grown from US$4 billion to US$15 billion between 2016 and 2021.
Additionally, IDC estimates that already in 2018, 60% of enterprise IT workloads will be located off-premises, and 85% of enterprises will commit to a multi-cloud architecture model.
You don’t have to be an oracle to see that the world of development, and the job roles within it, will be rapidly developing over the coming months.
However, you can make sure your skills develop accordingly, by taking any number of Oracle training courses designed to empower developers to meet the foreseeable cloud and business challenges ahead.