Ten Software Development Trends for 2021


The insane 2020, which significantly impacted all spheres of life, including software development, is finally coming to an end. Looking ahead, it’s hard to say what surprises are waiting for us. But we can analyze some significant software development trends that have shaped the industry in 2020 and will continue to influence it in 2021.

  1. A Primarily Digital World
  2. The Growth of the IT Sector
  3. Remote Work
  4. Cloud Services Gain Momentum
  5. E-Commerce Software Solutions on Demand
  6. JavaScript Dominates but Python Is Catching Up
  7. Containers and Microservices on the Rise
  8. Low-Code Development
  9. Continuous Integration, Delivery, Deployment
  10. Outsourcing

1. A Primarily Digital World


The global COVID-19 pandemic has become an inflection point for many businesses. Unprecedented strict regulations imposing social distancing and lockdown hit both small and large enterprises: they were forced to quickly reorganize working processes and develop new approaches, with many struggling to stay afloat.

Once businesses faced these never-before-seen challenges, they quickly realized that they needed to move toward a primarily digital world, where digital solutions will largely determine the way of life.

Today, we witness the acceleration of IT priorities and technology roadmaps across enterprises.

In the research by Accelerated Strategies Group, Inc., 63.3% of business respondents noted that they have accelerated digital transformation as a priority for their company. Their primary focus now is on:

  • contactless services (60.1%)
  • cloud migration (52.25%)
  • DevOps activities (51.75%).

Digital solutions will determine the creation of sustainable and adaptable businesses. Hence, software developers and IT specialists will play a critical role in building the post-pandemic world.

2. The Growth of the IT Sector


Though the IT industry was in a better position than other industries when the pandemic hit, it wasn’t able to avoid spending cutbacks, delayed projects and staffing reduction.

  • Global IT spending declined by 5.4% in 2020. (Gartner)
  • In 2021, worldwide IT spending is expected to grow by 4%, but it will still not exceed the numbers before the pandemic.
  • According to IDC, the industry’s global revenue in 2020 is $4.8 trillion, substantially less than its initial estimate of $5.2 trillion.
  • In 2021, IDC expects a growth of 4.2%, meaning the IT industry can reach $5 trillion in revenue.
  • The enterprise software development segment will grow by 7.2% in 2021, which will be the most substantial rebound compared with other segments such as devices, data center systems, and IT and communication services. (TechRepublic)

The IT sector is currently recovering and will return to the growth trend line in 2021. It is forecast to restore and exceed its pre-pandemic position by 2024, with an estimated 5% CAGR.

Read also: Top Technology Trends You Should Know about in 2021

3. Remote Work


The future of software development in the context of remote work seems promising. In the spring of 2020, IT companies worldwide had to quickly establish new patterns of team management, communication, and collaboration, so that employees could perform their duties without coming into a physical office.

For many, the shift from onsite to remote work was a scary task. Today, it seems to have become the new normal, with many of those companies taking a favorable attitude toward working remotely. Take a look at the research results that show how working from home has influenced software team productivity.

  • 59% of respondents said their software teams increased their productivity while working remotely.
  • For 42.6% of respondents, it has become easier to meet task deadlines.
  • 64% of respondents plan to work remotely 3+ days per week.

The trend of doing business through online meetings, digital collaboration tools and cloud applications will go on through 2021.

4. Cloud Services Gain Momentum


In order to facilitate remote work, companies had to implement appropriate infrastructure and support employees in creating a work environment in their home offices. As a result, the demand for cloud services and tools has grown.

According to Gartner, unlike global IT spending, which went down in 2020, cloud spending has grown by 6.3%. Total revenue is close to $258 billion, which is $15 billion up from the previous year. Over the next few years, the cloud computing market is expected to double.

  • 74% of business respondents expect their cloud spending to increase in 2021. (Statista)
  • SaaS solutions, taking the largest part of the public cloud market, are predicted to generate $120 billion, which is $15 billion more than in 2020. (InformationAge)
  • IaaS solutions will grow from $50 billion in 2020 to $64 billion in 2021.
  • In 2021, the platform as a service (PaaS) market is forecast to exceed $55 billion, from an estimated $43.8 billion in 2020. (Statista)

The apparent trend is that software development companies will more actively use SaaS, IaaS and PaaS solutions to build apps, manage teams and communicate, as these services can be easily adopted and rolled out. Cloud solutions provide flexibility and improve productivity.

5. E-Commerce Software Solutions on Demand


Despite the global economic decline in 2020, the e-Commerce market has been growing at a rapid pace (further accelerated by the pandemic).

  • Statista estimates that online sales account for 14% of total world retail sales and that the number will reach 22% in 2023.

Numerous retail software solutions and mobile e-Commerce applications help improve customer experience, automate business processes, and provide safe delivery and payment options. That’s why a growing demand for e-Commerce software solutions is predicted in 2021 and further.

  • $6.2 billion is the value of the global e-Commerce software market in 2019. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.3% from 2020 to 2027. (grandviewresearch.com)

6. JavaScript Dominates but Python Is Catching Up


In 2020, JavaScript continues to dominate the list of the most used programming languages among developers worldwide. According to the rating by Statista, almost 68% of software engineers stated that they used JavaScript.

At the same time, Python is rushing to the top of that list, with 44% of respondents stating that they used it for their code. Python has in fact already overtaken Java (at 40.2%).

It seems Python’s growing popularity will continue well into 2021 and beyond, as it is the favorite language of developers creating apps with AI- and ML-based features. Artificial intelligence and machine-learning technologies stand proudly among the top tech trends for 2021.

7. Containers and Microservices on the Rise


Another trend to look out for in the software development world is the rising adoption of containers and microservices powered by Kubernetes.

  • 54% of businesses used the container technology system Kubernetes in some way in 2020: it was either run in production, used for developing and testing, or simply experimented with. (Statista)

Kubernetes is a good tool for managing containers and building microservices architecture. The reason for its increasing adoption is that there are more and more projects that require scalability, security and 24/7 availability. Containerization and cloud-based microservices architecture are a perfect fit for such projects.

  • The global cloud microservices market size is estimated to be $744 million in 2020. It is projected to reach $1.5 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 12.7% during this period. (MarketWatch)
Read also: How to Build Microservices Using Onion Architecture: Hands-On Experience

8. Low-Code Development


Software engineering is moving toward simplification, with a new approach to creating new apps known as low-code development.

Low-code platforms enable practically anyone to develop software without traditional coding but via graphical user interfaces and configuration. Such programming environments have great potential because they allow people to implement their ideas into digital solutions with limited or no specific development skills.

  • Around 50% of developers were using or planning to use low-code products in 2020. The number was 37% in 2019.
  • 80% of respondents believe that the low-code approach can free up developers so that they could work on higher-level projects.
  • 72% of low-code developers create applications two times quicker than those using traditional development.
  • The global value of the low-code development platform market is projected to be $46.4 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 25% during this period.

In summary, while many developers are skeptical about the low-code development approach, it brings a range of benefits such as:

  • manual work reduction
  • time and money savings for creating digital solutions
  • a lower barrier for entry into software development.

9. Continuous Integration, Delivery, Deployment


In the primarily digital world, the automation and ongoing monitoring of the entire lifecycle of apps have become crucial.

To ensure software quality from start to finish and to deliver applications faster, companies increasingly opt for the practice of continuous integration, delivery and deployment (CI/CD) in software development. That’s why the adoption of CI/CD tools is forecast to grow.

  • The “DevTestOps Landscape Survey 2019” by mabl discovered that 53% of software testers use continuous integration tools, 38% use continuous delivery tools, and only 29% use continuous deployment tools.
  • The continuous integration tools market is forecast to grow from  $402.8 million in 2017 to $1.1 billion by 2023. (Markets and Markets)
  • The continuous delivery market was valued at $2.06 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.75% over 2020–2025.
  • The market size for continuous deployment tools is growing at a CAGR of 18.7% and is expected to reach $1.14 billion by 2023. (Markets and Markets)

The CI/CD practice makes testing more effective and simplifies bug fixing. This all results in the accelerated deployment of high-quality products, which companies and customers are sure to appreciate.

10. Outsourcing


The demand for software development outsourcing is experiencing significant growth. It’s challenging for companies across industries to find talented IT specialists who could develop high-quality custom software projects and do so within budget. That’s why companies opt for outsourcing.

  • The global market for outsourced services has risen from $45.6 billion in 2000 to $92.5 billion in 2019. (Statista)
  • Large businesses have increased the budget they spend on IT outsourcing from 6.3% in 2018 to 8.7% in 2019. Medium-sized companies have also raised this budget from 4.7% to 6.5%, according to MarketWatch.

These figures indicate that software outsourcing will increase in the coming years. Moreover, a range of practical benefits such as speedup development, cost efficiency, better quality, reduced risks and freed company resources support the outsourcing market’s growth.

  • In 2020, the global market for IT outsourcing was estimated at $342.9 billion. The value is projected to reach $410.2 billion by 2027. (Business Wire)

To Sum Up

The IT market, just like other industries, will significantly depend on how the pandemic goes in 2021. Though certain fluctuations are possible, the general trend points to industry growth and increase in revenue.

Awareness of the latest software development forecasts for the coming year can help you with long-term business planning.

SaM Solutions is an international provider of IT services with over 28 years of experience. We provide custom software development and IT consulting to customers from Europe and the US. We will develop high-grade digital solutions for your business while you focus on your core competencies.

Download a PDF version: Ten Software Development Trends for 2020-2021


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About the author

Natallia Sakovich
Natallia Sakovich

A copywriter at SaM Solutions, Natallia is devoted to her motto — to write simply and clearly about complicated things. Backed up with a 5-year experience in copywriting, she creates informative but exciting articles on high technologies.


Leave a comment
  • Very well written. The trends have so correctly been identified. Thanks for sharing this article. It will definitely help the aspiring the software developers.

  • Your content always brings so much value. Thanks for sharing such an informative blog.

  • Well done & written.
    I’ve just started writing a blog myself very recently and noticed that loot of bloggers merely rework old ideas but add very little of worth.
    It’s good to read a helpful article of some true value to your followers and myself.
    It’s going on my list of things I need to replicate as a new blogger.
    Audience engagement and content quality are king.
    Some great suggestions; you’ve definitely got on my list of sites to follow!
    Carry on the good work!

  • Hi Natallia,
    I really enjoyed reading this blog. This blog has quite in-depth information regarding the latest software development trends in 2021. Thanks for sharing!

  • For the software development industry and programmers 2020 has been a significant year with lots of breakthroughs in several areas. With the global pandemic, digitization has sped up remarkably, so the trends will be much greater than the last year.

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