The sphere of software development is constantly changing under the influence of emerging technologies, various external factors and new societal demands. In this article, we analyze the most significant software development trends that will shape the industry in 2022.
First of all, it should be noted that the global COVID-19 pandemic has become an inflection point for many businesses. Small and large enterprises were forced to quickly reorganize working processes and accelerate IT priorities and technology roadmaps. They realized that they needed to move toward a primarily digital world, where software solutions will largely determine the way of life.
In the research by Accelerated Strategies Group, 63.3% of business respondents noted that they have accelerated digital transformation as a priority for their companies. Their primary focus was on contactless services, cloud migration and DevOps activities.
Though the software development 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. Currently, the IT sector is recovering: it returned to a growth trend line in 2021 and is forecast to restore and exceed its pre-pandemic position by 2024, with an estimated 5% CAGR.
Since digital products determine the creation of sustainable and adaptable businesses, software developers and IT specialists play a critical role in building the post-pandemic world. Let’s look at the tools and strategies they use to achieve better results.
- Automated Code Reviews
- Focus on Software Quality Standards
- Legacy System Migration
- The Realm of Kubernetes
- Cloud-Native Technology Prevalence
- Blockchain Beyond Cryptocurrency
- Machine Learning Expansion with AutoML and No-Code AI
- Narrow Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- DevOps Observability Tools
- Infrastructure Management with GitOps
- Python Takes the Lead
- Java Regains its Popularity
- Low-Code/No-Code (LCNC) Speeds Up Software Development
- SRE and DevOps Work Together
- Multimodal and Multipurpose Database
- Cybersecurity Is a Hot Issue
- Deep Learning with TensorFlow
- React and Angular: Top Web Development Frameworks
- Progressive Web Applications (PWA) on the Rise
- Testing Centers of Excellence (TCoE) Expansion
- Growing Demand for Outsourcing
- A New Approach to Rremote and Hybrid Work
1. Automated Code Reviews
The accelerating pace of our life demands us to do operations and release new software products quicker. That’s why more developers turn to automated code review, where specific tools automatically check the code based on predefined rules. Some popular automated code review tools include Veracode, CodeClimate, Codacy, DeepSource and others. Currently, the trend to use such tools is urgent, taking into account the amount of code lines produced daily.
Automated code review tools provide the following benefits:
- They significantly speed up code reviews.
- They identify errors and suboptimal code more accurately than human reviewers doing it manually.
- They help companies maintain coding standards at all levels.
As a result, IT providers can produce high-quality software solutions within a shorter time.
2. Focus on Software Quality Standards
A growing number of software development companies are trying to obtain certificates of compliance with international quality standards such as ISO/IEC 27001. This is happening because software applications and services are tightly integrated into various spheres, including those critical for people’s lives and health. Hence, the quality of software products is a top priority.
The ISO certification trend will continue as it helps companies improve their reputation and attract more clients by ensuring they abide by the highest quality standards.
3. Legacy System Migration
Many enterprises still use outdated software systems. As a rule, they are based on old technologies that are incompatible with the latest advancements, which results in a range of difficulties:
- Poor performance
- High maintenance costs
- Inability to fulfill customer requirements
- Data security breaches
Consequently, more companies now want to migrate their data and processes to new platforms in order to ensure the reliable functioning of their IT systems, helping them retain clients and remain competitive. Experts anticipate the legacy application migration trend to increase in 2022.
4. The Realm of Kubernetes
Another trend to look out for in the software development world is the rising adoption of containers and microservices powered by Kubernetes, an open-source container orchestration platform.
46% of software development teams were using Kubernetes in some way in 2021: it was either run in production, used for developing and testing, or simply experimented with, says Statista.
Experts predict that the number of companies using Kubernetes will grow. The reason for its increasing adoption is that there are more and more projects that require scalability, security and 24/7 availability. Containerization and a cloud-based microservices architecture are a perfect fit for such projects. And Kubernetes is a good tool for managing containers, building a microservices architecture and automating the software deployment process.
5. Cloud-Native Technology Prevalence
The apparent trend is that software development companies will more actively use cloud-native solutions for app development, team management and communication. These are software products and services hosted in public, private or hybrid clouds. They are infrastructure-agnostic and can run on multiple servers, so any company can easily adopt them.
Based on containers and microservices, cloud-native software solutions provide flexibility and scalability, and improve productivity of software development teams.
It should be noted that the demand for cloud services and tools has grown due to the necessity to facilitate remote work. Companies have had to implement the appropriate infrastructure and support employees in creating a work environment in their home offices.
6. Blockchain Beyond Cryptocurrency
The time when blockchain technology was associated with cryptocurrency only has gone. Today, experts note a staggering growth of blockchain adoption in many industries. The thing is that this distributed, decentralized system provides an exceptional level of security and transparency for various transactions, and can be applicable to many business sectors beyond fintech.
Here are some examples:
- Supply chain monitoring systems in logistics, automotive, agriculture, oil and gas industry
- Accounting software systems ensuring the traceability of energy consumption
- Platforms for intellectual property protection
- Software systems for secure electronic voting
Thus, a growing number of blockchain-based applications will increasingly emerge in various fields.
7. Machine Learning Expansion with AutoML and No-Code AI
Recently, machine learning (ML) has been in the public eye as a disruptive technology impacting various business sectors. Personalized recommendations and ads, image and voice recognition, chatbots and virtual assistants, fraud detection software systems, self-driving cars, and predictive analytics are all examples of the application of practical machine learning.
Expectedly, more companies want to introduce ML-based software into their processes and capitalize on it. The challenge is that there are still not enough qualified machine learning specialists to meet the market demand. Moreover, it can be expensive for a company to hire a full-time ML expert if they only need to adopt a limited set of intelligent functions.
As a result, AutoML tools and no-code AI are gaining popularity.
- AutoML tools make the creation of the machine learning pipeline more simple and transparent.
- No-code AI software development platforms automatically create ML and AI models and apply them to real-world issues. They have a user-friendly interface, drag-and-drop features and no need to code.
Hence, machine learning software development is becoming more available to non-technical users and SMBs. Google and Microsoft are the leading providers offering AutoML and no-code AI software solutions, the adoption of which is predicted to grow.
According to ResearchAndMarkets, there will be a dramatic surge in the AutoML market, from $346.2 million in 2020 to $14,830.8 million by 2030, which is a 45.6% CAGR.
8. Narrow Artificial Intelligence (AI)
In 2021, the global artificial intelligence (AI) market reached a value of $56.5 billion, according to IMARC Group. AI technology is no longer considered futuristic as it’s applied in many business sectors.
Nevertheless, scientists are far from revealing the full potential of AI. Theoretically, they divide artificial intelligence into three categories:
- Narrow AI (aka weak AI) — These smart algorithms focus on one goal and can perform one task, so their field of application is limited. Common examples of narrow AI are image recognition systems, speech recognition systems, personalized recommendation software systems, etc.
- General AI (aka strong AI) — These smart algorithms replicate comprehensive thought processes of the human brain. They have the ability to learn and use this gained knowledge to solve new problems. Scientists are trying to make machines with this level of intelligence, but they are still far from success.
- Artificial superintelligence — Hypothetically, AI software will not just mimic human behavior and brain processes, but will reach self-awareness and surpass our capabilities. We are unlikely to see this concept in practice in the foreseeable future.
Currently, the largest share of AI software solutions refers to the narrow AI category, and this trend will continue.
9. DevOps Observability Tools
DevOps has become a widely used practice in software development companies. In 2022, observability tools are a must for DevOps teams not only in large enterprises but also in SMBs. This can be explained by the increasing adoption of microservices and cloud-native app development, and consequently, the need to quickly find and solve issues in these complicated architectures.
Observability is not the responsibility of a single person. The culture of data-driven decision-making should be fostered in all software development teams and departments within an organization. When each employee is proficient with monitoring, logging, reporting, etc., the process of troubleshooting and debugging becomes quicker and easier. This also helps ensure continuous integration and deployment.
10. Infrastructure Management with GitOps
A recent popular approach in software engineering is GitOps. The growing popularity of cloud-native software and Kubernetes stimulates the wider adoption of GitOps — the practice for infrastructure automation and its integration with the CI/CD pipeline.
Experts forecast that more software development teams will introduce GitOps in their processes in 2022, since the leading cloud providers such as Amazon and Microsoft Azure support this approach.
11. Python Takes the Lead
It seems Python’s growing popularity will continue well into 2022 and beyond, as it is the favorite language of developers creating software solutions with AI- and ML-based features. As mentioned, artificial intelligence and machine learning stand proudly among the top tech trends for 2022.
12. Java Regains its Popularity
For many years, Java was the undeniable leader among software programming languages. However, with the advancement of container-based development and microservices, Java began to lose in popularity to faster and more lightweight languages.
Well, lucky for Java amateurs, the community didn’t give up the struggle. They started to improve the language by adding new features in accordance with current software development trends. For example, developers can now build fast and efficient cloud-native Java applications with GraalVM.
At the end of 2021, Java was positioned second among the most popular programming languages worldwide (based on the number of tutorials searched on Google). Currently, it’s obvious that Java will remain one of the best tools for enterprise software development in the coming years.
13. Low-Code/No-Code (LCNC) Speeds Up Software Development
Software engineering is moving toward simplification, with a new approach to creating software solutions known as low-code/no-code (LCNC) development.
LCNC platforms enable practically anyone to develop software without traditional coding, 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 software development skills.
- 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 software apps 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.
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 software solutions, and a lower barrier for entry into software development.
14. SRE and DevOps Work Together
Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is one of the DevOps implementation forms. SRE has become popular among software development companies in recent years. Its goal is to ensure the reliable operation of the system by checking each commit, pull request or deploy. Hence, an SRE engineer should have experience in both development and software system administration.
Thanks to the SRE approach, the Devs and the Ops find a middle ground concerning system reliability, agree on its parameters (e.g., required availability and allowed downtime) and develop standards for dealing with issues.
15. Multimodal and Multipurpose Database
Modern software solutions are much more complicated than their ancestors of ten years ago. Quite often, a solution should be able to work with various types of data, hence integrating several databases. But having many databases for one app is not the best decision.
It’s preferable to have one database that supports various data models and can serve various purposes. Azure CosmosDB is an example of a multimodal and multipurpose database. In 2022, the number of such platforms is predicted to increase.
16. Cybersecurity Is a Hot Issue
With the world becoming more digital than ever before, every provider and every user of software solutions needs to be serious about cybersecurity. Statista provides the following data on cybersecurity for 2022:
- The average spend per employee in the cybersecurity market is expected to reach $42.52.
- Revenue in the cybersecurity market is projected to reach $146.30 billion.
To ensure the needed level of cybersecurity, specialists should develop a strategy considering software, hardware and IT services as a single interconnected system.
17. Deep Learning with TensorFlow
To be aware of software development trends, you need to know which are the most popular tools among engineers.
As of now, the TensorFlow framework by Google is considered one of the best tools for deep learning, artificial intelligence and machine learning software development. On the one hand, this is a comprehensive ecosystem of libraries, tools and various resources needed to create intelligent models and algorithms. On the other hand, the framework is flexible and user-friendly, making it easy for developers to build advanced software.
18. React and Angular: Top Web Development Frameworks
19. Progressive Web Applications (PWA) on the Rise
For many businesses, the development of progressive web apps (PWA) is proving to be the right choice. Being regular websites by nature, these software solutions may also act as traditional mobile apps. Users don’t need to download PWAs like mobile apps but can enjoy the same look and feel, which improves user experience.
PWA development and maintenance is more cost-efficient for companies, so more startups and small businesses will be inclined to choose this type of software.
20. Testing Centers of Excellence (TCoE) Expansion
Testing is an integral part of software development. Currently, there is a trend to make testing a centralized service. For this purpose, special platforms, Testing Centers of Excellence (TCoE), are entering the market. Such platforms integrate software quality standards, best practices and various methods that can be used across all teams within a company.
21. Growing Demand for Outsourcing
The demand for software development outsourcing is experiencing significant growth. It’s challenging for companies across industries to find talented IT specialists who can develop high-quality custom software projects and do so within budget. That’s why companies opt for outsourcing. Moreover, a range of practical benefits such as faster software 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)
22. A New Approach to Remote and Hybrid 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 (a hybrid work model).
The trend of doing business through online meetings, digital collaboration tools and cloud software will go on through 2022.