Five Big Software Development Trends to Expect in 2022

What’s are the trends for software development in 2022 going to look like? That’s a huge space to think about covering an industry that changes and evolves almost daily. Here, we define five things that will likely feature quite prominently for most organizations engaged in software development in the year ahead. Five is just the tip of the iceborg… so, we’ll also make sure you also find your way to many more useful insights for 2022!

1. AI and Automation for Everything?

According to Ray Kurzweil’s predictions, where only 6 years away from reaching a point where AI is as “smart” as humans – 2028. Indications that we are “collectively” getting closer are hitting the news on an almost daily basis. Last week we were looking at how the City of Shanghai has an AI system to handle the criminal prosecution of its most common crimes. This week, we have room service bots for hotels and the self-learning Beomni 1.0 that can open bottles, pick up boxes, conduct temperature checks, and dance.

This isn’t so much about newness, as to quote William Gibson, “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”

The future is getting (more) distributed.

Our plans for 2022 include bringing forth an AI to help critical stakeholders in software development companies improve team performance by providing data-driven “Insights On-Demand.” A few of the major areas that we are focusing on include Team Management, Growth, and Efficiency, alongside Budget Optimization and Vendor Management.

Functionally, you’ll see your “Cycle Time for Actionable Insights” shift to minutes compared to the hours or days it can take to find an actionable improvement with modern analytics alone.

One thing we’re working really hard on in upcoming iterations is to help organizations objectively evaluate Value and Performance across all of their development teams. This brings us to…

2. Realignment of Remote Work and Employment Strategies

So, here’s a conundrum.

Software Developer turnover has always been higher than most industry average (12.3%) and now… we have the Great Resignation. There are more IT jobs available than people to fill them. Work-from-Home (or Anywhere) is practically the new standard. But, relative to the bottom line, there are questions about the cost-benefit of remote employees and various remote contracting options. This has some companies like Google wanting to cut remote employee pay (by up to 25%). There’s a fairly even divide between developers who would (35%) and would not (37%) accept a pay cut to always work from home.

It could be extraordinarily profitable and enriching for companies and remote employees to start thinking way, way, way outside of the box. A dev in San Francisco is likely struggling to make ends meet on $9k/mo. The same dev could take that pay cut and relocate to where they’d actually be able to tuck $3-4k/mo into savings or investments and still live very well.

It’s difficult to predict how the pendulum will swing. Everyone has options. Most companies and employees will do as they always have… align on Value and Strategic Objectives. If nothing else, everyone will start to take a closer look at their priorities.

We’ll get a special article out on this in the not-distant future, but we did provide a teaser.

3. Improving the Developer Experience

As we recently covered about Creating Win-Win-Win situations, it’s often the developer who gets the short end of the stick. Not saying that’s always the case, there are a lot of very good companies out there that treat their developers very, very well. But, despite the best of intentions, the inherent chaos of many high-growth tech startups can be too intense for the likes of many (25+% turnover).

In software development though, a) few things are more disruptive (or expensive) than losing a developer mid-stream on a project; b) it can be very hard to replace individuals with specific skill sets – or their project knowledge. It’s not just a pragmatic thing, but the humane thing to want the best for everyone on your team.

To reiterate the Win-Win-Win Cycle:

“Workers who love their job are typically more productive, deliver higher quality work, and change jobs less frequently. This tends to make the companies they work for more profitable while customers receive better products. Happy customers tend to share their opinions with others, word of mouth is a powerful thing, helps grow business. Businesses that grow tend to have more promotion opportunities, career growth being a major retention element and helping retain company-specific knowledge. And it’s a cyclical, continuous process.”

Improving the Developer Experience consists of many things including:

  • Helping every team member be the best they can be – to include honing their existing skills and learning new ones (facilitating cross-functionality)
  • Listening to what everyone has to say in One-on-One Meetings – not just to help developers, but how they believe you can better help them to be better developers. Radically cyclical!
  • Having objective pay, performance bonus, and promotion reviews to avoid even the appearance of bias – and facilitate long-term growth and retention.
  • Keeping an eye out so that developers don’t get burned out or stuck on tedious tasks without some kind of exit strategy.
  • Providing an objective feedback loop of developer performance over time as a means of instilling confidence in their work.
  • Matching developers to tasks and mentors to regularly introduce them to new technologies and challenges to keep things fresh and exciting, which could also extend to continuing education programs.

The list is endless, suffice that behavioral analytics has proven fairly consistent in identifying when workers are having a tough time. The task then is on the engineering manager to engage with them and learn why – and to remove obstacles wherever possible hindering their forward momentum. If all of your developers have momentum, your company will, too – for producing better products that your customers love.

4. Adding No Code and Low Code Options

In looking at Use Cases for AI-Driven Action Recommendations, we took a quick look at OpenAI’s GPT-3 and linked it to how Microsoft has integrated into MS Power Apps to provide “novices” with a low code environment. Diving a little bit deeper, Gartner’s predicted that Low Code Development has a rapid growth trajectory driven by SaaS and HyperAutomation. There is already a wide range of Low Code Applications Platforms like RapidMiner for use with data mining.

What better way to address the skill crunch than make it possible for non-coders to… code?

Blasphemy?!?!!!

Hold on before we start yet another inquisition. There’s a use case, especially for companies with a shortage of developers and/or a budget that precludes hiring more.

For starters, low-code and no-code platforms can serve as a training component in the continuous drive to cultivate cross-functionality – not just with developers, but across an entire organization. It might be inspiration enough to prompt more people to take up coding after seeing even a little bit of the magic they can create from a standing start. There are some bright yellow flags warranting a healthy measure of caution if you do incorporate Low Code development. These are briefly highlighted in CISQ’s The Cost of Poor Software Quality in the US: A 2020 Report (p.27) which basically underscores that:

  1. There are inherent limitations (presently) to the type of applications it can generate.
  2. Often the code generated is hidden from the creator (at least in the GUI)
  3. Even if the creator could see it, it’s unlikely they’d be able to verify or trust all of the components it generates.
  4. The systems tend to make use of Open Source code which too frequently have an abundance of quality and security issues.

That said, non-coders can hand off the results to developers to refine the code and cover all of testing and QA processes to bring it up to standards. Low-code capabilities could transform the main efforts of some developers from principally writing code, to mainly editing it – probably with the help of additional AI/ML tools.

Leastwise, while some may still consider this as a fairly primitive option, it’s still early and the technology is evolving.

5. A Greater Focus on Software Standards and CyberSecurity

Remember Executive Order 14028?

C’mon, man, how could you forget…. Um…

Okay, fine, will be polite as this is actually very important if slow in the implementation. This is the EO for CyberSecurity that was issued in May of 2021. after several high-profile ransomware and cyberattacks like SolarWinds and the Colonial Pipeline. Much of 2021 was spent by several gov’t agencies updating a wide range of cybersecurity policies, new guidance, and procedures for government contractors. In 2022, it’s getting implemented and broadly, that’ll create additional demand for DevSecOps specialists.

While the EO only directly applies to US Government Agencies and contractors, the explicit intention is for the practices to spill over to the private sector.

Among other things, 14028 seeks to create a standard for Software Bill of Materials (SBOMs), zero trust policies on infrastructure, increased data sharing of cybersecurity threats and attacks, establish IoT cybersecurity criteria for a consumer labeling program, and tiered software security rating system. And a lot more.

If you want a detailed view into what’s been going on – check out Covington’s Part 6 (which has links to the 5 preceding installments covering 14028 activity).

If you haven’t already done so, check out the National Institute of Standards and Technology. We also covered NIST’s Best Practices for Secure Software Development, and you can find three more of NIST’s latest releases for 14028 as follows:

Want More 2022 Software Development Trends?

There’s a lot going of exciting and innovating developments getting steam these days – and keeping up on all of them can be a full-time extracurricular activity. But, as you’re probably still in lockdown, you should have plenty of time to work on getting ahead of the curve with the following lists of trends!

  • Ajay Kapoor from Enlear Academy provides details of 16 software development trends likely to dominate in 2022, ranging from coding standards to NEFT Tokens, yet more ML and AI, and well… 13 more!
  • Md Kamarussaman on TowardsDataScience offers the Best List of 22 Software Development Predictions for 2022 for adding a fair bit of explanation as to why.
  • Codacy tooted its 22 trends for 2022, too, which really would make a great re-toot on February 22. Sorry, I just… could not restrain myself. +2 if it gets a Timestamp of…

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