India has long been home to one of the largest developer bases in the world, with Metas forecasting that it will become the largest app developer base by 2024. As companies grow dependent on all things digital, India will play an even bigger role in shaping development trends in 2022. Here, we explore several trends that will affect engineers in India and globally, and how businesses can identify the best strategy for their organizations.
#1 Focus on developer productivity will increase
As companies continue to transform, the demand to hire experienced developers will rise, as well as an emphasis on improving theproductivity of current developers to improve margins. To do this, businesses will need to put in place secure and reliable aspects of development platforms so that their teams can focus on building creativity and innovation instead of the tedious aspects of software development.
Development platforms should leverage containers and Kubernetes so that they can scale up automatically. This will help development teams deliver world-class application architectures while moving fast enough to meet changing business needs, all without being hindered by unnecessary maintenance and technical debt.
#2 Every company will feel the need to reduce technical debt
In recent years, we have observed technical debt taking up a huge percentage of company budgets. An OutSystems report showed that 28% of businesses devote more than a quarter of their IT budgets to technical address compared to about a third to debt innovating and building new capabilities. This problem is more pronounced for enterprise companies as they spend about four out of 10 dollars in their IT budgets on technical debt. In terms of actual spend, it results in a serious drain on resources, especially with the amount of money these companies dedicate to IT. The report further details the challenges that IT leaders face, citing examples like programming languages/frameworks (52%), high turnover within the development team (49%), and accepting known defects to meet release deadlines (43%). To reduce technical debt, organizations must deploy development platforms that have the capability to orchestrate the entire deployment process using a combination of automation, AI, and analytics to identify architecture errors, faulty logic, and broken dependencies during development and in real-time.
#3 Demand for cloud-native app development platforms will increase
In India, cloud is powering a host of innovative business models. Research firm Gartner for instance predicts that end-user spending on public cloud services in India will reach $7.3 billion in 2022, an increase of 29.6% from 2021. Gartner believes that the next step in the growth of cloud in India will be the adoption of cloud native technologies. Indian enterprises will hence look at re-architecting their applications to take better advantage of the capabilities of the cloud. As a result, the demand for cloud-native app development platforms will escalate.
Additionally, we have noticed the “build vs buy” pendulum coming back from “let users buy any SaaS they want”. SaaS is not only costing businesses a large portion of their budgets, but also becoming another form of technical debt: an entanglement in the required integration among hundreds of systems. To recover business agility with fit-to-purpose enterprise systems used among employees, partners and customers will demand a new type of cloud-native app development – one that is highly distributed and scalable, and enables the creation of resilient, custom enterprise apps that increase the agility of the organization.
#4 Developers will demand tools that can help them deliver secure code
Today’s software developers are under increasing pressure to create programs that are free of vulnerabilities, particularly in light of the high profile ransomware attacks that occurred in 2021. A joint survey by security firm CrowdStrike and market research firm VansonBourne found that 49% of Indian businesses with an online presence recorded multiple ransomware attacks in 2021. The report further highlighted how Indian enterprises suffered more ransomware attacks than any other country, putting additional pressure on software developers and inhibiting developers’ ability to write and create programs. As companies seek assurance that custom software development provides similar levels of security and compliance as SaaS, developers will demand reliable development tools that can be trusted against vulnerabilities.
Between the uptick in ransomware attacks, lack of clear boundaries for organizational data, and increased risk with collaborative citizen developments, data, privacy and regulatory requirements are challenged more than ever before. CISOs and CIOs are gradually preferring to create new digital experiences based on platforms that systematically manage all stages of app development & delivery for each new app, instead of depending on the non-systematic nature of different teams with different maturities of secure software development.
#5 Companies will accelerate efforts to be more inclusive
This year, we will see more pressure on IT decision makers to be accountable and meet diversity, equity, and inclusion goals when it comes to developer talent. As developers solve the world’s most complex problems, companies must examine hiring processes to improve the recruitment of diverse IT candidates.
In India, there has been a strong focus on encouraging diverse talent. Nasscom, the premier association representing the IT services industry, has seen a strong focus on gender diversity within the IT-BPM industry, with women representing 34% of the workplace, amounting to roughly 1.3 million employees. The rise of women in engineering roles marks a sharp change in the mindset of gender inclusivity in a traditionally male-dominated sector.
#6 IT and app development budgets will reflect hybrid work mindset
We have started seeing IT and app development budgets reflecting the growth of hybrid work models, especially as the employee and partner experience become as critical as the customer experience. With new tools allowing a deeper integration between design thinking and front-end development, businesses can now use DesignOps playbooks to increase adoption. By observing end-user behavior and tapping into an open source project like Open Telemetry, they provide digital product teams with a way to measure performance, and allows data to be collected and tweaked for better user adoptions, a feat that is historically hard to achieve .
#7 Distributed development teams will be common but more challenging to manage
A new reality for most software engineering teams coming out of the pandemic that their software developers are operating in more distributed organizations, bypassing many of the controls that used to be in place. This makes it much harder to onboard, coach, monitor, and even audit the quality and the performance of the teams and individuals.
Software engineering leaders face new challenges every day in ensuring the security, compliance and governance of people that their teams often never meet in person. Organizations, managers and even peers in CI/CD prefer to operate on platforms that increase their ability to closely monitor the entire development lifecycle, from work being done to security being applied. Given that many of these features are only available in highly-advanced modern app development platforms, the adoption of these platforms will expand in comparison to conventional development platforms.
The author is CTO, OutSystems.