January 15, 2020

What Is the Future of Software Development?


Software development has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Practically every company is a software company today. And it’s predicted that the next 10 years will have 10x the change.

So, what exactly will happen in the future of software development?

What Is the Future of Software Development?

The future of software development is already here. It’s already happening in research labs. And it’s only a matter of time before it’s everywhere. 

This means that the future of software development is actually happening now. And the future is present in the current trends being adopted by software development teams.

Current Trends in Software Development

There are many trends being embraced today that will drive the future of software development. But where the trends are at — in terms of adoption — varies between innovators who are ahead of the curve, early adopters who are next up, and early majority who are embracing the trends.

Innovators are adopting:

Early adopters are embracing:

  • Serverless / lambda: a way to build serverless applications (e.g., AWS Lambda).
  • Reactive programming: a model structured around asynchronous data streams (e.g., Java Completable Future).
  • Orchestration: a way to automatically configure, coordinate, and manage systems (e.g., cloud orchestration).
  • GraphQL: an open-source data query and manipulation language for APIs. GraphQL is one of the top open source trends today.

An early majority has adopted:

  • Microservices: a technique to break an application up into a collection of loosely-coupled services.
  • Immutable infrastructure: an approach to manage service or software deployments (e.g., Infrastructure as Code).
  • API design: the process of developing application programming interfaces (APIs) that expose backend data and application functionality for use in new applications.
  • Lean: the application of lean manufacturing processes to software development (e.g., Kanban).

What do these trends enable? They help software development teams achieve the future, today. For instance, NVIDIA has cards powerful enough for autonomous vehicles, with 320 trillion operations a second on a card.

So, what will happen next in software development?

Predictions For the Future of Software Development

In the following video, I share my predictions for the future of software development. (Or check out a recap of 6 predictions below.)


1. Innovation Will Multiply

It took 40 years to create the first 500 million apps. It will only take 4 years to create the next 500 million.


The number of internet users will more than double by 2025. And they’ll be able to invent things more easily — and at lower costs — than used to be possible. The cost of creating a start-up is now 1,000 times less than it was 20 years ago. Instead of buying computers, they’ll use the cloud. And crowdfunding will also be leveraged.

This means there will be multiplied innovation in the software development process.

2. Applications Will Get Smaller

Applications are getting smaller. Instead of traditional applications with big, heavyweight packages, there are more bite-sized apps. These apps use things like microservices that communicate over APIs.

This means that teams will need to be up to the challenges of moving to microservices. (Or else they might retreat from microservices back to monolith or miniservices).

“By 2019, more than 90% of organizations that try microservices will find the paradigm too disruptive and use miniservices instead.” — Gartner

There will also be 1,000s of APIs utilized in applications — instead of the 1 or 2 used in traditional applications. It will be even more important to have API management.

3. Hardware Will Disappear

You will not see hardware as much in the future. It will disappear into the background.

So, hardware will be in things like self-driving cars and self-flying taxis — but it will be the wrapper around software.

4. Quantum Computing Will Be a Game-Changer

Quantum computers are already emerging. But they will change life as we know it in the next 10 years.

You can do a lot more with a quantum computer in certain applications than you can with typical computing. And there are even new programming languages being invented to help you program a quantum computer (for instance, QDK from Microsoft).

Quantum computing is already being used. Volkswagen is working on citywide traffic management using quantum computing for every car, pedestrian, and light.

5. Software Will Be Proactive

Software will be faster than instantaneous. It will be proactive.

AI will drive software to anticipate what a user wants, based on what it knows about them and their preferences.

“Software is eating the world. But AI will eat software.” — NVIDIA

AI is getting smarter. And we’re already seeing AI do a lot of things. For instance, AI is powering test automation. And it’s in over 9,000 open source packages.

To drive the future of software development, it will be critical to hire recent grads with AI specialties.

6. User Experience Will (Still) Be #1

Software development will change a lot in the future. You’ll have to specialize to stand out. And things like AI will be important to doing this.

But user experience (UX) will still be #1. That’s how you’ll compete in the future.

Get Ready for the Future of Software Development Today

It’s time to get ready for the future of software development today.

You will have to be 10x faster than you are today. So:

  • Invest in your future and learn the new stuff.
  • Keep up and don't reinvent wheels.
  • Use everything — open source, commercial, services, and enterprise cloud.

Remember: you are going to have more software and bigger software. This means more lines of code, more files, more developers, more geographies, more APIs, more mobile apps, and more open source.

Use the tools to help you get there, to help deal with that DevOps at scale — and do faster, better.

How Perforce Solutions Will Help

Perforce solutions can help you prepare for the future of software development today.

Our solutions include:

See for yourself how the power of Perforce solutions can help you drive the future of software development. Get free trials — and get started today. 



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