Looking ahead: 2021 software trends

It’s no secret that 2020 has been a turbulent year, especially within the field of technology. The global pandemic has fast-tracked the adoption of many tech-focused solutions within businesses, with many of us having turned to digital tools to support our new way of working. As a result, the technology landscape looks extremely different to what was predicted this time last year.

2020 recap – The year of the cloud:

Even prior to the global pandemic, Cloud computing was considered a trend that would continue its innovative development. The virus certainly had its benefits for Cloud computing services as many businesses were able to successfully adopt digital transformation as the world turned virtual overnight through using Cloud-based technology. Now, connectivity is almost always down to the Cloud as many of us navigate business operations through these turbulent times.

This is a trend that will also continue to flourish into the next year due to the ever-increasing ability to be flexible when reacting to unforeseen changes. And now that the Cloud has seen wide-scale deployment, the way companies will be using their Cloud software will most likely become more streamlined, specialized and secure. As a result, data centers will experience huge developments to keep up with this demand in 2021.

Top 2021 trends:

Software development

Though software engineering has been slowly developing over the past decade, the past 12 months have had a huge impact on super-charging this growth. One of the biggest lessons learned from Covid-19 is the importance of facilitating flexible, adaptable and contingency planning. Where the notion of remote working is seen as a more long-term solution, software developers will need to find ways to facilitate the range of software programs used across client projects, focusing on compatibility.

Furthermore, due to the sudden uptake in digitalization, team expertise and software development specialists will be in high demand. Covid-19 has been a catalyst for these changes and accelerated many company’s digital transformation that may have already been in the pipeline.

Remote working and security

Where the world was forced to adopt a remote working model over-night during the pandemic, cyber hackers spotted a gateway for new forms of data theft. Due to poor technological infrastructure or inadequate cyber and data security software, many businesses were left exposed and vulnerable to malicious cyber-attacks. However, as remote working becomes a more permanent fixture in the long-term, there are many security implications to consider for businesses to avoid these types of security breaches going forward and into 2021. Different ways to authenticate users will begin to evolve as software development facilitates improved security for remote working models. This is particularly prevalent within banking and healthcare markets where protecting sensitive customer data is fundamental.

The adoption of open source software

Open source software describes any program where the developer released the source code for free. Due to such high numbers of people working from home, accessible and affordable alternatives to expensive and professional software is high in demand.

Ever since the open source software movement took off in the 1990’s, it has completely revolutionized the way we all use technology, from in the workplace to at home. And where open source software is often more secure, the adoption of these applications are only to increase and become fully integrated as part of our daily software usage now and in the future.

AI and big data

Artificial intelligence (AI) will become more dominant in the coming years when redefining businesses and customer experiences. As the technology develops, the impact on software automation will be immense. This means that software developers must embrace the changes possible with AI and big data so that clients can remain agile when battling their competitors during these critical times.

It is also critical for software development companies to provide peace of mind and reliability in the use of large data and AI systems. With customers increasingly demanding help to review large structured and unstructured datasets, big data analytics will become an important tool for software engineers. Not only will this require software to automatically learn from the model or function of the data, but also capabilities for data mining, predictive analysis and forecasting.

IoT and edge computing

Now that the Internet of Things has well and truly arrived, what can we expect from the notion next year? As talks of 5G escalate, the implementation is expected to arrive and roll out in 2021. With improved wireless connectivity, IoT will thrive and continue to become integrated within our tech-focused lives.

In particular, IoT derived edge computing is also expected to develop with the introduction of 5G. Edge computing brings the data and the computer closer to the location it is needed, improving response times and saves bandwidth. Now that IT solutions are under scrutiny to produce the best results possible for business during the recovery from 2020, edge computing is expected to deliver these needs and result in an uptake of adoption.

To 2021 and beyond:

Even though legacy software often receives a bad name, not all traditional computer systems should be considered outdated. However, there are some tools that could be better suited for today’s digital landscape and changing business demands.

The role of software engineers will also develop to align more with social responsibility. As coding continues its path towards advanced technology, software engineers will gain an increased responsibility when making decisions on how the data sourced through code will be used, for instance billing, face recognition software and authentication.

It’s been an interesting year and an eye-opening one for many as technology took a major hit. The need for technology to deliver has never been so critical as almost everyone relies on it to continue business operations as usual. During these turbulent times, it is still unclear as to what we can expect going forward. However, I have highlighted the most influential factors to look out for as we prepare for 2021.

Continuous changes and developments in technology will require an increased demand for software development, due to the extended capabilities and streamlined ways of working. As Covid-19 continues to disrupt, hybrid applications and mobile software will be of the most interest moving forward.

By Jaroslaw Porwol.