Over the past year, I have studied in detail the evolution of the software development productivity space. During that time, I’ve spoken to technical leaders at dozens of organizations, reviewed the most recent literature, and even conducted representative opinion polls among software engineers.
While the future is uncertain, there are three key trends that tech leaders can’t afford to miss. How technology leaders implement these trends within their organizations will help define how successful they are in increasing productivity and improving developer well-being.
Development environments will migrate to the cloud
When a developer starts a new job, it’s not uncommon for them to spend up to two weeks trying to get the application they’re working on to work on their local computer. This process is not only a huge waste of time for the new engineer, but also for the experienced engineers who have to integrate them through this process. As software projects become more complex, this integration process simply becomes more difficult.
To varying degrees, companies have sought to solve this problem through documentation and tooling, but have not always been fully successful. Developers can sometimes have very strong opinions about the technology they use for their work. Hardware, operating systems, and even code editors can vary widely, even among developers working on the same project.
Add to this the fact that development environments must increasingly support both Intel architectures and Apple’s new M1 chips, alongside remote working, further complicating the execution of development environments. local.
Local development environments are now largely the only part of the software development lifecycle that takes place locally on a developer’s computer. Automated builds, staging environments, and running production applications have largely moved from on-premises computers to the cloud.
Microsoft and Amazon have both worked hard to meet this challenge. In August of this year, Microsoft released the GitHub code spaces into general availability. GitHub Codespaces offers complete development environments accessible using a simple web browser that can start in seconds. The service allows technology teams who store their code in Microsoft’s GitHub service to develop using their fully cloud-based Visual Studio code editor.
Amazon has its own solution to this problem as well, with AWS Cloud9 allowing developers to modify and run their code from the cloud. Startups have also been created to address this issue – in April, Gitpod announced that it had raised $ 13 million for its solution to move software development to the cloud.
Without a doubt, we can expect increased adoption of these technologies during 2022.
DevOps will become more scientific
Google’s DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) team conducted research that linked technology organization performance to business outcomes. Their research found that companies with successful engineering organizations are twice as likely to meet their organizational goals and achieve a 50% higher growth rate over three years.
The 2021 benchmarks conducted by the DORA team at Google and independently by Puppet have consistently shown that the software development industry is increasingly competitive. The number of high performing engineering teams is increasing, while the proportion of low performing teams is decreasing. A survey of UK software developers I conducted with Haystack Analytics and Survation found that 40% of software developers say they can reliably deliver new features usually on the same day they are requested, or even on the day they are requested. just a few hours.
To deliver new functionality quickly and reliably without straining developers, software development teams need to ensure that their processes and tools are as sophisticated as possible. Developer productivity is considered so important that Netflix has a dedicated developer productivity team, while Google hires a lot of engineers in its EngProd (Engineering Productivity) function.
Before improving any part of the software development process, it is essential to focus on the bottlenecks. In 2021, a number of companies secured funding to create developer analytics platforms to highlight these bottlenecks.
Developer analytics companies that have successfully secured funding in 2021 include Haystack Analytics, LinearB, Swarmia, and CodeClimate. I have personally consulted with the Haystack Analytics team over the past few months and have seen the demand increase, with revenue growing an average of 35% per month.
Telecommuting will be permanent
Much of what I have already written here has undoubtedly been accelerated by the growth of remote working among developers during the Covid-19 pandemic. This change seems permanent.
GitHub 2021 State of the Octoverse The report found that while 41% of respondents were co-located in an office before the pandemic, only 10.7% expected to stay in the office after the pandemic. This represents a 74% drop in the office co-location rate.
The report also found that developers expect a 41% increase in the hybrid work rate, where some staff work entirely remotely and others come to the office. Companies employing remote working entirely are expected to increase by 46% from before the pandemic.
Productivity is starting to return to pre-pandemic levels, according to GitHub, but it’s clear that more needs to be done to fill the gaps left by co-located office work. A survey of UK software developers I ran for Haystack Analytics and Survation found that among software engineers suffering increased burnout during the pandemic, 30% reported lack of contact with their colleagues as the cause. , while 27% said having to work from home as a cause.
During 2022, we can reasonably expect to find new ways for our colleagues not only to work together online, but to connect offline as well. A number of in-person developer conferences have resumed for the coming year, some even taking a hybrid approach. Likewise, we are seeing companies adopting their workspaces to be used as places for occasional collaboration, rather than continuous work.
As remote working becomes permanent, we can expect developers to find other ways to accomplish what they lack through in-person contact, in order to maintain the best of both worlds. Conferences and reformed office spaces will play a key role in this transformation.
The developer world is sure to see continuous evolution over the coming year. As the pandemic has shown, the future is far from guaranteed, but these are the three key trends that I see affecting the developer community. Each of these three developments will bring new advances in terms of productivity and developer well-being, helping to accelerate the delivery of software despite a constraint in the supply of software engineers.
Junade Ali is responsible for software engineering and helps mentor engineering leaders at Haystack Analytics