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When the birth of the internet gave rise to the information technology sector no one could have predicted that software development companies would become pivotal and would go on to become the industry that would dominate all other industries.

No one can deny the importance of technological advancement. With the increasingly digitized life that human beings are transitioning into software development has become more important than ever for businesses. The non-tech-based organization must understand software to learn to harness the power of software to become leaders in their own industry. 

What is software development?

It is the process of building computer programs that address a business problem. Software development consists of several steps or stages that need to be followed to create operational software. Though, different software development companies make use of different approaches to developing software solutions because of their differing business models. However, four steps are present in every software development process.

Requirements: the process via which the development team and relevant stakeholders define the features of the software that will be built. Potential roadblocks and limitations are also discussed.

Design and implementation: software is developed according to the requirements that have been agreed upon.

Verification and implementation: software developed is assessed and adjusted in accordance with the specification set by the clients.

Maintenance and scaling:  in which the software development team takes care of updating, resolving issues, and expanding the capabilities of the software.

Software development methodologies

Despite the similarity in steps that most software development companies follow to build software, the models used to develop software require the use of different methodologies and may include more than the four basic steps to develop software. Some of the models most commonly used in the industry include:  

  1. Spiral model
  2. Incremental Model
  3. V model
  4. Iterative Model
  5. Spiral Model
  6. RAD Model
  7. Agile Model

Depending on the type and needs of a business a model may be more or less suitable. However,  the agile model is the most widely used method nowadays because it provides teams with flexibility and makes it easy for them to adapt to changes.

What do software development companies do?

They are outsourcing organizations to build software solutions for organizations. They cater to all types of industries and businesses of all sizes. They often consist of a large team that consists of software engineers, developers, quality assurance experts, and programmers. Together, they are in charge of either write, fix or maintain the code for a specific program or do all three. Some of the roles that can be found in a team include:

  1. Product Owner
  2. Software Developer
  3. Project Manager:
  4. Q&A Lead
  5. UI/UX Designer
  6. Business Analyst

These are by no means the only roles that can be found in a software development team. The size of a team depends upon the resources of software development companies. Though, the optimum number of members in a team is between 3 to 9. They can be larger or smaller depending on the requirements of the project.

What makes software successful?

Many organizations expect software development companies to whip up the latest, state-of-the-art technology to bring their next idea to life. However, when the software used does not produce the level of success they are expecting, they are quick at blaming the software development companies.

Nevertheless, there is one key factor many businesses fail to consider: software companies are in charge of developing software. While they do conduct research ultimately, it is their client’s research and objectives that they need to abide by.

Investing capital to ask software development companies to construct features that customers do not ultimately like is an expensive mistake. One that can easily be avoided. Research is the bigger picture for software. It is relevant for every field, every business process, and organization because ultimately, a person is the end-user of every product or service ever invented. It is made to make things easier or fulfill a need that wasn’t being fulfilled before.

Getting the research and insights right, precede the process of software development. After all, the success of any product or service depends on various factors such as the right customer pool and features that fulfill customer needs. However, most organizations choose to base their action on guesswork or limited research which naturally decreases their chances of success.

However, both quantitative and qualitative data must be used. Quantitative data may tell us a lot about behavior but it is only through quantitative measures that we can truly harness the power of numbers. One reliable method to conduct qualitative data is to conduct surveys that indicate can not only provide the answers the organization is looking for but also provides customers the opportunity to tell the organization about their ideas and the flaws they see in the design.

Trends in the software development industry in 2021

Despite software development companies taking a hit in the year 2020, it has bounced back and is expected to flourish thanks to the increased demand for software solutions. Some of the trends that will impact the market include:

Cybersecurity

There is a spike in cybersecurity every year because despite advances in technology to keep information safe every year. The problem is that the methods used to hack into systems become more and more sophisticated. The fact that the whole world has shifted to remote working has certainly increased the number of security breaches. More organizations require software development companies to come up with robust security measures for their software. In addition, the widespread adoption of Cloud and 5G make them potential areas for an increase in malicious attacks. Hence, learning how to prevent and manage these attacks will remain a key issue in 2021.  

Artificial intelligence

AI has advanced so much that it has the capability to code leading to many organizations utilizing AI-enabled software development tools. One of the advantages is that it can help developers detect potential bugs much like spell check software works to correct grammatical mistakes. This development is likely to provide much aid in the software development life cycle. Despite most people fearing that ai will replace the human workforce, it is being used to support humans during the process. The development of ethical AI is also on the rise.

Blockchain

The role of blockchain has expanded beyond cryptocurrencies into the financial world and now is poised to become more popular amongst software development companies. Though governments are placing strict restrictions on various cryptocurrencies to prevent scams, the underlying technology is being utilized by businesses to make their workflows more efficient. Smart contracts in particular have shaken the industry and are now being used to execute transactions provided the conditions of the contract written into the lines of code are fulfilled first.

Multiple clouds and Database

Despite there being a large number of databases in the market consumers are increasingly moving towards multiple databases. There will be no one size fits all database that will be utilized. Though the cloud is increasingly becoming the to-go database system, more organizations like the CIA have started to favor the adoption of multiple cloud vendors. Though various players dominate the market and provide excellent services this is likely a step to heighten the security of data.

Quantum computing

Though the technology has been in development for many years, more and more organizations are competing amongst each other to be able to produce the most advanced supercomputer. This has resulted in an advancement in research that could potentially bring quantum computers to consumers very soon. Moreover, the biggest players in the market google, IBM have released an open-source library TensorFlow Quantum for building quantum machine learning models. 

Rapid development

The rise in the demand for software engineers has not decreased in recent years and the gasp is only expected to widen. Hence, the rise in the trend in platforms that require a low amount of code or no code such as Bubble has been on the rise to help software developers get their jobs done faster. Furthermore, the increasing demand for fast application development with a minimal amount of code has also been rising as more people with minimal technical skills wish to be able to build feature-rich applications. 

Programming languages

Very popular development languages such as Java and C++  have begun losing their popularity because they are either difficult to learn or very difficult to approach. Moreover, thanks to the rise of many tech-related fields such as data science have boosted the popularity of languages like python, while the increase in web developers has boosted the popularity of Javascript. This is because these languages can easily be picked up by people who may not necessarily have a background in technology. In addition, many programming languages that have been recently developed such as Rust and Swift have started to slowly take over the market.

Cross-platform development

Thanks to it becoming an increasingly inexpensive alternative, cross-platform application development is becoming more and more popular. While many platforms in the market can help develop them, flutter and react-native remain the most popular platforms. React native’s popularity stems from the fact that if react has been used for web development and react native for mobile development, then the components and code base for both can be shared.

Big Data

With the increase in software being deployed in business and the digitization of most aspects of human life, it is no surprise that a tremendous amount of information is generated every day. Harnessing this information has become key to all organizations, and the use of augmented analytics is poised to decrease the amount of time business analysts spend in preparing and cleaning the data. In-memory computation is also a development that will help with the real-time processing of data allowing organizations to make decisions much more quickly.

Digital transformation

Because of the slowdown in vaccination rollouts across the globe, the majority of businesses are expected to continue their transition towards remote working. For this purpose, they will require software development companies to build powerful software that protects the organization’s data. In addition, businesses will also be focused on improving their software to heighten connectivity and collaboration amongst employees.

E-commerce software

One of the industries that experienced unprecedented growth was e-commerce with many brick-mortar shops shifting their operations entirely online. Customers are the significant factors that have been driving this unprecedented growth. The reason being that they see e-commerce as an enhancement to their experience, the convenience of having access to online services from businesses that were not on; alone before is an advantage they do not want to let go of. As a result, many businesses looking to offer their services online will be looking for software development companies to obtain custom software solutions.

Organizations that specialize in building software build programs to solve their client’s business problems are also known as software development companies. They use a variety of models and specialists to create them. However, the success of these solutions depends heavily on the research that clients provide. Hence, clients must provide the right kind of software. Though the industry took a hit because, during 2020, it is expected to bounce back thanks to the continuation of digital transformation, greater demand for cybersecurity, blockchain multiple clouds, big data, e-commerce software will ensure the demand for software services. Moreover, innovation in the field of artificial intelligence, quantum computing, rapid development, programming languages, and cross-platform development will continue driving growth in the software development industry.

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