As with many other areas this year, software development has been greatly influenced by the rise in AI. But that’s not the only area where things are changing.
Here’s what some industry experts think the development sector has in store for 2024.
Development is an area where the influence of AI is strong, Miten Marfatia, founder and CEO of EvolveWare, says, “High hopes for GenAI will drive a surge in application modernization activity, but overoptimistic expectations will get a reality check. Modernization will be as urgent as ever next year — due to the shrinking talent pool, the advent of AI, and dangerously antiquated legacy systems. But there will be a key difference: high hopes that GenAI will reduce modernization cost and time will significantly boost enterprises’ appetite to modernize during a period of economic uncertainty. The resulting scramble to experiment with GenAI for more efficient modernization will expose its limits — GenAI technology will not be ready to make a measurable impact on modernization in 2024, and that reality check will take hold within the first half of the year.”
Tara Hernandez, VP of developer productivity, MongoDB believes:
AI-powered developer tools will become even more pervasive across many stages of the development cycle. The main challenge is knowing how to properly leverage AI technology in a way that manages cost and compliance to data policies. Many organizations have rushed to implement AI and are running now into serious issues in terms of copyright and intellectual property claims. We still don’t know what all of these implications will be, but this complexity will have a disproportionate impact on startups. It’s important that in 2024 organizations figure out how to manage issues like security, privacy, and intellectual property as well as correctness when it comes to AI-powered developer tools.
Outside of AI, diversity in tech will continue to be an area that needs focus in 2024. Companies that invest in creating a successful hybrid/remote environment will likely have a higher success rate in building and maintaining a diverse employee base. In both cases, there’s a need for good internal documentation and communication practices, high standards around virtual meeting culture, and better metrics to quantify successful performance. It’s all about focusing on objective rather than subjective assessments.
Jason Beres, Sr. VP of Developer Tools at Infragistics, “AI is moving to the forefront of software development, with IT leaders using AI to speed time to market and alleviate the developer shortage. While generative AI–based tools can speed up many common developer tasks, complex tasks remain in the domain of developers for now. AI technology will be used to augment developers rather than replace them as some tasks continue to demand skilled developer expertise.”
Tom Gorup, vice president of security services at Edgio,
By closely aligning themselves with the engineering and product teams, CISOs can work bottom-up to drive a culture of security, rather than trying to impose it from the top-down. This approach allows for security to be built into the very fabric of the organization, rather than just being an add-on. Such an approach is effective because it helps to ensure that every aspect of the organization’s technology ecosystem is secure, from the development stage all the way to production.
The benefits of this approach are clear. By moving away from a narrow focus on governance success and policies, CISOs can help accelerate the adoption of ‘security by design’ in 2024 and beyond. This will enable organizations to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to cybersecurity threats and ensure the protection of not only sensitive data, but also the reputation and bottom line of the business itself.
Alexey Korotich, VP of product at Wrike, thinks generative AI will result in a rise in citizen developers. “As generative AI evolves and is implemented across industries, many organizations will see a need for citizen developers to assist IT teams in driving business agility and innovation. Building teams of citizen developers will help to bridge the gap between the needs of business users and workflow automation models, and allow people to craft workflows in their natural language without developing code. This will eventually make software development more accessible, flexible and scalable than ever before.”
Martin Reynolds, field CTO at Harness, says:
In 2024 we will see AI help to ease the burden of developer skill shortages at all levels, helping novice developers to become good, and making great developers world-class.
However, if organizations continue to use bolted-together solutions across their Software Delivery Lifecycle (SLDC) instead of taking a platform approach, they will still struggle with developer toil. All too often, multiple point solutions are stitched together with custom integrations, glue code, and open source tools. This means most of the developers’ time isn’t spent on generating code, it’s spent on low-value ops tasks and a minutia of maintenance.
Reynolds also believes automated quality control will come to the fore in 2024:
In 2024, providing a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) will no longer be enough. Knowing what is in a software artifact is interesting, but knowing who wrote it and how it got to where it is, is a lot more helpful. So, we will see the advent of automated quality control.
Companies will need a chain of custody to truly understand how code progressed through their systems, see all the outputs from scans and testing, and identify which environments it was deployed in to easily remediate the problem. For example, knowing which artifacts had log4j in them was useful. But knowing everywhere it existed in the organization and being able to update every instance of that with an automated bug fix, is much more valuable. Think of it like a recall, where the system is smart enough to automatically fix every known instance of a bug, without any human intervention or data gathering.
Tidelift’s CEO/co-founder Donald Fisher thinks open source contributors fed up with corporate interests exploiting open source are due to start fighting back. “After a period in which the principles underlying the open source movement took a back seat, open source contributors will rediscover open source’s roots in the free software movement and start fighting back against commercially controlled projects bending and breaking open source principles in search of profits. Interestingly, by revisiting the original core tenets of open source, organizations will begin to once again reap the benefits of the model as it returns stronger than ever, with new antibodies to protect it.”
Greg Ellis, general manager, application security at Digital.ai, thinks we’ll see greater DevOps efficiency. “In 2024, the DevOps pipeline will get more efficient, and more apps will be built — faster, placing new and relentless pressure to speed up the process of securing applications. Coders are doing more with generative AI and release engineers are releasing apps faster with orchestration templates and testing. This increase in development velocity will create a security bottleneck further down the line if vendors do not constantly improve the speed and ease with which apps are protected.”
Anil Inamdar, global head of data services at Instaclustr, also thinks there’ll be platform improvements. “Platform engineering strategies in which enterprises create internal developer platforms (IDPs) to empower their development teams will grow in popularity in 2024, as organizations seek an efficiency edge in bringing application products and features to market. IDPs offer standardized frameworks that spare developers from tedious block-and-tackle tasks and let them get straight to innovative development work, while also providing flexible self-service capabilities that allow developers to be far more productive and effective.”
Tyler Warden, senior vice president of product at Sonatype, thinks automation will reshape how organizations operate, “The rallying mantra in the DevOps landscape to ‘do more with less’ sees no sign of slowing down in 2024. It’s what will propel automation to the forefront next year. Whether through integration, AI, or data — automation will redefine developer tasks as tool suggestions keep getting better and better. Double-clicking on AI and ML for a moment: it’s been used for years by leading DevSecOps tools to help automate and make critical decisions in the name of speed and efficiency. In 2024, this pivotal shift will not only improve productivity but reshape how organizations operate.”
Finally, Gradle Inc founder and CEO, Hans Dockter, thinks we’ll start to see different specialized roles break out. “Today, platform engineers are focused on ensuring that they’re equipping developer teams with the specific tools and resources they need to effectively and efficiently do their jobs. In the coming year, we’ll start to see more specialized roles break out within platform engineering. For instance, folks focused on Developer Productivity Engineering (DPE), scalability, fault tolerance, security, storage, compute resources, monitoring and troubleshooting.”