Everyone asks me about “the cloud.” My barber. The supermarket cashier. Neighbors. They’ve all heard of it, though none has a clear understanding of what it is, precisely. My comeback is that I don’t know what it is, precisely, either. But, I do know that the concept of the cloud and, by extension, cloud culture, has become part of our societal fabric. As we approach the holiday season with a new year just around the corner, it’s worth taking a moment to look at the increasingly prominent role developers play.
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Think about what we’re building. Every mobile app. Text messaging. Streaming movies. Paying bills online. Christmas shopping. Remote medical patient monitoring. Factory floor process control. Home and commercial building environmental control and automation. IoT. And there are new technologies — cognitive computing and machine learning, to name two. We’re awash in APIs. New languages seem to appear monthly. Even the advent of no-code / low-code products is freeing developers from mundane projects to tackle those are breaking new ground.
It’s all very good for developers. You get to continually look at new technologies, new languages, and new opportunities to profoundly impact a business’s operations and profitability.
It wasn’t that many years ago that developers were largely writing programs to do nightly batch updates of sales reports, inventory management, or statement rendering. Today, with exceptions becoming increasingly rare, transaction processing happens in real time with API calls that touch multiple data stores and systems, aggregate information on the fly, and present the results to an app with a carefully designed UI/UX.
There are downsides, of course.
The pressure is on to ship feature updates, often biweekly, with little time for thorough testing, fixing bugs, or optimizing code. Unfortunately, it’s part of functioning at “cloud speed.” And with developers now expected to take a larger collaborative role in working with business decision makers and IT operations, there’s precious little time to learn new skills. It’s the world of BizDevOps.
The news this week is filled with stories about hundreds of “fake apps” that have appeared in the Apple app store, pretending to be from well-known retailers, but which are total scams. (They’re not really fake apps — they are apps, after all, though of a fraudulent nature.)
Without a doubt, the role of developer is evolving. In your work as a cloud and mobile application developer, how have your responsibilities grown? What new technologies and languages are you working with? What are the new solutions that you’re being asked to build? Gaze into your crystal ball and share what you see ahead. We’d like to hear from you.