How software engineers can stay relevant in 2020

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How software engineers can stay relevant in 2020's Image

One of the most important tasks that software engineers need to accomplish every year is to make sure they stay relevant. This is critical to maintaining success and moving up in the industry. Software engineering skills in 2020 will require some attention in order to achieve that relevancy. Coders need to keep up with the latest in technology, the latest in methodology, and an increased focus on the cloud.

Keeping up with the Latest Technology

Learning new technologies and keeping up with 2020 software trends is one of the most important aspects of software engineering. Different projects are going to require using different technologies and tools, so you’ll want to make sure you know the latest for whatever job comes your way.

Ryan Cosyns, President of Boulder Valley Consulting, says that as a software consultant, he rarely encounters a job that requires the same things as the previous job.

“There’s always one or two technologies that I need to relearn or refamiliarize myself with as I move around from job to job,” he added. “It’s really important that you’re staying up-to-date on the latest and greatest technologies.”

Cosyns suggested that some technologies that are good to focus on are Microsoft.NET and ASP.NET. The other technology he felt was important was those involving JavaScript, such as Google’s Angular, React, and Vue.js.

“One of those three front-end JavaScript technologies has become a requirement for just about any job [you’re] looking for these days,” Cosyns said. 

Software engineer Kevin Kirkpatrick also added that Java-based apps are one of the things he is focused on lately, as well as web frameworks, Linux, Unix, and Python.

Cloud-Based Technologies

Another technology that is becoming important is cloud-based computing. More companies are turning to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud for service, so knowing cloud computing is now a necessity for success.

“Everything is moving to the cloud,” Cosyns said. “Since the beginning of time, people have maintained these server farms and maintained their own databases on their own hardware. Now the trend is definitely turned to allowing a cloud-based company like AWS or Microsoft Azure to maintain all your web applications and databases in the cloud, so you don’t have to deal with the maintenance.”

“When I first started, C# and C++ were the big things, but now it’s all cloud development,” said Kirkpatrick.

Find Places to Practice and Learn

The best way to make sure you’re learning the latest technology is to find places that will show it to you.

Cosyns recommends immersive coding bootcamps, especially for those who are new to the industry. Bootcamps such as Hack Reactor can be one of the best avenues to entering the industry, which Cosyns said is critical for success.

“The hardest part is finding your way into your first job,” he explained. “Once you’ve landed your first job, and you can gain six months to one-year experience, the sky’s the limit. If one of these intense bootcamps can get you into that first entry-level job, I think that’s great.”

Methodology

The focus right now in software development is not just on technology, but also on the way it is created. There was a time when software was tackled as one big project, where a company spent months or a year developing before presenting to the client. That method is now being pushed aside for systems where collaboration is favored.

“The other big thing out there that everyone should have a handle on is the process around creating software,” Cosyns said. “Every company I go to is using Agile or Agile Scrum, so having an understanding of how that process works is going to be helpful at just about any job.”

Agile is a method of teams working with each other and the customer to create software that is able to easily respond to changes, developed early, and continually improved. Scrum is a type of agile where team members break their work into sprints and then track progress with daily meetings.

Not every company has embraced Agile, according to Kirkpatrick, so it’s probably best to have some grasp on the older methods of software development.

Other Things Needed for Success

As mentioned above, the majority of companies are handling projects in a manner that requires you to work with others. If you want to be successful in 2020, you’ll need to embrace working in a group that works with other groups. This is best helped by boosting your skills in cooperation, collaboration, and communication.

“Anytime you’re good technically and you’re a good communicator… those people are always really valuable,” Cosyns said.

Staying on top of presenting yourself is another area that demands constant attention. 

You never know what requirements a job has, so it’s best to maintain your resume to make sure it lists all the things you’ve accomplished.