The world of software development is diversifying in terms of people, skills, tools and technologies. The recent rapid growth in technology offerings presents innumerable possibilities and opportunities for individuals and organisations. At the same time it throws up challenges which all will need to be address.

In a recent Creative Intellect podcast Research Director Bola Rotibi was joined by IBM Vice President of Developer Outreach Gina Poole and Principal Analyst Clive Howard. The discussion looked at what the future might mean for the developer community. Four key questions were addressed:

  • What are the needs, goals and focuses of the next generation of developers?
  • What constitutes a first class developer community program?
  • What resources is IBM providing to support the wider developer community and how is it ensuring that IBM stays relevant in this fast moving, competitive market?
  • What can businesses, development teams and individuals expect to gain from IBM’s investment in the developer community?

Over the course of the discussion, three key characteristics for supporting the developer community for the future emerged.

The pursuit for speed

Some core themes emerged, perhaps the most important being speed. Not only is diversity within development happening quickly but there is an expectation with regards to adoption of new technologies and delivering value can be achieved at an increasingly rapid pace. Technologies and tools are now focused on helping developers to deliver stable, secure and scalable code at speed. Agile and DevOps mean that applications can be built, iterated upon and delivered to market  faster. For developers this all means having to learn and adapt to what’s new very quickly. To do this they will need help from their businesses, vendors such as IBM and their own communities (whether those be open source focused or otherwise).

For IBM and others the challenge of speed means not just delivering new products and services to market more quickly but assisting developers in their adoption and getting the most value from them. IBM has a breadth and depth in technical content and resources on its Developer Works portal but this needs to be kept current as the underlying products change. Responding to the specific needs of an increasing number of developers with widening requirement is also hard and Gina talks about how IBM will soon be using cognitive capabilities on Developer Works to answer questions.

User Experience can’t be ignored

Another key theme was the changing nature of the developer’s role. Whereas historically it has largely been about writing code now there are additional expectations. Chief amongst these is providing applications that offer a superior user experience (UX). Through processes such as Agile users are able to provide feedback and this needs to be collated, understood and then acted upon by the development teams. We increasingly see how UX and the ability to respond quickly to user needs is critical in the success of software applications.

Embracing diversity

The conversation also turned to the community itself and the ways in which it is diversifying and growing. This is not just about technology although the make-up of the community is altering with the advent of mobile, cloud and Internet of Things (IoT). But it is also changing through an increase in women developers, non-professional developers and the environments in which developers work (start-ups, ISVs, enterprises and so on). Communities of developers (for there is not really just one) are finding ways to interact with one another both locally and across regions through meet-ups and online. As software crosses the boundaries of different technologies these communities will also need to interact with one another.

Listen to the full 30 minute podcast to hear more about these trends and ways in which developers,  their businesses and vendors are and will adapt to an increasingly software driven future. Find out from the podcast some top recommendations to ensure that developers get the most from their community engagements and the services available from vendors like IBM.