An Outlook On Software Development for 2024

It’s the time of the year again when software development trends are revisited.

A time for some of our observations from the tech industry to be discussed, and informed predictions for 2024 to be made based on emerging trends from the sector.

Before we begin, let’s look at some of last year’s predictions and evaluate how things played out in the realm of software development this year.

In our blog from 2022, we observed that “Although there are not many significant updates from established web technologies like React or NodeJS this year, the evolution of new and exciting technologies relating to software development, web3, and the metaverse has technology industry stakeholders reveling in the imagination of what the future of the web will look like going into 2023.”

Now that the tail end of the year 2023 has been reached, it’s safe to say that the observation of the enthusiasm around VR’s growth was fairly accurate, given the amount of new development in the field.

We wrote about some of these developments on our blog. 

The Web Is Mature.

The observation that there would be no decline or drastic change in the usage of established web development technology stacks such as React, and the like was also accurate.

Some of these technologies have the good fortune of being built and adopted during what appears to be the golden age of software development and it’s looking increasingly unlikely that they’ll become irrelevant anytime soon since the web is almost reaching maturity.  

With that said, however, something we were wrong about was the prediction of developer job growth in 2023. 

Our observation that tech executives were eager to stem the tide of the great resignation and fill openings with qualified candidates was way off the mark and the data we shared from the US Bureau of Statistics turned out not to be as suggestive of an impending job market growth as we thought. 

Nevertheless, let us give another verdict on the numerous developments and problems facing the tech industry that have the potential to shape it come 2024, starting with the big one, the spread of AI.

2024 is The Age of AI-powered Businesses 

Image shows the most common use cases for AI
AI is gaining momentum.

If there is one trend that’s obvious from this year, it’s the proliferation of AI-powered businesses and startups in the field of software development.

As of today, companies and emerging startups are quickly incorporating AI into their offering, driving a pattern that has made CrunchBase observe that “more than 1 in 4 dollars invested in American startups this year has gone to an artificial intelligence-related company”. 

As such, it is fairly reasonable to expect this trend to continue in 2024. 

This prediction of continued growth and adoption of AI in software products is bolstered by the fact that there is a good reason to believe that developers who will build these AI-powered products could complete several coding tasks up to twice as fast using AI. 

For instance, optimizations such as automated code generation, code suggestion, and autocomplete which are already being used in the software development industry are becoming even better and more widely used.

Companies such as Microsoft, Meta, and other infrastructure giants are launching AI studios too to entice developers to build on their platforms.

It’s all of these events that inform my belief that the next year will likely be the year where we will see small and medium-scale companies follow suit with the adoption of AI for business processes.

The Metaverse and VR Technology 

Another development likely to shape the tech landscape this coming year is the growing interest in VR technology. 

This year provided a cursor to the possibility of 2024 being the year when mainstream consumers finally take an interest in VR due to the distribution of next-gen headsets from heavyweight VR industry players like Apple and Meta and the incremental progress they’re making in the development of the ecosystem. 

Don’t believe me? Think back to reexamine the euphoria and widespread applause that followed the launch of Apple’s Vision Pro virtual reality headset in June. 

And the equally good reception to Meta’s newly launched Quest 3 headset last month.

Both of these VR devices will not fully go on sale until 2024 and as such it’s safe to expect that they will move the VR market to a place of increased adoption. 

Developer Job Market 

With that out of the way, you may have been looking forward to my thoughts on the software development job market for 2024 so, here it is: 

More developers are looking for or are open to a new job now compared to the last two years—that’s according to the results of our latest survey on the state of developer employment. More than 1,000 developers responded to this year’s survey about jobs and 79% are at least considering new opportunities if not actively looking.

This observation is from the October 2023 Stack Overflow Developer Survey. 

Going by it and also considering that the recent recession scare that led to over 400,000 job cuts in the last two years is yet to subside in most places in the world fully, it’s safe to say that the employment market for developers would be just as slow and ever more competitive as this year’s was.   

This is going to be even more true for new developers looking for entry-level jobs due to the very noticeable decrease in the volume of entry-level openings in software development.

Notwithstanding, I hope that this turns out to be wrong by this time next year when we do another of this kind of article. 

Job Security And The Loss Of Appeal Of Big Tech Companies

Image shows the 2023 developer survey from stack Overflow chronicling the industries with the most number of software developers
Tech companies are losing their appeal according
to Stack Overflow’s latest survey.

Quickly, let’s discuss one other thing that’s apparent from the Stack Overflow developer report before moving on to the final prediction of this article.

According to that report, the technology industry is where most frontend and backend developers work (46%), followed by manufacturing/supply chain (14%) and financial services (13%).

However, there has been an 8% increase in developer exits from companies in the tech sector to companies in other industries, most noticeably of which is the manufacturing and supply chain industry. 

As the fear of layoff continues to loom over big tech companies, startups, and their employees going into 2024, I believe that more and more developers will choose to explore career changes outside of the tech sector where employment appears to be more stable.  

Regaining Lost Glory 

Lastly, all of the job cuts and competitiveness surrounding the software development job market may have unintentionally created a positive change of attitude toward the terrible experience of being laid off. 

What we’ve seen so far this year concerning this is that more people feel less awkward talking or posting about being let go from work on public social media platforms like LinkedIn and and it’s helping some of these people connect with individuals employed at their dream companies and in some cases, landing them interviews. 

It has become more acceptable to talk about being laid off and tech recruiters are noticing the change around discussing this topic with potential employees.

As the stigma continues to wear off going into the next year and more people talk about being laid off, I expect these conversations to find their way into the ears of stakeholders willing to help bring the tech industry back to being the stable career field it once was. 

Final Thoughts  

This article was written to provide a quick reflection on the technology industry this year as well as to serve as a basis to forecast what change would happen in 2024 based on trends from this year.

Looking ahead to 2024, I expect that some of the observations discussed in this article become a reality, particularly the wider integration of AI into various software products from small and medium-scale businesses. In addition, I hope that the article helps to serve as a guide on how to approach the coming year and what to look out for. 

The potential of tech —despite the very real fear of crippling layoffs that are causing an increasing number of developers to exit traditional tech firms in search of job security elsewhere, is huge and I truly hope that the coming year ushers in a change in the tide that places the tech industry back at the top of the list of sectors with stable career security like it once was. 

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