11 min read

It’s been over five decades since programming pushed the boundaries of digital craftsmanship, and it is still doing so with no signs of stopping or slowing down. There is a new tool, framework, add-on, functionality, technology, or a programming language breaking the Internet every now and then.

Any adept programmer not only needs to be good at coding but also has to stay abreast with the ongoing and upcoming happenings in the programming world. Just learning to code does not a give you a big edge over others. By having a good idea of what’s coming ahead,  present steps can be planned effectively. Obviously, no one can perfectly forecast the future of computer programming, but that won’t stop us from speculating, right! Here are 11  predictions for the future of programming that we think programmers should keep an eye on.

#1 Cloud native as the new default

Do you know that in order to cater to a single search query, Google Search uses more than 1000s of servers? All this is done in order to serve the right results. Cloud has been popular for past one decade but it’s destined to grow immensely in the future as more and more developers intend to use cloud for faster go to market. Tinkering in the cloud to build an app is so much easier as compared to managing your own servers as you don’t have to buy new servers, maintain them, upgrade them, or add new servers as and when the demand fluctuates.

Web users are an impatient lot these days; so making web pages faster is the main goal for developers. 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. More efficient algorithms save a few microseconds whereas additional impetus is provided by the rapidly developing enhanced servers.

#2 IoT security concerns will escalate

IoT is a growing technological concept these days. The promising piece of tech has already made it to the market, although in a limited form. Any smart device is just like a computer or machine that can be hacked by means of feeding some simple malicious lines of code. So, security of IoT devices is as important as their deployment. Or else, we will have to face dire consequences, as experienced recently in the form of a North Korean hacker charged for WannaCry ransomware and a 16 year old hacking into Apple’s servers to access customer data.

Programmers need to develop suspicious-activity-proof algorithms for IoT devices. Failing to do so will not only make the devices vulnerable to unintended use but also put the entire system at risk. Hence, with the growth in the IoT market, concern about its safety will also mushroom.

#3 Video Content will continue to dominate the Web

In order to solve the dire glitches caused by plugins, the HTML standards committee started embedding video tags into HTML. Videos tags are programmable by virtue of the fact that basic video tags respond to JavaScript commands. Earlier video content was fixed. If you watch a video about dogs fighting cats, then you will be recommended just that. Nothing more, nothing less.

However, this is not the case anymore. It is the time of seamless canvas design, in which web designers figure out clever ways to deploy different video content. Doing so allows the user to steer the way in which a narrative is unfolded and it opens up new ways of interacting with the video content.

Now machine learning can deliver higher-quality streaming experiences that do not buffer as much as many existing systems. More efficient codecs and better video compression are also playing a role in making video a better digital consumption medium. Again, programming makes it feasible, as video tags and iframe are part of the programming code.

#4 Consoles, consoles everywhere

Thanks to the groundbreaking progress in video game console technology, PCs are continuously being rejected in favor of gaming consoles. Living room consoles are just the start. With the concept of intelligent devices, makers of other household items are also looking to make their offerings smarter.

Our hairdryers and toasters are already boasting digital memory, allowing for remembering our preferences. However, the time when these, and other household units as well, will start communicating with each other i.e. exchanging information on their own is yet to come. All of these scenarios are only made possible by programming. As several programmers have already embarked on the journey for achieving results in the same direction, we might not be that far away from a time when the aforementioned scenario would be a day-to-day reality.

#5 Data is important, data will be important

Data is the backbone of the network of networks i.e. the Internet. What we see, read, and hear over the gigantic web is data, loads and loads of it. However, data collection is not something new for humanity. Since antiquity, humans have collected and stored large chunks of data for churning out important information at some later time.

With the passage of time, enriching and protecting data have become important. While the former is achieved by presenting data in the form of videos, pictures, pie charts, etc., the latter is accomplished by adding SSL to the website and using better encryption techniques. Data processing has become equally important just like the digital ecosphere itself. In the enterprise community, data gathering will branch out more elaborately into storing, curating, and parsing. Simply said, data is and data will be the undisputed champion in the Digital World.

#6 Machine Learning dominance

Machine Learning is already flourishing and seeping into everyday enterprise and life.

For example, machine learning algorithms are already finding a place in important automation code for big businesses. They are used for heaping big data projects. Languages like the R programming language and Python have enabled this proliferation of machine learning, so far.

What’s amazing about machine learning is that it is slowly being integrated into modern life. It will soon become a common entity in a person’s life, just like smartphones and IoT. Again, machine learning also requires services of programming and code, of course. No code, no machine learning. At least for now.

There is the rise of machine learning as a service trend which aims to remove or minimize programming. However, if we ever learning anything from the history of web development, even as drag and drop web design tools grow, professional web developers also grow in demand. We can expect to see a similar trend with machine learning as it continues down the path of democratization.

#7 User Interface design will continue gaining popularity

The time when an Internet user was expected to use a keyboard and mouse is long gone. With each passing day, using a PC is preferred less and less. Apart from offices and college laboratories, PCs are gradually being replaced by other smart devices.

As smartphones, tablets, living room consoles, etc. take on the world, the emphasis on UI has heightened. A touch and a click on the screen is different. With the advancement in technology, the former is given preference. This is because it’s quick and convenient at the same time. Furthermore, face and fingerprint recognition are the new cool.

Research on voice control is also advancing. Many brands have already incepted their very own virtual assistants, such as Amazon Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant, which can recognize the demands of their users with mere voice commands and interaction.

For example, Android 9 Pie comes with a number of UI alterations to stay relevant with the present UI scenario, including a new position for the volume controls and Material Theming. The latter is a built-in Android toolset meant for customizing the Material Design supported by the Android.

Again, designing a powerful user interface is dependent on great programming. A user interface needs not only to be robust only but also show signs of intuitiveness and interactivity. The stress on UI designing will continue growing in the future. Some of the upcoming UI trends forecasted for 2019 are the overlapping effect, functional animations, and contrast of fonts.

#8 Open Source vs. Closed Development

Nearly all laptops run on proprietary software but Smartphones with Android leading the race are mostly open source. iOS is still closed but it has a robust set of APIs on which developers can build their own empires.

While open source software is something that anyone can tinker with, closed development environment restricts 3rd-party from accessing and toying with such a system. Among other differences between the two, a significant difference is in the quality of support. This is, obviously, better offered by closed source software.

Open source is rocking the world with new developers entering into programming by tinkering with open source whereas closed environment is also growing tremendously because of personalization and security features. This is one hell of a competition.

#9 Autonomous Transportation

Another industry that requires services of programming is the autonomous vehicles. Just yesterday, Waymo announced that their first driverless cars will be on the road commercially next month. So far, we have only seen some of the many accomplishments that a driverless mode of transportation can achieve. Though we have only cars, for now, that is making use of autonomous transportation algorithms, soon other transportation means will also join the parade.

There are already crowdfunding projects for autonomous skateboards. Known as XTND Board, it is a lightweight electric vehicle meant to redefine commuting. Autonomous aircrafts are  already being used in the military. However, pilotless airplane transportation may just be around the corner. All it requires is an excellent programming code to allow a vehicle to know that what route should it chose. So, maybe flights might become autonomous after rides.

#10 The Law will redefine new limits

Writing code is like fixing something, setting up protocols. What the program will do and what it won’t, depends entirely on the coding. However, there are several ways to manipulate harmful programming code. There’s a subtle analogy between programming code and law and both have their own jurisdictions.

Though there is a bright, sunny side to the technological advancement, there’s also a darker side of the same that needs to be reviewed and regulated. As years will pass from this point in time, programmers will face real-world challenges to assist the Law & Order to sustain the malicious content of the society, both on the digital front and the real-world front.

We have already seen how adding technology to law works. However, the other side is that it can also act as a tool to break the law(s). Cyberattacks, identity theft, and data laundering are some of the notable examples made possible by technology. This is a question which is also its own solution.

In order to prevent such insincere acts, security personnel need to think like bypassers. This is where ethical hacking comes in. It is simply thinking and operating like a malicious hacker but doing so for the right cause.

#11 Containers will continue to rule

Theoretically, there isn’t a need for the so-called containers, which are heavily deployed in the modern-day programming. In theory, the executable files can run anywhere and various requisite permissions, such as using hardware, are given by the OS. Hence, there is, theoretically, no requirements for a container.

However, because of being theoretical, all executables are considered the same. Obviously, this is not the general case. What happens is that executables are different and each one of them requires specific libraries to run. For instance, the WORA (Write Once, Run Anywhere) chant of Java fails owing to the virtue that there are several different versions of virtual machines (VMs).

Though using a comprehensive VM might solve the issue, the solution lacks practicality. On the other hand, the sleek and lightweight containers win the preference. Containers are the solution to the issue of reliability caused by a software when it is to be migrated from one computing environment to another.

A container is simply a complete package that contains an entire runtime environment with the application, its dependencies and libraries, other required binaries, configuration files, etc.

So, when a container of a specific application has everything in it that it requires to operate, the container becomes independent of the platform. The containers will continue to rule in the future up ahead.

If you are new to programming, you can check out programming terms for beginners to kickstart your coding journey. These were the future predictions that we can think of. Do want to add anything else? Please feel free to do so in the comments below.

Author Bio

Saurabh Hooda

Saurabh has worked globally for telecom and finance giants in various capacities. After working for a decade in Infosys and Sapient, he started his first startup, Leno, to solve a hyperlocal book-sharing problem. He is interested in product marketing, and analytics. His latest venture Hackr.io recommends the best online programming and design courses for every programming language. All the tutorials are submitted and voted by the programming community.

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