5 min read

2015 has been the year that the future of tech has become more clearly defined. For us at Packt, it’s been a year of reflection and analysis. We’ve been finding out more about the lives of our customers, looking at what’s driven their careers and technical expertise over the last decade and looking ahead towards the challenges not only of 2016 but also the decade ahead.

Our Skill Up Skills and Salary Reports were at the centre of this, and have given us a fresh perspective on the lives that we build around the tech we use everyday. But we certainly don’t want to stop learning about what makes you tick – and what keeps you up at night. That’s why we’ve ended the Year with our very first Year in Review. It’s a chance for us to join the dots between the year that’s been and gone and the one that’s just ahead.

So what was important? Take a look at some of the key findings, and then read the full report yourself.

  1. Python, Python, Python

What better place to begin than with Python. Our end of year survey found that not only was Python the fastest growing topic of 2015 – being the most adopted programming language on the planet – it is also going to be the fastest growing topic of 2016. Surely this alone underlines that it is now the language of software par excellence. That’s not to say it’s superior to other languages – there are, of course, plenty of reasons to not use Python – but its versatility and ease of use means it’s an accessible route into the software world, a solution to a vast range of contemporary problems, from building websites to analysing data.

  1. Specialized Programming Languages

If Python has reached into just about every corner of the programming world, a curious counterpoint is the emergence of more specialized programming languages. In many ways, these languages share a number of Python’s distinctive characteristics. Languages like Go (which was far and away the winner when it came to languages people wanted to learn), Julia and Clojure all offer a level of control, their clear and expressive syntax perfect for complex problem solving and high performance. As the programming world becomes obsessed with speed and performance, it’s clear that these languages will be sticking around for some time.

  1. Bigger, Better, Faster Data

The next generation of Big Data and Data Science is already here. You probably already knew that – but the topics that emerged from our survey results indicate the direction in which the world of data is heading. Deep Learning was the most notable trend that is on the agenda for 2016. Clearly, nowMachine Learning has become embedded in our everyday lives (professional and personal), 2016 is going to be all about creating even more sophisticated algorithms that can produce detailed levels of insight that would have been unimaginable a few years ago. Alongside this – perhaps as a corollary to this next-level machine learning – is the movement towards rapid, or even real-time Big Data processing. Tools such as Apache Kafka, Spark and Mesos all point towards this trend, all likely to become key tools in our Big Data infrastructures not only over the next 12 months but also over the next few years.

  1. Internet of Things mightFinally Become a Reality

Even 12 months ago the Internet of Things looked like little more than a twinkle in the eye of a futurologist. Today it has finally taken form – we’re not there yet, but it’s starting to look like something that’s going to have a real impact not only on the way we work, but also the way we understand software’s relationship to the world around us. The growth of wearables, and the rise of applications connected to real-world objects (we love home automation), are the first step towards a world that is entirely connected. It’s important to remember this is going to have a huge impact on everyone working in tech – from the developers creating applications to the analysts charged with harnessing this second explosion of data.

  1. The Future of JavaScript

Many web developers we spoke to listed AngularJS as the most useful things they learned in 2015 – many more also said they planned on learning it in 2016. The impact of the eagerly-awaited Angular 2.0 remains to be seen, but it’s likely that the best way to prepare for the next generation of Angular is by getting to grips with Angular now! It would be unwise to see Angular’s dominance in isolation – it’s the growth of full-stack development that’s been crucial in 2015, and something that is going to shape the next 12 months in web development. Node.js featured as a key topic for many of our customers, highlighting that innovation in web development appears to be driven by tools that provide new ways of working with JavaScript. Although Node and Angular have a real hold when it comes to JavaScript, we should also pay attention to newer frameworks like React.js and Meteor. These are frameworks that are tackling the complexity and heft of today’s websites and applications through radical simplicity – if you’re a web developer, you cannot afford to ignore them.

Download our Year in Review and explore our key findings in more detail. Then start exploring the topics and tools that you need to learn by taking advantage of our huge $5 offer!

Co-editor of the Packt Hub. Interested in politics, tech culture, and how software and business are changing each other.


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