The Modern App

The modern app developer

Two interesting things came to my attention yesterday. The rise of coding schools (NYTimes piece) and the most popular languages used at hackathons.

As I had written before, coding schools are graduating close to 20K students in the US – almost 1/3rd of the # of graduates from all computer science programs. Most of these students are from fields outside of programming, computer science or engineering. Many studied political science, history or literature and were pizza delivery folks, baristas and even Uber drivers.

While many of their starting salaries are about $60K, even 6 figures are not unheard of salaries for “data scientists”.

Over the last 6 months, I have noticed that these students make up nearly 10% of startup development teams. Many are hoping to get 1-2 years of experience to either a) go independent or b) get a much better paying job (read $150K) at a hot startup with stock options.

The modern apps have 3 characteristics that is changing the way apps are developed.

1. First, since there is a rise of Dev Ops and No Ops, many more developers are developing apps purely on Javascript and some Swift, with Python, Java and C++ taking the back seat. With the simultaneous rise of Javascript libraries and frameworks, it wont be too long before we see more Javascript only developers who focus on building interfaces quickly with little backend code.

2. The rise of composers instead of coders. Many app developers focus a lot of effort on coding skills and writing monolithic applications that are self contained. The future of apps and hence app developers is microservices which use many 3rd party API’s. This will result in coders and developers becoming more composers who snag code snippets from other places and spend more time building an experience end-to-end and less time on systems programming.

3. Finally given the rise of consumer apps and their influence on enterprise apps, many app developers will start to incorporate images, video, and other media elements (voice) into their apps and have “voice enabled” assistants in their apps to replace the standard productivity and ERP / CRM apps that are developed for the enterprise. Many enterprise apps are expected to have a “longer” life cycle than games and consumer apps, which are constantly in fashion and out, but the shelf-life of enterprise apps will reduce thanks to consumerization of work-apps.

The Modern App
The Modern App

Increasingly the skill that is needed more than architecture and coding is identification of key API’s, rapid prototyping and experimentation and very few people who are going to help “scale and grow” the apps.

I wonder if you are seeing the same?

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2 thoughts on “The modern app developer”

  1. I think this sums up what I am seeing as a developer for over 10 yrs. I must admit I really enjoy the identifying key APIs and rapid prototyping as opposed to the old days. As a Objective C and Java programmer, I have totally fallen in love with Ruby on Rails. They can only take me back to Java kicking and screaming and I am guessing Java ranking higher than Ruby in the Hackathon list is because of Android.

  2. Very valid points. Java script is going to rule. MVC — MVVC — back end and front end divisions are getting blurred.

    The third point of voice enabled apps will help raise productivity, but replacing the ERPs seem farfetched. Am I Correct?

    Thanks for your wonderful insights.
    Ravi

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