Web Development & Trends
Web development is an expansive, nearly infinite field. It encompasses so many things, we could talk all day about the vast scope of this field—trying to lay better distinctions between respective focus. Some of the trends we're seeing have a lot to do with empowering systems and programmers to tackle more complex jobs with relative ease.
As teams work to build and ship more code than ever before, developers will need better tools to manage their localized development stacks, and provision servers for staging and production. Services like Packer and Docker allow engineers to spin up servers and provision them on the fly. This is a monumental time saver, and we will continue to see the rise of solutions catered to this.
I think we'll also continue to see dominance of BaaS like Parse and Firebase, as teams move away from creating fully enclosed, totally self managed applications, moving the associated overhead to third parties, allowing them to focus on building powerful applications.
Lastly, on the design side, we’ll see hiring shifts towards those with a more advanced understanding of the underlying technologies they’re designing for, not only to allow for better rapid prototyping of applications, but to foster better collaboration between design and engineering teams. This so called "full-stack designer," will have some coding experience beyond static html, to better describe interactions within their designs. We see a continued rise in material design, leveraging more system UI patterns, as well as more experimental forms of UI like conversational or reactive.
The big lessons learned from the growing sophistication of the field, are that investments in new and forward thinking technologies will pay dividends
The big lessons learned from the growing sophistication of the field, are that investments in new and forward thinking technologies will pay dividends; both in allowing for more rapid product development, but ultimately better experiences for the end user. Those companies that choose not to invest now, may miss the inflection point entirely, and fall behind their competition at a rapid clip, making catching up orders of magnitude harder. Partnering with a firm with cross-functional skills, can accelerate product development and introduce better ways to approach problem solving—even if it's to jumpstart initiatives while managers begin recruiting for improved in-house teams.
With the number of disruptions and transformations taking place all the time, budding technologists should get to work solving a problem they're passionate about. Whether they're happy in their current role, or looking for a new one, confident experimentation is the key to proving an idea because a prototype is worth a thousand meetings. Companies should nurture and support exploration by providing teams with carved time to dig in. The impact may not be instantaneous, but if companies looking for their next success should invest wisely.
As access to distributed processing power rises, costs drop for hardware and services, and wider attention is drawn to this field, I think we'll see improved and more practical uses of machine learning, and connected devices or IoT. Many VCs and fintech companies are investing in exploring Block Chain, and I think we'll see expanded use of this outside of the financial industry. Building amorphous applications that effectively use this power will be key.
My advice for executives who share the same enthusiasm for these trends is simple. Get connected with your teams. And drive new initiatives by sharing your enthusiasm in collaborative ways. Hosting workshops or hack nights with your design and engineering teams so that you can support the exploration of these new trends and challenges together. And carve out time and budget during daylight hours to share findings with the rest of your company.
Staying current on trends is just part of it, I'd encourage anyone reading to roll up their sleeves, and if they aren't coding already, to get immersed. If you can carve out budget for projects that give you freedom to explore without needing to drive revenue, the byproducts you discover along the way just might.
We typically consult with large companies as a sort of special ops team. We take a team-based approach to product development, and collaborate closely with our clients to conceive, make and improve products. We stay lean, and remove obfuscation by diving in quickly and completing iterative sprints. In 8 years of managing teams and consulting clients, the greatest successes happen when there's a combination of a shared vision and some freedom to decide the path. There's obvious risk in attempting to remove the redundancies that are designed to protect, but good faith allowing teams to explore their approach can go a long way.