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2016 was a big year for software development. Not only was there a continued trend of web-based applications rather than native applications, but software developers also found the expectations of their users changing. Software development is shifting to the platforms that users use the most: smartphones and other mobile devices. At the same time, there’s an increasing emphasis on smart, daily use apps and corporate, business applications.

Data Science Will Continue to Grow and Mature

Data science is going to be a staple for the software industry for some time. From 2014 through 2016, many companies struggled with how to best utilize the data that they were collecting. Following the big data explosion, organizations discovered that they could track many metrics at once. Unfortunately, they weren’t always able to glean useful and valuable data from these metrics. 2017 is going to see advancement and sophistication in this area, as data scientists explore ways to get the most use out of the data that has been collected. At the same time, many companies are still going to be inundated under the weight of their data, and may need to find ways to trim down the information that they truly need to collect.

Open Source Is Going to Become More Powerful

Open source software has always been considered a sort of digital vanguard; an innovative, creative way to develop new technology quickly. As recently as last year, companies such as Microsoft have begun embracing the open source philosophy, even though it may initially appear to be counterproductive to commercial goals. Open source software is likely to become a de facto standard throughout many industries, leading to an emphasis not on the software itself but in expertise and continued support. Today, programmers can get started by learning about the open source community and building out their contributions.

User Experience Is the Ultimate Goal

A solid user experience is the ultimate goal for most software development trends today. Software is becoming smarter, more versatile, and generally easier to use. Software developers are going to see an increasing emphasis on apps that are simple and usable for the end user, even though they may be growing in complexity in the back-end. Business users are also going to be increasingly embracing technology, ranging from the largest corporations to small business owners. In fact, the small business owner sector may become one of the most important, as they are now beginning to see the competitive advantages of embracing technology.

Better Interactivity through AI and Natural Language Processing 

The real hero of 2016 was artificial intelligence and machine learning, a field that is advancing and improving in both the area of security and user experience. AI and natural language processing are making it easier for end users to interface with even complex software systems; soon, they will be accurate enough to perform most personal assistant functions. The industry may not now be far off from a time when all software products can have natural language, artificially intelligent interfaces.

In general, the software field is moving towards making software applications easier and simpler to use for end users. It is achieving this through a combination of data science, artificial intelligence, and innovative open source products. Naturally, this also means that there’s a lot of growth open for those within the software industry. Whether you’re a programmer or a QA analyst, it’s likely that there are now openings available to you. Consider looking at the job listings available at Software Specialists to find a new challenge today.