Digital disruption is building a voracious appetite for developers — and every area of home and business life is adapting to disruption. Platform-based business models, from travel and hospitality to recruitment and P2P funding, dominate the economy.
Firms like Airbnb and Uber have no physical inventory of their own, but their platforms have revolutionized their industries and are effectively infinite in scope and limited only by imagination.
Of course, the key to success for all these firms is the creativity and passion of their development teams in delivering the best UX and staying ahead of the competition, as well as collaborating with the business to create more and more value by expanding products and services that can be rolled into a brand’s offer.
So, with disruptors springing up across all industries, which skills are most in demand and where will the biggest opportunities be for developers who want a piece of the ongoing digital revolution?
Perhaps the most important new skill set for developers to acquire in the new era of digital disruption is user experience (UX) design. This is a combination of development and design, where incidents that occur during a user journey can change customer behavior.
Agile and Lean
Second on the list is the ability to operate in an Agile and Lean environment. Developers need to be entrepreneurial in their thinking, and therefore willing to take risks in the pursuit of success. This means working fast and being open to trying new things but also accepting that it’s okay to fail. It includes collaborating with the business to spot additional opportunities and working out how to build a new service from another service, possibly using data analytics to identify patterns of behavior in the context of multiple data sources.
A new breed of developer is beginning to emerge in line with huge platforms such as Amazon, WeChat and Google, whose main aim in life is to provide everything that users need so they never have to leave the platform. There’s a requirement for developers who can work on back-end infrastructure to ensure services are fully integrated and secure within short timeframes. Their skills are applied to building systems that move customers from one area to another without friction.
Environments such as iOS and Android are enabling millions of developers to create new apps in days, pulling data from multiple sources and leveraging the stability of core platforms and existing code to address niche areas of value for customers. Marketplaces including the Apple and Google Stores mean that there is a ready-made marketing and distribution channel for new apps, as well as quality control.
Our increasingly entrepreneurial economy is encouraging more and more people to grow small pools of profit, operating on their own or in small teams. This may begin at university, where students can earn as they learn by building apps. There is a very low barrier to entry for those who want to get involved, as app development has become truly democratized. Even those who feel more comfortable working for a big organization can try out their ideas for new apps in their spare time. It’s not just possible to learn development skills for free online, but it’s positively encouraged in the spirit of keeping up with new technologies and their capabilities.
Digital disruption is opening up new channels for developer skills across a whole gamut of disciplines, from writing micro apps at one end of the spectrum to building elegant user interfaces, customer journeys and back-end infrastructure at the other.
Organizations in the financial services sector understand that the old days of hierarchical and inflexible system development of whatever kind are over, and that they cannot afford to fall behind emerging technology trends. The role of developers in this new environment is to bring a new mindset of entrepreneurial and collaborative thinking to the fore, and to play an active part in delivering value for customers and employers alike.