Software development can no longer stand still if it wants to compete in a modern, digital world. Organizations have to be constantly adopting new approaches and developing new technology to keep their customers happy.

Over the past couple of years, the software development industry has gone through tremendous changes with agile, DevOps, microservices, and low code approaches. Next year, the journey to modern software development is only going to continue as new innovations are made, according to Forrester’s predictions for 2018. “The truism has become true: Every company is in the software business. As software becomes the central differentiating factor in customer engagement, an effective, well-aligned software factory is an increasingly crucial business imperative,” the organization wrote in a report.

According to Forrester, the software industry should be prepared for the following changes in 2018:

  • Devtest bots will be used to automate delivery: While automation is not a new concept, Forrester believes machine learning and artificial intelligence will continue to replace manual and repetitive tasks through bots. Using natural language processing, these new bots will be able to identify incomplete, repetitive or inconsistent requirements and test cases, according to Forrester.
  • DevOps tools will proliferate and consolidate: In 2018, DevOps teams will look to use a single vendor for their CI/CD solutions rather than using a custom built development toolchain approach. The vendor should provide end-to-end integration, and reduce the burden of maintaining a collection of disparate tools.
  • Agile will continue to scale: Agile will slowly, but steadily continue to scale. According to Forrester, enterprise agile adoption grew to 59 percent in 2017, compared to its 23% in 2015. “ Expect to see those numbers tick up again next year as a solid majority of dev shops implement Agile,” the organization wrote.
  • DevOps will drive the use of APIs and microservices: The need for digital transformation will force businesses to invest in APIs and microservices as well as build their development lifecycle around automation.
  • New software jobs will emerge: Project managers, manual testers, database administrators and basic developers will transform into product manager, Scrum master, test engineer, data scientist, low-code developer and business expert roles.
  • Serverless programming patterns will take over: Serverless architectures will take over containers and virtual machines in order for developers to separate business logic from instructure code, and build more modern applications.
  • Low-code features will continue to advance: New low-code features will emerge to address “special requirements of digital process automation, dynamic case management, content management, eCommerce, business intelligence, and analytics,” according to Forrester.
  • There will be an increased interest in AR development: New software development kits like Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore are removing the barriers to augmented reality development. Next year, Foresters expect an increase in AR development with games leading the way.
  • Conversational computing will be more common: As voice recognition, natural language processing, natural language classification and natural language generation continue to advance, conversational computing will become more popular next year. “Until now, virtual agents that defer human cost have been the killer use case. In 2018, we will see business sponsors, designers, and application developers work together to develop use cases in which voice or chat input create new opportunities for interaction,” according to the organization’s predictions.

“For AD&D leaders, 2018 will be a year of parallel initiatives. First, they will continue on their journey toward modern software development practices and architectures — Agile, DevOps, microservices, and automation — that underpin continuous delivery. At the same time, they will take on new opportunities that new technologies and platforms — especially AI and low-code — will present,” Forrester wrote.