Due to the emergence of new methods in rapid application development (rad), the application development area is in full swing. What does this development mean for developers? And what are the competencies that the ‘developer of the future’ must have?
Develop a working application? In 2022, it is no longer a matter of months, but of weeks or even days. Advanced low-code platforms make it possible to develop applications up to eight to ten times faster than before.
So the four skills that the ‘developer of the future’ should have?
- Critical look at new technology
Developments in low-code are going fast; platforms become easier to use and easy to link to other systems and services.
Here lies a task for the developer of the future; to act as a ‘technology radar’ for the rest of the organization and take a critical look at market developments. To what extent do new technologies add value to customers? And if so, what does it add?
The developer of the future will not be guided by the problems or wishful thinking of the time, but will dive into new technological possibilities and work actively with them – for example via a trial subscription. In this way, a developer knows which tools are suitable.
Traditionally, software development followed fixed lines: first a functional and technical design was made, only then did the actual construction begin. The advent of smart low-code platforms reduces development time because technical design is limited to integration. This makes it possible to build iteratively, without having to rebuild the technology.
The relationship between analysis and construction phase is expected to creep towards fifty-fifty. This requires the developer to get to the core quickly. To be able to understand the customer’s challenges and wishes, listen, be able and dare to ask critical questions. It also means that the developer dares to tell the customer if something is not a good idea.
Seen in this way, the developer of the future turns out to be a ‘challenging consultant’ who challenges the customer to think carefully. What will he or she achieve with a particular application? Such a method is ideal for a row method, where concrete results are quickly obtained and adjustments based on new insights are performed quickly and cheaply.
In line with the previous skill lies the ability to involve customers in the development process. Where are you now? What is the next milestone? And what will happen when the application is complete, will the customer be in charge of the management, or will he outsource it? The modern developer hits strikeouts, looks ahead and guides the customer during the process of making choices.
To be fair, the traditional specialist developer is not known for his communication skills. It involves a risk; the solution provided may be technically perfect, but it may no longer match the customer’s original questions.
In customer contact, we see a shift from technically specialized developers to customer-oriented developers. This also extends the possibility of allowing more lateral participants to switch to it. Think of the physiotherapist or GP who chooses a role as a consultant in a company that develops software for healthcare. Or to the lawyer employed by a legal software provider. Forces that speak the customer’s language and understand the culture. A pure IT background becomes less important in such an interdisciplinary team.
- Thinking in standards and adaptation
Finance and control, purchasing, HR, marketing & sales: There are more and more standardized processes in companies and organizations. These processes are often not unique, so a standard software solution with appropriate configuration options will suffice. The custom application developer is increasingly focusing on non-standard processes; the customization that helps the customer stand out from the competition or optimizes its own business operations.
“It also means that the developer dares to tell the customer if something is not a good idea”
It requires a keen eye from the developer; it must be able to distinguish well between a standard application and reusable building blocks and templates on the one hand and real adaptation on the other. And if certain issues recur, the developer should recognize this as a generic process that requires the development of a standard template.
Seen in this way, the developer of the future is ‘lazy’ in the good sense of the word: he or she thinks in terms of standards and is thus able to quickly and efficiently translate customer demand into a working application. Because building the same thing twice is once too much.
What competencies do you think the developer of the future should have? Tell us below.
(Thanks to Willem-Jan Kooijmans, Sales Manager for Rapid Application Development at Ilionx.)