9 skills developers will need in the next five years

9 skills developers will need in the next five years

July 12, 2009

The economy is changing rapidly, and developers need to keep up with the latest trends and skills to stay relevant and competitive. Here is a list of 9 skills that every developer should master or at least be familiar with in the next five years. This list is not comprehensive, and it does not cover every niche or specialty in the industry. However, for most mainstream development scenarios, these skills will give you an edge over others and help you create better solutions. You should aim to learn at least seven of these skills well enough to use them confidently on the job and to demonstrate them in an interview.

One of the “Big Three” (.NET, Java, PHP) #

These three development systems are the most widely used and supported in the industry. They are not going away anytime soon, so you need to know at least one of them. And knowing the core languages (VB.NET, C#, Java, or PHP) is not enough. You also need to know the frameworks and libraries that come with them and that extend their functionality.

Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) #

RIAs are web applications that offer a rich and interactive user experience, similar to desktop applications. They are becoming more popular and powerful, thanks to technologies like Flash, Flex, AIR, JavaFx, Silverlight, and HTML 5. These technologies enable you to create dynamic and engaging web applications that can run on various platforms and devices. Learning how to develop RIAs will make you stand out from the crowd and increase your value as a web developer.

Web development #

Web development is still a core skill for any developer. You can’t rely on your framework or tool to do everything for you. You need to know how to work with the underlying technologies at a low level. This means mastering JavaScript, CSS, and HTML, as well as understanding web standards, accessibility, usability, and security. Web development is constantly evolving, so you need to keep up with the latest trends and best practices.

Web services #

Web services are a way of communicating and exchanging data between different applications or systems over the web. They are ubiquitous and essential for modern development. You need to know how to consume and create web services using different protocols (REST or SOAP) and formats (JSON or XML). You also need to know how to handle issues like authentication, authorization, encryption, caching, and error handling.

Soft skills #

Soft skills are the non-technical skills that enable you to work effectively with others and achieve your goals. They include communication, collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and leadership. As IT becomes more visible and integrated with other business functions, developers need to have strong soft skills to interact with different stakeholders and contribute to the success of projects. Developers who lack soft skills will find it hard to advance their careers or even keep their jobs.

One dynamic and/or functional programming language #

Dynamic and functional programming languages are languages that offer different paradigms and features than the traditional imperative or object-oriented languages. Examples include Ruby, Python, F#, and Groovy. These languages can help you write more concise, expressive, and elegant code. They can also teach you new ways of thinking about problems and solutions. Many top developers recommend learning at least one dynamic or functional programming language to broaden your horizons and improve your skills.

Domain knowledge #

Domain knowledge is the knowledge of the specific problem domain or industry that you are working in or for. It helps you understand the requirements, expectations, and challenges of your customers and users. It also helps you propose solutions that add value and make sense in the context of the domain. Developers who have domain knowledge can communicate better with their clients and stakeholders, and deliver more relevant and effective solutions.

Development “hygiene” #

Development hygiene is the practice of using tools and techniques that help you organize, manage, test, debug, document, and deploy your code in a consistent and reliable way. It includes using version control systems, bug tracking systems, testing frameworks, code analysis tools, code formatting tools, documentation tools, deployment tools, etc. Development hygiene helps you improve the quality of your code, reduce errors and bugs, collaborate with other developers more smoothly, and deliver your solutions faster.

Mobile development #

Mobile development is the development of applications that run on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. It is one of the fastest-growing and most exciting areas of development today. There are different approaches to mobile development: web applications that are optimized for mobile browsers; RIAs that run on mobile platforms; or native applications that run directly on the devices. Regardless of which approach you choose, you need to learn how to design and develop applications that are user-friendly, responsive, secure, and compatible with different devices and operating systems.