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Why software pros must keep up



It is no secret that the IT industry is evolving all the time. MARK BEETS believes that engineers need the correct tools to stay abreast with the latest tech advances in order to make the best decisions when implementing new technology.

The software industry is renowned for moving at breakneck speed – a three-week holiday can see you returning to work and being neck-deep in new terminology, technology and techniques. It has become critical as a software engineer to stay abreast of technological advances, specifically the tools, processes and platforms to which you may be exposed. This will enable you to identify the best tool or framework for a job and it will also help you justify your decisions.

From an employer’s perspective, to make yourself an attractive hire, it is important to have an up-to-date knowledge of trending technologies. The ability to show that you are proactive in your research and awareness, that even though you may not have two years’ experience in a language or toolset but can identify what it is, where it came from, why it exists and how to apply it, shows you have an interest in the subject and a positive attitude.

TechRepublic identified general trends in 2014, specifically in the fields of security, big data and cloud-based services. At Entelect, we have seen similar trends with software development projects specific to South Africa. The predominant focus in software projects and related services is now moving past the 2013 rapid adoption of cloud-based development towards the necessary maturity in the implementation of these services. The fast-approaching adolescence stage in the usage of cloud-based services finds companies further developing aspects of security and considerations on specific IT-governance and the impact of specific legislation, such as the PoPI (Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013). The industry is currently also addressing teething problems surrounding big data management, refactoring for better data flow and further facilitating intelligent reporting of big data. Many of the initial implementations overlooked these concepts and are now reacting by redeveloping or refactoring implementations caused by the rush to get onto the cloud. Entelect continues to notice the same interest in outward-facing concepts such as UX (User eXperience), responsive design and the notable back-end trending of technologies, such as NoSQL data stores, and the implementations of Hadoop, Mongo and Raven. Additional key considerations that individuals and companies should consider include HTML5, CSS3 and other frameworks related to mobile platform development. Mobile technologies and apps remain a strong trend in 2014, these can now be seen as an expectation (or subset) of any project delivery. It is important for software engineers to keep the latest trends in mind, especially in an interview situation, when you are asked what technology interests you. If you are not active in the job market, knowledge of these emerging trends and technologies can only add value to your current position.

* Mark Beets, GM: Business Development at Entelect Software

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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