2021 DevOps Predictions - Part 2
December 10, 2020

Industry experts — from analysts and consultants to users and the top vendors — offer thoughtful, insightful, and often controversial predictions on how DevOps and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2021. Part 2 covers the evolving role of the developer and DevOps teams.

Start with: 2021 DevOps Predictions - Part 1

REMOTE WORK CONTINUES

Developers will continue working remotely beyond the pandemic. I expect we'll continue to see tech companies allow employees to work remotely, even beyond the pandemic. I believe we're at the beginning of a new generation where the vast majority of developers will work from home.
Tido Carriero
Chief Product Development Officer, Segment

We've seen small exoduses from big cities thanks to remote work; this trend will only intensify. As location becomes less synonymous with well-paying careers, people no longer feel obligated to pay high rents and live far away from family. They now have the chance to make home where they truly want, and this will become the new normal. With this, I predict that next year we'll see more career opportunities for those who do not have the ability or desire to pick up and move for a job. Especially in the DevOps space, it's simple for developers to do their jobs remotely and even productively.
Darren Murph
Head of Remote, GitLab

DEMAND FOR DEVOPS PROS

The DevOps industry is expected to be a 10 billion dollar industry by 2023. We are seeing an increasing trend in every industry and market of companies investing in DevOps. The demand for DevOps is driven by lower costs, flexibility and faster delivery. This increased demand will in turn increase the demand for more DevOps professionals.
Erin Lovern
Director of Talent Acquisition, CloudBees

NO MORE NEED FOR DEVOPS ENGINEERS

Infrastructure maintenance and operations have been a long time heavy burden on company IT departments, who would rather their teams focus on actual development, and release themselves from 24/7 support or even the training effort and costs of DevOps specialists. In 2021, it wouldn't be surprising to see most, if not all solution providers, incorporating self-managed and friendlier deployment and infrastructure user interfaces for businesses that ultimately facilitate infrastructure management and likely entail no longer requiring DevOps engineers.
Sergio Granada
CTO, Talos Commerce

THE END OF SOFTWARE ENGINEERING

Are we witnessing the end of software engineering as we know it? The first three decades of mass computing saw the rise of the hardware engineer, who were slowly replaced by software engineers as standardized hardware took hold. Software became the easier and more flexible approach to create complex interactions. We're now starting to see a similar shift for software engineering. In cutting edge organizations, bespoke application development and dedicated software engineers are starting to be replaced by generalist engineers or "citizen developers". This new breed no longer needs to understand specific programming languages — rather they follow and understand business centric "data flows." Applications of the future will be built from discrete services (think off-the-shelf microservices) connected using process flows, orchestrations, and standardized APIs.
Julian Fish
Director of Product Management, Micro Focus

The day in the life of your average software engineer is going to look way different. The way we build software has changed. It is now a mature industry with a supply chain of prefab "building blocks" that extend from back-end infrastructure to front end user-experience components that allow developers of all skill levels to quickly compose solutions without having to build everything from scratch. The rapid rate of adoption of these platforms will increase the velocity of software development and in turn shift the role of the software engineer into an increasing creative and user-centric space. The daily job will be much less about wrangling the raw code and more about optimizing for better customer outcomes.
Gleb Polyakov
CEO and Co-Founder, Nylas

DEVELOPERS GAIN POWER

Developers will have a bigger seat at the table. Rapid technology advancements, sweeping changes in business priorities, and a seemingly insatiable demand for software have collided — meaning developer roles will evolve and will have a larger seat at the table. In 2021, software will be seen as critical to business success and we will see developers become embedded in business teams rather than technology teams.
Brendan O'Leary
Senior Developer Evangelist, GitLab

2020 is an inflection point for software developers. They are the ones building solutions to the never-before-seen challenges of this year, and they are the ones who have the power to determine what the post-pandemic world looks like. With organizations of all sizes accelerating their product roadmaps for our new full-time digital world, developers will play a critical role in what comes next: building sustainable and adaptable businesses.
Apurva Joshi
VP of Product, DigitalOcean

DEVOPS TEAMS GUIDE DATA STRATEGY

Developers will have more say in technology direction and data strategy of companies. We will see an aggressive "shift to the left" across all industries, where CIO's will depend more on their development teams to guide the technical direction of the company. Historically, development teams have taken a top-down approach to move their data to the cloud, but — as have many things in the world — this changed with the pandemic with the reinforcement of cloud-based environments. In 2021, we'll see DevOps teams continuing to have far more say in the data strategy process, and as a result we'll see a greater increase in the mobility of workloads, correlating with an increase in cloud data management techniques.
Danny Allan
CTO, Veeam

BUILDER CULTURE

Builder culture will continue to drive innovation: Builder culture has evolved from the DIY/Open Source ethics of a decade ago to one that has vendors recognizing the importance of putting control and creativity in the hands of the developers they serve. As forward-leaning organizations embrace their roles as creators of digital experiences for their end users, the ability for developers to independently innovate becomes tantamount to their competitive differentiation and — ultimately — their success. Platform vendors who recognize this shift will assist in ushering in the next era of developer-led innovation by empowering development teams to create freely and by delivering the tools and visibility that developers need to create, test, and understand the impact of new digital experiences.
Lelah Manz
SVP and GM of Web Performant, Akamai

NEED FOR DEV GENERALISTS

In the coming year, improved and powerful infrastructure will become table stakes, and utilizing this infrastructure correctly to improve business value will require an understanding of the full development lifecycle. This in turn will make full-cycle ownership a desired trait for developers, propelling generalists as the new kings in the world of software.
Ilan Peleg
CEO, Lightrun

DEVELOPERS SWITCH FOCUS TO "WHAT" RATHER THAN "HOW"

Developer mentality will undergo a dramatic shift, from how it's built, to what is built: Traditionally, developers have been heavily invested in how software is built — with near religious devotion to their preferred procedural language and "stack." This unreasonable fervor will diminish as the number of problems that can only be solved with software dramatically increases and more development projects require business and IT to work together more closely than ever before. Developers are shifting their mindset to focus on delivering mission-critical solutions — regardless of how they're made. Developers will open up to new approaches, such as embracing AI-powered automation that leads to less friction, errors and technical debt. Developers will ditch the dogma and embrace alternatives as they realize the outcome is the only thing that's important.
Robson Grieve
CMO, OutSystems

DEVOP TEAMS RETHINK PRIORITIES

I expect that 2021 will see DevOps teams revisiting and revising their project priorities as a result of 2020 disruptions. For example, changes to consumer behavior might signal that it's a good time to evaluate a disaster recovery project that had been put off, rather than investing in building out a new feature. Really, 2020 has provided companies with a huge opportunity in 2021 to refocus DevOps resources and consolidate their IT on the cloud. If ever there was a time and a reason to invest in consolidation, optimization, and innovation, this is it.
Jaret Chiles
VP Consulting Services, Mission

Go to: 2021 DevOps Predictions - Part 3, covering DevOps tools and automation.

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