By John Sonmez February 9, 2017

The Next BIG Opportunity In Software Development

So, a lot of people, especially developers, want to know the future. They get lost trying to find out the next big programming language to learn or some technology that will be the hot new trend in the software development world.

However, predicting things is not THAT easy and sometimes it also fails. You, as a developer, might want to know which path you should take. Predicting the future might be one of the most important things right now.

So… If you could only know what will be the next BIG opportunity in software development… What would you do?

In this video, I'll give you some tips in order to understand how you can be aware of what the next big opportunity will be and how you can work with that for your future.

Transcript From The Video

John Sonmez: 

Hey, what's up? John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com.I have a question about the next opportunity in software development. When will it appear? This question is from David and he says, “I just saw your video on “Will Developer Jobs Disappear.” You can check out he's talking about here, “In which you said that some people miss the opportunity on WordPress plugins and Apple apps. My question is how do we know if and when the next opportunity is?” Additional info: “I'm 59 and can't afford to waste time missing opportunities or going in the wrong direction.” Gosh, this is such a hard one to answer.

I'm actually reading a book right now. I haven't actually finished the book. I'll do a review when I'm done. It's called—let me think about this for a second, Inevitable. Inevitable. You can check out the book here. Okay?

Now, in this book, he actually addresses this question. It's kind of interesting because he talks about how like there was essentially the gold strike for when the web first came on and you had the dotcoms, right? He has a story where he says he went to—he talked to ABC and he said you need to get one of your nerd guys in the IT or whatever downstairs to go and register ABC.com because you want to get that. It was actually free to register domains at the time. He said he checked back a couple weeks later and ABC.com had not registered or ABC had not registered ABC.com. He was saying how so many developers are like, “Oh, I wish I could be back in that time when you can just put up a web app or put up a storefront and sell something online or back when YouTube first started. Man, you know how easy it would be to grow an audience or grow a channel then.” He says that now is the most—is the best time that people are going to look back today and say, “Oh, it would have been so great to be a web developer, to be a developer in 2016. There was so much opportunity there.”

I think his point really is that there is always that. We're always going to have that. We just don’t know where those things are, but there are some ways that we can find and some indications of where things are going to go. One thing I would say about this is that you have to look for things that are high barrier to entry. Well, before we get into that—well, yeah. Let's talk about how that applies backwards in time, right?

So everyone says, “Oh, I would love to be on the Internet and I would have loved to have been creating an application or being a developer in like 1980 or 1990, before everyone got all the domain names and made SaaS apps and sold stuff and I could have made so much money.” Yes, true. You're around maybe, some of you, but guess what, guess what the web was like in 1980 or let's say 1990 because in 1980 it was too infantile. Let's say 1990. There's definitely some opportunity there, right?

The web was like—you didn’t have tools. Like creating a web application, because I remember—heck, I was creating web applications way back when I was like 10 years old for like—I was doing it for fun or for the military. I had like a little internship job and I was hand coding HTML using hotdog or using Notepad. There weren't tools for doing this or for easily deploying this. We had CGI applications and we wrote Perl scripts to handle payments for PayPal, and stuff like that. It wasn't easy like it wasn’t like you can do now where you can buy a subscription to Shopify and you can sell whatever you want online and you have _____ [inaudible 00:04:04] and all this. Creating that application—there was high barriers to entry.

Same thing, let's say, YouTube, right? A lot of YouTubers today say, “Oh, shit. If I could have been a YouTuber like when YouTube first came out, I don’t even know when that was, but even like 10 years ago, it would have been so awesome. I should have done that or I could have been PewDiePie.”

The thing is the barrier to entry was so high, right? Like shooting video, now we all have in our pockets we've got 1080—we could shoot a 4K video. It's crazy and sound and everything and we can upload it, we've got the bandwidth to do that. But back then when YouTube first came out, we didn’t have—it was hard. It was really hard. There was a high barrier to entry.

Same thing with the App Store, when Apple first opened the App Store, it wasn’t easy to develop iOS apps. There weren’t tutorials. No one taught you how to do it. There weren’t frameworks and tools. You had to go through the cryptic Apple developer stuff. It was also a gamble. You didn’t even know if it's going to work. It wasn't popular, right? Same thing when Android first came out. All of these opportunities, they have one thing in common which is that there's as high barrier to entry, same thing with WordPress plugins, right? Also, it was an unknown, uncharted territory. No one knew whether it was going to be popular or not.

To answer your question, there's plenty of opportunities right now. I mean some people say VR is the space. I know a guy right now that is making a bunch of VR games and he's making a fortune making VR games because he is jumping on that space and it's hard to get into it right now. He's figured it out so he's overcome that. Not everyone can develop VR stuff. He's overcome that barrier of entry. He's also working on this unproven technology at this point. If it skyrockets, he's going to do really well. It could fail and he could have wasted some time. I wouldn't call it a waste of time.

If you're looking for that next big thing, look for the things that are high barrier to entry and that are not popular right now but have a chance and put a horse in this game. Put a horse in this race. Put a horse in this race. Put a horse in this race and see which one wins. That's the best bet that I can give you and be extremely prolific.

If I could predict the future, if I knew where that was, that's what I would be doing right now. Sometimes though, I will say that there is a benefit in this technology space to being not the first to market but being second to market. Microsoft has completely developed their strategy on not being first to market. What they do is they let the competitors make stuff. Then they figure out a way to improve it and make it much better and then they either buy it, buy out the competitors or they ship the version. That didn’t work out for them with the phones, granted, but it did work out with a lot of things that they've done, a lot of technologies that they've developed. We'll see what actually happens with the phones with Microsoft because they're not done yet. There's still some opportunity there. I think we'll see some surprising things.

My point is this. If you're looking right now to find out what the next big thing is, pick something that has a high barrier to entry that has a good chance of taking off and start being prolific on it. That's one option or the second option is to pick something that's already somewhat successful or popular, right? For example, I still did well blogging and as a YouTuber, even though I came into the game late, technically late, because I was extremely prolific on the platform and I dedicated the time. If I had been early, it would have taken less effort to make as much traction. I was able to bet on a sure thing by making up for it, by doing hard work and being more prolific.

You kind of got one of those two tracks. You can be on the cutting bleeding edge and do the high barrier to entry thing or you can kind of follow the thing that you know is already working that you kind of already missed the gold rush on it, but there's still profits to be mined there. The people that got into bitcoin—I mean we can—I could throw examples all-day long. The people who first were mining bitcoin, they can make a fortune, but the people who came along later and created the—bought the GPU setups and started their mining operations just a little bit later, they also did really, really well. Now, if you try to come into it now, it's almost too late. Even there, there's still probably some opportunity. You just got to figure out what the angle is and how things are going to change.

I definitely recommend checkout that book like I said. It's called Inevitable. That will give you some ideas, but it's hard. If you can predict it, if you can predict where the gold rush is, then that's amazing. I guarantee, wherever the next gold rush is it's a place where there's extremely high barrier to entry. That's the only hint I could give you at that. If I knew where it was, I would be working on that right now. I don’t think it's Snapchat. I'll give you that.

All right, I'll talk to you next time. Oh, before I forget, click that Subscribe button because you don’t want to miss in case I do figure it out, I'll be revealing ito n this channel. You better subscribe so I could tell you where that next gold rush is. All right, I'll talk to you next time. Take care.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."