By Larry Reed June 1, 2018

Why Programmers Should Never Stop Learning

One of the reasons why IT is still one of the most profitable industries in the world is that it’s constantly changing and evolving. New trends appear every day, along with new technologies and marketing strategies. Anyone who wants to be in this business needs to constantly keep track of everything and be ready to learn on the fly.

Of course, you might think to yourself, “But I’m a programmer. Why do I need to learn anything beyond my job?” Well, the answer is simple. Nowadays, you have to be as versatile as possible if you want to move ahead in your career. Even if you don’t want to advance, you still need to constantly learn new skills and improve yourself so that you won’t become outdated and get left behind.

You may be wondering, what are some of the new industries, trends, and technologies you should keep an eye out for, and how can you keep track of them? We’ve found some of the most relevant ones and listed them below, so take a look.

Web Development

If your main field of work is web development, there are three new trends you should focus on in 2018 if you want to stay on top.

Vue.js

You’re probably somewhat familiar with Vue.js if you know your way around JavaScript. This framework was released back in 2014 and has now become incredibly popular, mainly because it’s fast, light, and reliable. The great thing about this framework is the fact that it was created by one man, Evan You, and therefore feels like an indie project, which people always appreciate.

Now, according to Packt Hub, there are numerous benefits to using Vue.js:.

  • Unlike some other frameworks, Vue.js is fairly easy to learn and possesses an extensive documentation that covers all the bases. By learning about this lightweight framework, you will be able to create apps faster and with more ease than by using Angular and React.
  • Vue.js is quite flexible, so you can use any library you want, including the officially supported Vuex and vue-router. If you don’t like these, you’re free to opt for Redux or even JSX.
  • This is one of the smallest and fastest frameworks that requires almost no optimization to exceed any expectations from the programmers.
  • Most important of all, Vue.js has a dedicated and loyal community that constantly works together to help the framework evolve.

We’ve mentioned only a couple of benefits to give you an idea of how effective Vue.js can work for web developers, but there are many more out there for you to research and learn to stay knowledgeable of this technology.

Functional Programming

When it comes to functional programming, most people are divided—they either love it or hate it. Advocates claim that it is a cleaner and more efficient way of programming than typical object-oriented code.

In case you’re not too familiar with the difference between imperative and functional programming, you can read about it on Mikolaj Szabo’s blog on HackerNoon. He colorfully describes imperative programming as an assembly line filled with small machines where every machine has an exact role in order to make the final product. All of these operations are contextual, meaning they’re dependant on one another: If an operation malfunctions, the product suffers.

Functional programming, on the other hand, creates a number of machines that work independently and don’t rely on each other. This makes room for code brevity, which is one of the biggest benefits of functional programming.

In previous years, functional programming hasn’t been that popular, but it is on the rise. UserSnap states this increase in popularity is coming mainly because of JavaScript improvements, namely three recently added functions:

  • Arrow functions
  • Object/array spread
  • Async/await

Whether you will use functional programming or not is up to you, but it’s wise to note that it’s on the rise in 2018.

Browser Extensions

Pretty much all of the major web browsers have the option of installing extensions (although Mozilla calls them add-ons). They are incredibly useful pieces of code that allow various modifications to users’ browsing experience. For example, one of the more popular extensions is AdBlock, which, well, blocks ads as you browse.

What is interesting, however, is that these extensions are constantly improving compatibility, meaning extensions created for Google Chrome might be used on Mozilla Firefox as well. Mozilla is actually ahead of Google Chrome, using the cross-browser WebExtensions API, so you can simply transport the code to other browsers. Chances are that this compatibility will only improve in 2018.

Software Development

In case you’re a software developer, here are just a couple of things you should watch out for in 2018.

Blockchain

It’s really no surprise that blockchain is still one of the most popular technologies in the world. It is a list of records called “blocks” that are interlinked and encrypted. Since the blockchain data cannot be changed and each block is encrypted, it is extremely suitable for cryptocurrencies.

The cryptocurrency craze was at a record high in 2017. Everyone you knew was trading with virtual currencies they knew nothing about in order to try to make some easy money. The craze is over now, but the world will never be the same again. Blockchain developers are still in high demand from companies all over the world.

programming skills

Source: https://blockgeeks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/infographics0517-01-1.png

Internet of Things

According to Statista, a website that specializes in statistics, the Internet of Things will have around 30 billion connected devices by 2020. This is a huge number, and companies worldwide are constantly looking for ways to improve, optimize, and speed up communication between these devices.

Cloud computing can only go so far before it becomes overwhelmed with the amount of data. That’s why IoT will use Edge Computing and is in constant search for new developers. There is no doubt that both Edge and Fog Computing are the future of software development, so you should dig into that while it’s still new and unexplored.

Cybersecurity

Of course, with the increased number of devices and programs, there is also a greater risk to web security. Cybersecurity startups are multiplying, and it appears there will be a lot more of them by the end of the year. Throughout 2018, you can follow eSecurity’s list of 20 promising cybersecurity companies and learn new ways to deal with threats.

In fact, what are some of the threats we might expect this year when it comes to the web? Well, the aforementioned Internet of Things is certainly a major point of concern as it gradually becomes bigger every year.

A major concern for most experts out there is that more and more cyber attacks are happening with the help of AI, a dangerous trend that many security companies will be forced to combat. Programmers should consider learning as much as they can and getting involved because IoT is a major industry that needs more capable professionals.

Mobile Apps

For those of you who are in the mobile app industry, we’ve listed a couple of fields you could study in order to improve your programming skills and get ready for the future.

Augmented Reality

We all remember that relatively short-lived Pokémon game that used augmented reality and made people run around with mobile phones in their hands. While Pokémon Go is an AR video game, there are a number of other, useful ways to re-introduce this technology.

For example, Amicasa is an AR app that lets you design your room before you even purchase a piece of furniture. SketchAR uses AR tracking to assist you while you are drawing and sketching. In fact, Digital Trends compiled a list of some truly brilliant apps you should make note of that use AR.

Of course, this is just a start. We are only scratching the surface with this technology, and who knows what it will look like in just a couple of years?

Some of the best app design agencies in the world are looking into the potential of these apps and you should, too. Although the VR technology is slightly more popular, AR is a lot more useful when combined with mobile phones.

Mobile Payments

We live in an age where even credit cards will become obsolete in a couple of years. The latest trend that will get rid of them has to do with mobile payments.

During the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2018, Google announced a new service that united all of their payment apps under one name—Google Pay. Considering how Apple also has a similar service and Amazon Go stores utilize their no-checkout apps, it’s safe to say mobile phone payments are the future, and a lot of smaller companies will follow in their footsteps.

Payment Vision offers us a list of reasons why they think mobile payments will become much more popular in 2018. This is all thanks to near-field communication technology, biometrics, AI-controlled interactions, and much more. These are all technologies worth looking into.

Be Ready for the Future

All of these are just some innovations that await you, and as a programmer, you need to be ready to grasp most of these concepts.

We live in a fast-paced world, so being at least acquainted with the problems and the latest trends and technologies to solve them will make both your job and life easier.

Your role as a programmer requires constant personal development (some might say that is true for every line of work), so be ready to keep up with the changes, or even better, stay one step ahead.

About the author

Larry Reed

Larry is a tech writer with several years of experience in creating content for the web, usually on topics centered around web design and development. To stay updated with Larry's latest posts you can follow him on Twitter, or connect via LinkedIn.