Top 3 Trends Every IT Professional Should Care About

IBM DeveloperWorks recently published the result of a survey of 2000 IT professionals excluding IBM employees. The key findings are:

  1. Cloud Computing to overtake on-premise computing. For the question, “how do you rate the potential for cloud computing to overtake on-premise computing as the primary way organizations acquire IT by 2015?” 30.4% said likely, 21.6% most likely, and 13.6% definitely.
  2. Mobile application development to dominate. 55% of respondents see app development on mobile grows than other platforms in 5 years.
  3. IT professionals need, but often lack, industry-specific knowledge. 28.3% thought moderately important, 45.6% very important, and 15.9% extremely important. This is not an IT trend per se, but represents the demands for IT professionals.

The first two findings are mentioned and somewhat confirmed by another survey by Forrest and Dr. Dobbs, which is more developer oriented:

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This year, 8% of developers are creating cloud-based apps, up from about 4% last year. The primary cloud service deployment target is somewhat a surprise: Microsoft’s Azure platform as a service is used by 32% of developers who create cloud-based apps. Amazon EC2’s infrastructure as a service, which has been available much longer, has been adopted by 24%. Google AppEngine, another platform, has 15%.

Mobile development hasn’t taken off the past year, somewhat surprisingly. In 2009, 10% of developers were writing mobile apps, and that edged up to just 13%. Among those mobile developers, 55% are developing for the iPhone, and 36% for the iPad. But developers aren’t hedging their bets: 50% are writing for Android, and 42% for Windows. BlackBerry garners only 19%.

Even more interesting is how they’re building mobile apps. Native apps make up 61% of mobile apps being developed. Native apps are written specifically for a target platform — iPhone apps in Objective-C or Android apps in Java, for instance — and typically target smartphones. An alternative would be optimizing apps for the mobile browsers, which only 39% are doing. Just 15% use RIA plug-ins.

The second survey also found wider use of open source:

Nearly four out of five developers use some open source software for application development or deployment, little changed from last year. What has changed is the kind of open source software being used. Use of open source operating systems, primarily Linux distributions, jumped to 61% from 48% in 2009. Of the Linux distributions — Red Hat, Ubuntu, SUSE, Debian, and others — Ubuntu leads, used by 17% of Linux users. Canonical’s focus on making Ubuntu easy to use seems to be paying off, at least with developers if not consumers.

In summary, cloud computing, mobile development and domain expertise will be increasingly important for IT professionals. Are you ready?

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