Recent changes in the economy have forced most developers to seriously consider their future job prospects, and as a result their skills may not be as future proof as they had first hoped. We put together our opinion of the top 10 mainstream developer skills needed for 2010 onwards.
The list is hardly extensive, and there are areas of the industry it won’t cover. Nevertheless the average developer can’t go wrong learning these skills. New skills can be learnt out of office hours and they should ultimately be used on the job with the intention of forwarding your career. So, here it is, our opinion of the top 10 skills developers need for 2010 onwards:
Widgets are an important part of major websites these days. They allow users to add content to their blogs & websites easily; they also provide a benefit to the brand themselves by increasing incoming links (useful for SEO) and increasing their presence online.
Widgets also provide publishers with a vehicle for marketing their content, which is useful as traditional forms of marketing a beginning to show signs of age. In recent times, web users have become accustomed to using widgets, so it is a good idea to have at least a few of these available wherever possible.
Image sourced from Yahoo Widgets.
Social Media Integration
Social networking is the hottest thing on the web today. Providing users with a 2 way communication platform where information can be fed to them directly, rather than “screamed at” in the 1 way platform that traditional internet marketing provided us.
Services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are attracting massive numbers of very active users. Websites are realising the huge potential to market themselves on this free platform and are demanding that developers integrate their sites with popular social media services.
As the iPhone grows in popularity, there is an increasing demand for “killer” iPhone apps from customers. These applications are designed for use the Multi-Touch technology the iPhone provides its users.
A popular application can go “viral” very quickly resulting in large numbers of downloads, increase brand reputation and even sales. Apple recently announced that over one billion have now been downloaded from the APP store, merely proving the importance of iPhone application development.
Interconnectivity is an extremely important component of successful applications. Web developers with skills in creating effective application programming interfaces (APIs) will be in high demand. The new web environment demands the ability to allow users to integrate all their services and to retrieve data from feeds using API’s. A great example of an “app” that uses Twitters API is Tweetdeck, which also uses Adobe AIR as its framework.
Customised Application Knowledge
A web developer in today’s market will be able to design applications according to a client’s specification, not to the developers. Many customers have specific requirements they are seeking that are not available in packaged applications. A top custom software developer should be familiar with all aspects of developing applications from scratch on any platform whether it be an OS based or internet based application.
Content Management Systems (CMS) like Durpal, Joomla and even WordPress are very popular for both business and personal websites. These services usually offer a selection of theme templates that users can choose for their blog or website. However, many clients will want to create their own brand and image.
Image sourced from: Meetup.com
Yes, that word again, search engine optimisation is something all customers want but necessarily don’t quite understand. SEO is essentially optimising a website to receive as much organic traffic as possible, done through various processes, it is a popular and critical part of internet marketing. A good web developer will have extensive knowledge of how to build search engine friendly websites and CMS systems. Flash developers should also have information on how to accurately insert textual content into the HTML of website. Developers should also take into consideration the SEO benefit when developing widgets and applications for websites, as this “added value” can be used as ammunition when pitching for future development work.
Imaged Sourced: Freelance SEO
Mobile Web Development
Image Source: Whatblog
Languages and Frameworks
Framework knowledge is vital as they enable developers create custom applications much faster by providing a structured method of developing apps. Many companies will be looking for developers with extensive and creative knowledge. Frameworks that are increasing in use are Ruby on Rails, PHP, .NET and Django, a great developer in post 2009 will able to use a mainstream framework, such as .NET MVC to perform the desired tasks of the client.
Developers with superior design skills are always in high demand. The ability to create applications is important, but employers may also want something more, they want applications that engage users, tempting them to share or discuss the application further online, creating a buzz! One of the easiest ways of engaging a user is through impressive design. Flash has always been a very user-friendly tool, but now Flash is moving forward, with introduction of Flex and Adobe AIR the sky is the limit when it comes to creating user-friendly and data heavy applications. Websites like Webcreme show only the very latest and greatest web designs as and when they are released, it’s a great place to get inspiration!
Top developers will need to gain proficiency in the above skills to compete in today’s market. The ability to develop custom software and applications is particularly important in standing out above the rest of the crowd.