From healthcare, real estate, finance to government bodies, software development is now an integral part of almost every industry. Companies around the world are progressively adapting to the latest trends in technology to cater to fluctuating demands, enhance customer experience, and future-proof their businesses.
According to the 2021 predictions report by International Data Corporation (IDC), direct digital transformation investment is projected to reach $6.8 trillion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 15.5%. Top tech organizations like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google (FAANG) are leading the way in implementing enterprise-wide digitization.
Since the ever-advancing tech industry is dependent on software developers to innovate and shape its future, IT professionals must stay on top of transformative technologies and emerging developments methods to enhance the scope and relevance of their technical skills.
On that note, let's discuss the latest trending software technologies in 2021 and how FAANG companies are leveraging them to drive profitable results:
- Internet of Things
- 5G Data Networks
- Quantum Computing
- Virtual Reality
- Mixed Reality
- Cloud-Based Solutions
- Big Data
- Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
- How to Master Software Development Technologies
1. Internet of Things
Internet of Things refers to creating a network of devices — from household appliances like refrigerators and lightbulbs to automated vehicles, etc. — that are connected using wireless networks. These devices interact and share data through microcontrollers, the resultant of which is applications like smart homes, wearables, GPS traffic monitoring, smart grid monitoring, etc. IoT also enables remote access for these networks of devices when connected to the internet. It is the technology behind various other innovations like autonomous vehicles, unattended monitoring and management systems, etc.
It is estimated that the global market for IoT is growing at a CAGR of 10.53% and will reach $1.38 trillion by 2026. As per IDC data, nearly 152,200 devices by 2025 will connect every minute, and there will be over 41 billion IoT devices by 2027.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused almost every industry to hire software developers to leverage IoT for enabling remote operations and automation. An IoT engineer can earn an average base salary of $110,406 to $145,223 annually.
From technology, media to healthcare and telecom, almost every industry views IoT as an opportunity to streamline company operations and services. Cities, on the whole, are investing in interconnected smart city technology to solicit efficient municipal operations and infrastructure development. Tech-driven healthcare transformation skyrocketed in 2020 and is expected to reach $140 billion by 2024. Retail and manufacturing sectors have also observed significantly higher IoT investments to keep up with growing customer demand.
Companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple have partnered to eliminate the lack of protocols and standards and unstructured data concerns to create a standard based on IP that will help streamline communications between IoT devices.
Recommended Reading: Best Software Engineering Jobs at FAANG 2021
FAANG Companies That Use IoT
- Facebook: Parse, acquired by Facebook in 2013, recently developed an IoT SDK for the seamless development of IoT applications.
- Amazon: Amazon Web Services IoT solves business problems by allowing remote access to business assets. AWS IoT can support billions of devices connected over AWS cloud.
- Apple: The iPhone was the first device that showcased the power of connected sensors to consumers. Other Apple devices like the Apple Watch, iPad, and MacBooks are all electronically very powerful and implement various IoT applications.
- Google: Google Cloud IoT is an intelligent IoT platform that enables insights from data collected from users’ global device networks. The management platform allows users a secure connection to the cloud and optimizes device performance in real-time.
Artificial Intelligence is one of the latest computer software technologies that enable machines to perform tasks that otherwise require human intervention. This includes visual perception, speech/voice recognition, natural language processing, decision-making based on predictive analysis, and soliciting translations between languages. It has various subsets like machine learning and deep learning that have grown at an unfettered pace in the last decade.
While the picture that flashes when you think about artificial intelligence might be a robot or your Google assistant, but its applications range far wider than that. But a lot of the potential innovation that uses AI is still untapped due to the massive investments and the risk of failure that individuals and companies face while developing such solutions.
This is where AI-as-a-Service comes in. It allows individuals and companies to experiment with AI for various purposes without large initial investment and lower risk. By finding AIaaS providers that are perfect for them, organizations can develop solutions that suit their needs. AIaaS also enables effective experimentation by enabling the sampling of multiple public cloud platforms to test different machine learning algorithms.
AI-as-a-Service has witnessed increasing adoption across industries as companies are investing in the technology to improve customer experience. The global market for AI-as-a-Service is further driven by the growing adoption of cloud-based technologies and is projected to be worth $34.1 billion by 2027. Due to the dearth of AI talent, the job role attracts undeniably high salaries from tech giants. Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence engineers get paid an average base salary of $124,800 per year.
FAANG Companies in That Use AI
- Facebook: Facebook uses AI to analyze text, map the population density of its users, translate posts in native languages, fake video detection, chatbots, Caffe2go, hate speech detection, and so on.
- Amazon: Amazon has various use-cases for AI-as-a-Service, from product recommendations, understanding customer expectations, to smart assistants, and more. It also offers AI-as-a-Service through AWS.
- Apple: Apple uses AI in its many devices for app library suggestions, AI Cameras, and sleep tracking in Apple watches. It also upgrades its devices and powers them with the latest electronic chips that allow seamless artificial intelligence implementation.
- Netflix: As one of the pioneers in machine learning, Netflix has developed one of the most effective recommender systems, thumbnail prediction, user segmentation, and visual encoding systems.
- Google: From Google Home to TensorFlow, the innovation-driven company Google has employed AI in countless applications. Google Cloud also offers AI-as-a-Service.
3. 5G Data Networks
5G Data Networks, the next generation of data networks and services, are expected to empower every technology to innovate to a greater potential by providing an unparalleled speed of at least 25GBPS downlink and 10GBPS uplink along with unmatched levels of latency. 5G will boost machines’ performance in Artificial Intelligence, IoT and eliminate data transmission-time tradeoffs in various other applications.
As one of the latest software development technologies, 5G technology is expected to provide software developers higher speeds, quicker reaction times, greater bandwidth, and lower latency. It will ease and enhance the development process by enabling software engineers to improve their applications’ security levels. Furthermore, 5G enables developers to add innovative functionalities, create new cases, and new mobile apps.
5G is yet to roll out in many countries and is partially implemented in countries like the USA. 5G technology is expected to handle 25% of all mobile traffic data by 2024. It will be essential in paving the way for a new generation of smart devices by enabling up to 4 billion IoT connections in the next few years.
FAANG Companies That Use 5G Data Networks
Since 5G networks are yet to hit the mainstream market, FAANG companies have restricted the usage of 5G data networks to research and development. However, Apple released its 12th generation of iPhones, the first iPhones to support 5G connectivity. Google’s Pixel 4a also supports 5G connectivity. Other companies to have launched 5G smartphones are Samsung, OnePlus, and Motorola.
Recommended Reading: Best Tech Companies to Work With in 2021
4. Quantum Computing
In 1982, Richard Feynmann published a paper called ‘Simulating Physics with Computers’, which gave birth to Quantum Computing as we know it. Quantum computers use quantum-mechanical phenomena like superposition and quantum entanglement for computing. This is what allows Qubit, the basic unit of quantum computers, to have the state of Zero or One or in a linear combination of 0 and 1.
With every additional Qubit, the computational power of the Quantum computer increases exponentially. Obviously, with a computational power exponentially higher than quantum computers, all concerns and opportunity costs that result from low computational power will vanish.
Quantum computers are claimed to be the hottest research topic in computer science right now after artificial intelligence. Currently, the key players in this segment are startups (40%), closely followed by universities (33%). As per a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company, the quantum computing market will be worth $1 trillion by 2035. Tech is among the top three industries that will see widespread applications of quantum computing.
FAANG Companies That Are Involved in Quantum Computing
Quantum Computing faces various challenges, which make its implementation very difficult. Google is the only FAANG company that is involved in research and innovation related to quantum computing. Google QuAIL, one of the companies from Alphabet, i.e., Google’s group of companies, initiated research in quantum computing in May 2013.
Blockchain, the foundational technology behind cryptocurrencies and a decentralized finance ecosystem, is expected to significantly influence software development in 2021. As per Statista, there are currently 68.24 million blockchain wallet users worldwide.
Blockchain ensures a secure and immutable recording of information on a decentralized ledger distributed across various computers. Besides intensive finance applications, blockchain is also being applied in gaming, media, publishing, and healthcare software development. The finance sector alone accounted for approximately 60 percent of the blockchain market value in 2018. As companies prepare to leverage the perceived benefits of this latest technology in computer software, the total expenditure on blockchain solutions worldwide is projected to reach 15.9 billion by 2023.
The secure and decentralized nature of blockchain technology powers the innovation it encourages in various sectors. Decentralized apps or dApps are blockchain-based apps that have emerged as a popular option for software developers to create decentralized, secure open-source solutions.
Decentralized finance is already riding an unstoppable growth curve. The technology is also now being used extensively in supply chain management. In 2021, we will see more businesses from different sectors leveraging blockchain and developing dApps to utilize blockchain’s secure, transparent, and decentralized nature.
FAANG Companies That Use Blockchain
- Facebook: For a long time now, Facebook has been in the news for being the largest company among 28 members of the Libra association that is working on launching the Libra Stablecoin — a blockchain-based cryptocurrency that can be used to buy items or send to people at nearly zero fees. Facebook also has a scheduled subsidiary project launch for Calibra, a digital wallet to handle Libra dealings. It will offer a secure platform to users without mingling Libra payments with user's Facebook data.
- Amazon: Blockchain on AWS offers tailor-made tools to organizations to support their distinct needs with blockchain development.
- Apple: Apple filed a patent application in 2019, which indicated that it is creating a system for certifying timestamps using blockchain.
- Google: Google Cloud also has a few partnerships with other companies for the implementation of blockchain applications. For instance, it allows users to deploy and run nodes of Theta’s blockchain network in its partnership with Theta Labs.
Recommended Reading: Best Software Engineering Jobs at FAANG 2021
6. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is a technology that allows you to immerse yourself in an unquestionably realistic simulated environment with the help of rich visuals and advanced computer vision. The environment offers immersive, first-person perspective experiences by simulating senses like touch, hearing, smell, and vision. With VR gear like headsets, you can play a game or watch a movie from different angles and perspectives.
Although VR became popular because of its popularity in the gaming and video industry, its adoption will help solve major enterprise issues and challenges. Many businesses from the training and education sector are also keen to explore the benefits of VR in the classroom and, more importantly, in remote learning.
The VR industry is progressing at a significantly elevated pace. Currently, there are over 171 million users of VR worldwide. Virtual Reality is estimated to have a 21.6% compound annual growth rate between 2020 and 2027.
FAANG Companies That Innovate in VR
- Facebook: Facebook Reality Labs is the section of AR/VR which aims to create consumer hardware and software solutions that are immersive, social, and increase the depth of people’s connections. Oculus, the Facebook acquired company, is one of the industry leaders in developing VR headsets.
- Amazon: Amazon Sumerian from AWS allows software engineers to develop their own browser-based 3D applications. They can also run augmented reality (AR) as well as virtual reality (VR) applications.
- Apple: Apple hasn’t yet created any major VR solution, but they are rumored to be working on Apple VR/AR Glasses and Headsets and some other projects.
- Netflix: In 2015, Netflix became the first streaming service to introduce a 360-degree app that lets users step into a virtual room to watch movies or TV shows on a Gear VR.
- Google: Google has created software and hardware VR applications like Daydream, Expeditions, Tilt Brush, VR 180 Cameras, and more.
7. Mixed Reality
Mixed reality offers a whole new world of interaction between humans, computers, and the environment by blending the physical and digital worlds. The innovation in mixed reality has allowed it to expand its applications beyond displays to environmental input, spatial sound, and locations and positioning in real and virtual spaces. The market size of extended reality/augmented reality/virtual reality/mixed reality is expected to hit $30.7 billion by the end of 2021.
Mixed reality has brought forward a real human world visualization with enabled virtual reality. Mixed reality, just like VR and AR, has been experimented with by most of the gaming industry. In recent years though, mixed reality has emerged as one of the latest software development technologies by offering extensive solutions for complex business operations by serving as a prop in simplifying and streamlining communication and providing guidance to employees and operators.
This has simplified the most complicated control operations of enterprises and enhanced operational efficiency. An estimated 40% of MR apps are designed for driving engagement on social media platforms alone. Further, 75% of all MR apps are expected to be delivered via smartphones.
FAANG Companies That Innovate in Mixed Reality
Since Mixed Reality is where AR and VR meet, FAANG companies’ innovations and projects remain the same as those discussed with respect to Virtual Reality.
8. Cloud-Based Solutions
Cloud offers on-demand services, computer networks, storage, applications, or resources accessed via the internet on a public, private, or hybrid cloud computing infrastructure. It is one of the latest trending software technologies, especially in the organizational landscape. Cloud-based solutions are offered in three ways:
Today, nearly 90% of companies worldwide benefit from some type of cloud service. The estimated expenditure on cloud infrastructure services in Q2 of 2020 was a whopping $30 billion.
Cloud offers many benefits to enterprises and allows them to develop more scalable solutions and enable easy maintenance. Cloud-based solutions also enable unmatchable disaster recovery and redundancy and seamless deployment. Developing cloud-based solutions has also proved to be relatively cost-efficient for enterprises. This is why there is a growing requirement amongst enterprises for software developers proficient in cloud architecture who can develop scalable cloud-based solutions.
As cloud-based solutions continue to become the norm across industries, AI will serve as a key enabler in increasing the adoption of cloud and improving computing speed and efficiency.
FAANG Companies That Offer Cloud-Based Solutions
Google Cloud and Amazon AWS are two of the industry leaders that offer cloud services. Nearly 80% of businesses rely on Amazon Web Services as their primary cloud platform. Even Netflix uses AWS for its computing and storage needs. Certification in Amazon Web Services, esp Certified Solutions Architect (CSA), is globally the most valued IT Certification today and can help AWS Architects attract an average salary of $130,883 annually.
Being relatively new, Google cloud is a preferred platform for 18% businesses only. However, Google Cloud Engineers can still earn $103,902 annually.
Apple also has its cloud storage service for its devices, the iCloud, but doesn’t offer cloud computing. Microsoft, sometimes included in the FAANG stocks, has Azure, the second most widely-used cloud solution after Amazon's AWS.
Recommended Reading: What Is the Highest Salary for Software Engineers at FAANG Companies?
9. Big Data
Big Data is a huge collection of data wherein the three ‘V’s of data- volume, velocity, and variety are accounted for. This data can be structured, unstructured, or semi-structured. In a world where data is growing tremendously by the second and is increasing in complexity, there is a need for innovative tools and technologies to store, manage or process it efficiently. The need for innovation in Big Data stems from Big Data’s limitations in artificial intelligence and machine learning applications.
The latest technology in computer software offers many benefits to enterprises, making the development of Big Data tools imperative. Big Data processing offers advantages like superior data-driven intelligence, improved customer service, early risk prediction, and enhanced enterprise operational efficiency. If you’re preparing for a position that requires you to work closely with data, your interview prep should include Big Data and distributed file systems.
FAANG Companies Involved in Big Data
- Facebook: Facebook leverages the massive volume of data collected on its platform for tracking cookies, analyzing user behavior and preferences through likes, managing recommendations, facial recognition, and more.
- Amazon: Amazon uses big data to analyze purchase behaviors and understand its customers to fine-tune its recommendation engine.
- Apple: Apple uses big data analytics to collect information on entire populations to measure health requirements and improve lifestyles. This information is leveraged to cure ailments, contain the spread of infectious diseases, and predicted preventive treatment against illnesses. It also uses big data to decide what features to add to its devices by monitoring how, when, and where its products are used.
- Netflix: Like Amazon and Facebook, Netflix uses big data to analyze customer data to boost its platform's performance.
- Google: Google is one of the pioneers of big data. The HDFS, the industry standard for a distributed file system, is based on Google’s distributed file system, whose concept was first proposed by a few Google employees.
Since then, Google has come a long way. Processing and analyzing big data is an integral part of Google’s search algorithm. Google Cloud also offers cloud big data solutions and smart analytics solutions to help organizations handle big data.
10. Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
PWAs are the perfect middle ground between mobile apps and web apps. PWAs come with the advantages of both mobile apps and web apps while eliminating the limitations of these platforms. They have a seamless and relatively simple development process and are extremely easy to maintain. Furthermore, they load faster even at low-speed connections. They are accessible through any web browser, without any compromises in the hardware and software capabilities like machine learning that is associated with native platforms. PWAs are estimated to provide a 36% higher conversion rate when compared to native apps.
PWAs also make it easy to create powerful cross-platform development tools for software engineers by integrating new web technologies. The benefits of PWAs include cost-efficient development, light memory, and storage requirements, and a convenient user experience. Being lightweight, they also prove beneficial in terms of sessions per user, reading completion, and overall engagement.
As per a report by Emergen Research, the global market for progressive web applications is projected to reach $10.44 billion by 2027.
FAANG Companies That Use PWAs
Google Chrome has enabled PWA support and also plans to run PWAs at startups. Facebook and its acquired platforms, Instagram and Whatsapp, also use PWAs for a convenient and lighter experience. Apple has also been supportive of PWAs after iOS 13.
Cybersecurity, or as it is also called information technology security, is the practice of protecting systems, networks, and databases from potential threats, hardware damage, or cyber theft. It is a collection of technologies and processes designed to ensure the confidentiality of the information and prevent unauthorized access.
Cyber attacks, security threats, and data breaches have become increasingly common issues since the COVID-19 pandemic led to rapid digitization across industries. Of the many domains in which tech has witnessed a growing demand for software developers, cybersecurity is the fastest-growing of all, as per Microsoft's recent research.
The report also reveals that there are 744,000 tech professionals in cybersecurity globally today, which is expected to reach 6.38 million in the next five years. Like any other software engineering discipline, cybersecurity requires both hard and soft skills, an IT background, and professional experience to become a successful cybersecurity developer.
As companies worldwide are investing in preventive technologies to respond to new cyber threats, studies show that demand for cybersecurity at the national level is currently double its supply. As per a recent Bloomberg Intelligence (BI) report, yearly cybersecurity expenses are expected to surpass $200 billion by 2024.
FAANG Companies That Use Cybersecurity
- Facebook: The social media giant has been directing tremendous efforts towards safeguarding users from potential digital invasions since 2019. Beginning from 2021, it will offer users 2FA as part of the Facebook Protect protect program. This mandatory safety measure will include hardware keys, real-time monitoring, and other security options to protect user information. Mobile cybersecurity is also currently a top priority at Facebook.
- Apple: Apple's ecosystem, unlike its competitors like Google, comprises hardware and software systems, often referred to as the "walled garden." This allows it to approach the cybersecurity issue objectively, and provide proactive safeguard8 solutions to users. It recently launched its new Macs with the ARM-based M1 chips that allow security to be built into its architecture.
With Secure Enclave for its Touch ID, new anti-tracking features, and regular security updates as part of the Apple Platform Security guide, Apple's investment in cybersecurity will continue to benefit everyone.
- Google: As per Bloomberg, Google is also working on an anti-tracking feature to enhance the privacy and security of its Android operating system. Google has been investing heavily in eliminating security vulnerabilities in Windows, macOS, and Linux devices. So far in 2021, the company has rolled out security updates for about three different in-the-wild zero-day attacks.
Recommended Reading: 10 Highest Pay Tech Jobs in FAANG Companies
How to Master Software Development Technologies
Software development is a dynamic field that witnesses tremendous changes with advancements in programming languages, development frameworks, and databases, allowing software developers to build feature-rich and highly functional apps and ease the development process marginally.
Emerging technologies have a drastic impact on the way businesses accomplish goals and enhance their product offerings. They also affect the job market and demand that software engineers invest in upskilling themselves to attract high-paying jobs and lucrative employment benefits.
If you are looking to pursue a career in software development or are eyeing a career advancement opportunity at a FAANG company, here are a few tips to amp your software development skills:
- Begin with setting clear goals with respect to your career.
- Experiment with the latest technologies in software development that you find interesting and are being used by companies you are targeting. To pursue them further, opt for flexible learning courses that will help you develop in-demand skills while practicing software development.
- Build a strong foundation in system design, architecture and increase domain knowledge. Familiarise yourself with multiple programming paradigms, including OOP concepts, functional programming, and so on.
- Enhance your problem-solving and analytical thinking abilities by participating in coding challenges. You can also sign up for bootcamps.
- It's important to be a part of a community of developers to supplement your development skills. To do so, you can leverage forums like StackOverflow or Collaborate with developers on open-source projects and contribute to their codes. You can also visit GitHub to view repositories of experienced developers to improve problem-solving skills.
- Start building projects of your own in any programming language of your choice. Your motive should be to explore programming techniques and finding solutions to problems.
To be able to work with the latest software technologies and tools on large-scale projects, you would need to target top tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. Once you have acquired the required skills, you can start working on your interview skills to land a high-paying job at a company of your choice.
To attract a lucrative career in software development, the ideal course is to join a company that provides interview preparation services and leverage its resources, prep techniques, and valuable insights to ace your interview.
We hope you found what you were looking for!
Recommended Reading: Must-have Skills to Become a Software Developer in 2021
Prepare for Your Next Tech Interview
If you want to get started with your interview prep and wish to give it your best shot, register for Interview Kickstart’s FREE webinar to understand the best way to prepare for tech interviews at the biggest companies.
IK is the gold standard in tech interview prep. Our programs include a comprehensive curriculum, unmatched teaching methods, FAANG+ instructors, and career coaching to help you nail your next tech interview.
We’ve trained thousands of engineers to land dream offers at the biggest companies, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Netflix, among others. Check out some reviews to know more.
Sign up now to uplevel your career!