Software Engineering in 2024: Technologies and Trends to Watch
The Launch Academy team is excitedly eyeing the technologies poised to have a major impact on software engineering in 2024!
Here’s a look at the trends, changes, and advancements the industry eagerly anticipates—and how Launch Academy’s coding bootcamp students can prepare for the coming year.
Front-End Frameworks and Static Site Generators
Google and other search engines are becoming increasingly conscious of website performance and speed to render.
Statically generated sites are programmatically unique in that a tool like Next.js or Gatsby will ingest your content from where you’ve stored it in a headless CMS or a static markdown file and build a static HTML copy of your website.
The performance advantages of these tools are tremendous because, unlike a typical dynamic web application, a static site generator is solely generating HTML. Comparatively, dynamic web applications talk to the database and third-party web services and perform other actions that effectively make your website slower.
For instance, if your site is built on WordPress, it’s backed by a database that feeds the content to the end user. But static site generators bypass the database when responding to the web request, making the whole process much faster.
We’ve based the current Launch Academy website on the functionality of static site generators, and our new site, launchware.com, will also incorporate this technology. Our current favorites are Next.js and Gatsby.
For the sites we’ve rolled out with static site generators, we’ve already seen significant improvements in site performance!
Trends in dynamic web applications and business process automation
Regarding dynamic web applications and business process automation, the Launch Academy team is really liking the PERN stack, which employs PostgreSQL for the database, Express for the backend web server, React for the front end, and Node.js for the back end. Additionally, we’re making meaningful talent investments into Prisma, an incredibly helpful database communication tool.
As we expand our expertise in the PERN stack, we’re systematically moving away from Rails, which, for better or worse, has consistently declined in overall market popularity.
- Static site generators are improving website performance and speed to render
- Next.js, Gatsby, and Google’s free Core Web Vitals are top solutions
- Launch Academy is already leveraging static site generation for our coding bootcamp site and a new up-and-coming site, launchware.com
- The ongoing market decline of Rails is prompting our adoption of the PERN stack for dynamic web applications
Web Application Technologies
Nearly two years ago, Launch Academy reluctantly decided to shy away from our Rails/React curriculum and exclusively utilize a React node. We still love Rails as a framework, and much of our technology remains based in Rails, but we recognized that we needed to follow technology trends—to “go where the puck is moving.”
We love Rails as a framework, but we recognized that we needed to follow technology trends—to “go where the puck is moving.”
The market has responded quite positively to this shift, which means it’s inherently better for our coding bootcamp students, whose training must align with job demand and market popularity.
Our transition from Rails/React to Node.js/React was driven by one of Launch Academy’s core values: learn through experimentation. To apply that core value, we begin with a use case where we feel the new technology would succeed, and we use that scenario as a kind of “playground” for dabbling and experimenting.
Next, we look at the market and its response to the new technology. If we like the tool, and if the market likes the tool, then we’ll double down on that investment. This approach is what led us to adopt PERN as our primary stack and inspired us to begin shifting away from Rails.
- Market demands prompted our curriculum shift from Rails/React to Node.js/React
- “Learn through experimentation” core value drives new technology testing
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The Launch Academy team has always embraced a role as open-source “evangelists,” but as we’re looking into open-source language models, we have serious concerns with the intelligence tools being built into ChatGPT and other AI models.
One very worrying factor the market isn’t acknowledging is that there is nothing open about OpenAI and ChatGPT. Due to this lack of transparency, companies must be extremely wary of how OpenAI is using proprietary data.
There is nothing open about OpenAI and ChatGPT.
Here at Launch Academy, we’re exploring numerous possibilities for using open-source technologies to privatize natural-language processing (NLP) systems, such as chatbots, and protect valuable data from unintended exposure to for-profit companies or the world at large. It’s one thing to utilize the ChatGPT API with publicly accessible information, but when private identifying information (PII) is involved, clients should not be hard-integrating ChatGPT.
As we head into 2024, we anticipate acting more boldly to drive awareness of the risks of AI. We’re even evaluating possibilities for productizing custom solutions that will utilize open-source technologies to protect private data.
Additionally, we’re initiating conversations with our coding bootcamp cohorts, making them aware of the current best practices surrounding AI technology. There are many AI-based tools that genuinely help engineers solve problems, and we want our graduating developers to understand all the problem-solving tools at their disposal.
But that training must come with the caveat that ChatGPT isn’t always correct, and it’s not always appropriate, depending on your needs. As long as software engineering students are informed and educated to properly harness the power of AI capabilities, AI can make them better engineers.
- New AI technologies put PII at risk
- Launch Academy is exploring open-source solutions for privatizing NLP and protecting proprietary data
- Launch Academy students are learning best practices for securely integrating AI technology
- Launch Academy curriculum includes guidance on AI benefits and limitations
Launch Academy Curriculum Revisions
After every coding bootcamp cohort, the Launch Academy team spends 2-3 weeks reviewing and revising our curriculum. This means that we’re potentially improving our curriculum every single quarter!
Next quarter, for example, we're replacing portions of our Cypress curriculum with a tool called Playwright. Both tools allow our students to script out a bot that will test their newly built applications, but Playwright has emerged as the better candidate for our purposes.
How did we determine which tool we preferred? Our consultancy used Playwright in a series of client projects! The real-world experiences we gain through our consultancy play a major role in guiding our curriculum from cohort to cohort. The consultancy enables us to not only chase trends but also use and evaluate new tools for ourselves before assimilating them into our software engineering curriculum.
- Regular curriculum updates ensure up-to-date education and marketable skills
- Curriculum revisions are evaluated with real consultancy clients prior to assimilation
Last but not least, the consulting side of our team is exploring new opportunities for digital transformation. More and more businesses are recognizing the power of APIs and automation to make administrative tasks simpler and more efficient, and clients are coming to us to help them establish internal processes that will achieve those desired efficiencies.
In a surprising number of scenarios, we’re able to automate a majority of a company’s most mundane tasks with only a few weeks of engineering effort. Add secure, thoughtful AI to that equation, and today’s enterprises are even more interested.
- Businesses are embracing automation to make mundane tasks more efficient
- Thoughtfully applied AI can enhance digital transformations even more attractively
Learn the latest technologies for yourself. Enroll in the next Launch Academy cohort!