Five ways that will transform the developer experience in 2024

In 2024, the rate of innovation is set to skyrocket, as organizations develop new digital products and services at pace. This growing demand for new software is putting extra pressure on developers. 

As these trends gain momentum, it’s vital organizations help developers to keep up and do more with less, so they can iterate at speed without sacrificing on quality or security. Here are five ways organizations can maximize developer productivity and help them adjust to a rapidly changing world:

1 -- AI will ease the developer skills gap

As AI transforms business operations, it will also help to ease developer skill shortages. A recent survey found that more than two thirds of companies were already experiencing skills gaps in 2023. AI will help bridge that gap, enabling novice developers to upskill and making great developers world-class. 

However, firms could still risk a developer skills shortage if they do not take a platform approach to software delivery. Too often, organizations are continuing to use bolted-together solutions across their software delivery lifecycle (SDLC). This results in extra toil, as multiple point solutions are stitched together with custom integrations, glue code and open source tools, requiring lots of maintenance. Enterprises must adopt a platform approach to SDLC to reduce developer toil and free them to spend more time coding. 

2 -- Achieving continuous delivery will be the key to reaping the benefits of AI

To make the most of the benefits AI can offer, companies must also achieve continuous delivery. If organizations have not truly automated pipelines within the SDLC, then it is doubtful they will be able to handle the volume and pace of AI-generated code. 

Every software delivery pipeline should automate every single test, check and verification required to drive efficiency and reduce risk. These automated pipelines will help ensure all AI-generated code can be validated and trusted. 

These pipelines should also be properly governed. This will help to ensure no step is missed during production. 

Having automated and fully governed pipelines will ensure the right safeguards are in place. It also means business can keep up with the pace of AI innovation. Gartner backs this, saying the democratization of AI has made it essential to put guardrails like these in place, to ensure AI trust, risk and security management (AI TriSM). 

3 -- Mandated security will become the norm 

As technology becomes more advanced, so too do the nature of cybersecurity threats. Enterprises must mandate security policies within their SDLC. Failure to do so is inexcusable. It is like expecting somebody to drive a car that has never been tested. Businesses should not be granting their applications access to data and systems if a piece of software has not gone through the appropriate security checks. IT leaders must focus on integrating security into software delivery pipelines. This will ensure that only secure software is produced, negating any risks and preventing any downtime. 

4 -- Security must be reimagined

Given the need to innovate faster, it is imperative developers do not become overburdened with additional security responsibilities.

Enterprises must shift security left. This means that security processes need to be integrated into developers’ code, builds, tests and deployments. Developers therefore need the ability to quickly access the information they need and have the tools to build security into software from the ground up. Security should live at the forefront of everything developers do. It should be governed, standardized, and templated into a software delivery platform, so it is automatically applied for developers. This will prevent security from being skipped or ignored. 

5 -- Automated quality control is vital

In piecing together more secure development, businesses must have full visibility of any risks within their SDLC. Providing a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) will no longer be enough. Knowing what is in a software artefact is interesting -- but knowing who wrote it, how it was produced, and where it was distributed, is a lot more helpful. 

To gain this insight, businesses need a chain of custody to fully understand how code progressed through their systems, view all the outputs from scans and testing, and identify which environment it was deployed in. This will help to easily remediate any problems and reduce any security risk or vulnerabilities. For example, knowing which artefacts had log4j in them was useful. However, knowing everywhere it existed within a digital landscape and being able to update every instance with an automated bug fix was invaluable. 

Think of it like a recall, where the system is smart enough to automatically fix every known instance of a bug, without any human intervention or data gathering. Automated quality control will be a crucial tool for developers as they look to pick up the pace of innovation, with no distractions.

A transformed developer experience

Amidst a boom in productivity fueled by AI, rising costs, and increasing demand from end users, developers need all the help they can get to speed up innovation without compromise. Setting the right foundations now will mean developers can focus on the task at hand -- bringing new, better products to life faster, and with reduced risk.

Image credit: nd3000 / Shutterstock

Martin Reynolds is Field CTO at Harness.

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