5 key areas for tech leaders to look at in 2020 – O’Reilly


O’Reilly on-line studying comprises details about the traits, matters, and points tech leaders want to look at and discover. It’s additionally the information supply for our annual utilization research, which examines the most-used matters and the highest search phrases.[1]

This mix of utilization and search affords a contextual view that encompasses not solely the instruments, methods, and applied sciences that members are actively utilizing, but additionally the areas they’re gathering details about.

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Present indicators from utilization on the O’Reilly on-line studying platform reveal:

  • Python is preeminent. It’s the one hottest programming language on O’Reilly, and it accounts for 10% of all utilization. This 12 months’s progress in Python utilization was buoyed by its rising recognition amongst knowledge scientists and machine studying (ML) and synthetic intelligence (AI) engineers.
  • Software program structure, infrastructure, and operations are every altering quickly. The shift to cloud native design is reworking each software program structure and infrastructure and operations. Additionally: infrastructure and operations is trending up, whereas DevOps is trending down. Coincidence? In all probability not, however solely time will inform.
  • ML + AI are up, however passions have cooled. Up till 2017, the ML+AI subject had been amongst the quickest rising matters on the platform. Development continues to be sturdy for such a big subject, however utilization slowed in 2018 (+13%) and cooled considerably in 2019, rising by simply 7%. Inside the knowledge subject, nevertheless, ML+AI has gone from 22% of all utilization to 26%.
  • Nonetheless cloud-y, however with a chance of migration. Sturdy utilization in cloud platforms (+16%) accounted for many cloud-specific progress. However sustained curiosity in cloud migrations—utilization was up virtually 10% in 2019, on high of 30% in 2018—will get at one other necessary rising development.
  • Safety is surging. Combination safety utilization spiked 26% final 12 months, pushed by elevated utilization for 2 safety certifications: CompTIA Safety (+50%) and CompTIA CySA+ (+59%). There’s loads of safety dangers for enterprise executives, sysadmins, DBAs, builders, and so on., to be cautious of.
Normalized search frequency of top terms on the O’Reilly online learning platform in 2019 (left) and the rate of change for each term (right).
Determine 1 (above). Normalized search frequency of high phrases on the O’Reilly on-line studying platform in 2019 (left) and the speed of change for every time period (proper).
High-level topics on the O’Reilly online learning platform with the most usage in 2019 (left) and the rate of change for each topic (right).
Determine 2. Excessive-level matters on the O’Reilly on-line studying platform with probably the most utilization in 2019 (left) and the speed of change for every subject (proper).

In programming, Python is preeminent

In 2019, as in 2018, Python was the most well-liked language on O’Reilly on-line studying. Python-related utilization grew at a strong 6% tempo in 2019, a slight drop from 2018 (+10%). After a number of years of regular climbing—and after outstripping Java in 2017—Python-related interactions now comprise virtually 10% of all utilization.

However Python is a particular case: this 12 months, greater than in 12 months’s previous, its progress was buoyed by curiosity in ML. Utilization particular to Python as a programming language grew by simply 4% in 2019; in contrast, utilization that needed to do with Python and ML—be it within the context of AI, deep studying, and pure language processing, or together with any of a number of widespread ML/AI frameworks—grew by 9%. The laggard use case was Python-based internet improvement frameworks, which grew by simply 3% in utilization, 12 months over 12 months.

Normalized search frequency of top programming languages on the O’Reilly online learning platform in 2019 (left) and the rate of change for each language (right).
Determine 3 (above). Normalized search frequency of high programming languages on the O’Reilly on-line studying platform in 2019 (left) and the speed of change for every language (proper).
Programming languages on the O’Reilly online learning platform with the most usage in 2019 (left) and the rate of change for each language (right).
Determine 4. Programming languages on the O’Reilly on-line studying platform with probably the most utilization in 2019 (left) and the speed of change for every language (proper).

That is in step with what we’ve noticed elsewhere: Python has acquired new relevance amid sturdy curiosity in AI and ML. Together with R, Python is without doubt one of the most-used languages for knowledge evaluation. From pre-built libraries for linear or logistic regressions, determination timber, naïve Bayes, k-means, gradient-boosting, and so on., there’s a Python library for just about something a developer or knowledge scientist would possibly have to do. (Python libraries are not any much less helpful for manipulating or engineering knowledge, too.)

Apparently, R itself continues to say no. R-related utilization on O’Reilly on-line studying fell by 8% between 2017-18 and by 6%, year-over-year, in 2019. It’s probably that R—very similar to Scala (-33% in utilization in 2018-19; -19% in utilization 2017-18)—is a casualty of Python. True, it might sound troublesome to reconcile R’s decline with sturdy curiosity in AI and ML, however think about two elements: first, ML and statistics are usually not the identical factor, and, second, R just isn’t, primarily, a developer-oriented language. R was designed to be used in educational, scientific, and, extra not too long ago, industrial use instances. As statistics and associated methods change into extra necessary in software program improvement, extra programmers are encountering stats in programming courses. On this context, they’re extra probably to make use of Python than R.

Curiosity in some languages appears to be trending up, and curiosity in others, down. Exhibit A: Java-related utilization dropped by a noteworthy 13% between 2018 and 2019. Is that this the harbinger of a development? Not essentially: Java-related searches elevated by 5% between 2017 and 2018. Alternatively, Java’s cousin, JavaScript, additionally seems to be in decline. True, theirs is simply a conceptual relation, however curiosity in JavaScript, too, actually does appear to be waning: JS-related utilization dropped on O’Reilly on-line studying by 4% between 2017-2018 and by 7% between 2018-19. It’s attainable that microservices structure is hastening the transfer to different languages (reminiscent of Go, Rust, and Python) for internet properties.

Among the many JavaScript-based internet utility frameworks, React gained in recognition (+4% in utilization) as Angular (-12% in utilization) slipped between 2018 and 2019. Vue.js—a competitor to each React and Angular—settled all the way down to regular progress (+8% in utilization) in 2018-19, after virtually doubling in utilization (+97%) between 2017-18.

One attainable trend-in-the-making is that of a slowing Go, which—following a number of years of fast progress in utilization (together with +14% from 2017 to 2018)—cooled down final 12 months, with utilization rising by a mere 2%. However Go is now the sixth most-used programming language, trailing solely Python, Java, .NET, and C++. Drop .NET from the tally on methodological grounds[2], and Go cracks the highest 5.

Developments in software program structure, infrastructure, and operations

Cloud native design is a brand new mind-set about software program and structure. However the shift to cloud native has implications not just for software program structure, however for infrastructure and operations, too. It exploits new design patterns (microservices) and adapts current methods (service orchestration) with the aim of reaching cloud-like elasticity and resilience in all environments, cloud or on-premises. O’Reilly Radar makes use of the time period “Subsequent Structure to explain this shift.

It’s towards this backdrop that what’s occurring in each software program structure and infrastructure and ops have to be understood. Within the generic software program structure subject, utilization within the containers subject elevated in our 2019 evaluation, rising by 17%. This was only a fraction of its 2018 progress price (+56% in utilization), however spectacular nonetheless. Kubernetes has emerged because the de facto resolution for orchestrating providers and microservices in cloud native design patterns. Utilization in Kubernetes surged by 211% in 2018—and grew at a 40% clip in 2019. Kubernetes’ guardian subject, container orchestrators, additionally posted sturdy utilization progress: 151% in 2018, 36% this 12 months—virtually all attributable to curiosity in Kubernetes itself.

Software architecture topics on the O’Reilly online learning platform with the most usage in 2019 (left) and the rate of change for each topic (right).
Determine 5. Software program structure matters on the O’Reilly on-line studying platform with probably the most utilization in 2019 (left) and the speed of change for every subject (proper).

This additionally helps clarify elevated utilization within the microservices subject, which grew at a 22% clip in 2019. True, you don’t essentially want microservices to “do” cloud native design; at this level, nevertheless, it’s troublesome to disentangle the 2. Most cloud native design patterns contain microservices.

These traits are additionally implicated within the rise of infrastructure and ops, which displays each the restrictions of DevOps and the challenges posed by the shift to cloud native design. Infrastructure and ops utilization was the quickest rising sub-topic underneath the generic techniques administration subject. Surging curiosity in infrastructure and ops additionally explains declining utilization within the configuration administration (CM) and DevOps subject areas. The most well-liked CM instruments are DevOps targeted, and, like DevOps itself, they’re declining: utilization within the CM subject dropped considerably (-18%) in 2019, as did just about all CM instruments. Ansible was least affected (-4% in utilization), however Jenkins, Puppet, Chef, and Salt every dropped off by 25% or extra in utilization. It might’t be a coincidence that DevOps utilization declined once more (-5%) in 2019, following a 20% decline in 2018.

Infrastructure and operations topics on the O’Reilly online learning platform with the most usage in 2019 (left) and the rate of change for each topic (right).
Determine 6. Infrastructure and operations matters on the O’Reilly on-line studying platform with probably the most utilization in 2019 (left) and the speed of change for every subject (proper).

The emergence of infrastructure and ops means that organizations may be having bother scaling DevOps. DevOps goals to supply programmers who can work competently in every of the layers in a system “stack.” In follow, nevertheless, builders are usually much less dedicated to DevOps’ operations element, a incontrovertible fact that gave delivery to the thought of web site reliability engineering (SRE). Even when the “full stack” developer isn’t a unicorn, she definitely isn’t commonplace. Organizations see infrastructure and ops as a realistic, ops-focused complement that picks up exactly the place DevOps tends to fail.

A drill-down into knowledge, AI, and ML matters

The outcomes for data-related matters are each predictable and—there’s no different method to put it—complicated. Beginning with knowledge engineering, the spine of all knowledge work (the class consists of titles protecting knowledge administration, i.e., relational databases, Spark, Hadoop, SQL, NoSQL, and so on.). In combination, knowledge engineering utilization declined 8% in 2019. This follows a 3% drop in 2018. Each years have been pushed by declining utilization of information administration titles.

Once we look extra particularly at knowledge engineering matters, excluding knowledge administration, we see a small share, however strong progress in utilization, up 7% in 2018 and 15% in 2019 (see Determine 7).

Inside the broad “knowledge” subject, knowledge engineering (together with knowledge administration) continues as the subject with probably the most share, garnering about one-twelfth of all utilization on the platform. That is virtually double the utilization share of the information science subject, which recorded an uptick in utilization (+5%) in 2019, following a decline (-2%) in 2018.

Elsewhere, curiosity in ML and AI retains rising, albeit at a diminished price. To wit: the mixed ML/AI subject was up 7% in utilization in 2019, about half its progress (+13%) in 2018.

Data topics on the O’Reilly online learning platform with the most usage in 2019 (left) and the rate of change for each topic (right).
Determine 7. Information matters on the O’Reilly on-line studying platform with probably the most utilization in 2019 (left) and the speed of change for every subject (proper).

Satirically, the power of ML/AI may be much less evident in data-specific matters than in different subject areas, reminiscent of programming languages, the place rising Python utilization is—to a big diploma—being pushed by that language’s usefulness for and applicability to ML. However ML/AI-related matters reminiscent of pure language processing (NLP, +22% in 2019) and neural networks (+17%) recorded sturdy progress in utilization, too.

Information engineering as a process definitely isn’t in decline. Curiosity in knowledge engineering most likely isn’t declining, both. If something, knowledge engineering as a follow space is being subsumed by each knowledge science and ML/AI[3]. We all know from different analysis that knowledge scientists, ML and AI engineers, and so on., spend an outsized proportion of their time discovering, making ready, and engineering knowledge for his or her work. We’ve seen that widespread instruments and frameworks normally incorporate knowledge engineering capabilities, both within the type of automated/guided self-service options or (within the case of Jupyter and different notebooks) a capability to construct and orchestrate knowledge engineering pipelines that invoke Python, R (through Python), and so on., libraries to run knowledge engineering jobs concurrently or, if attainable, in parallel.

Phrases that correspond with old-school knowledge engineering—e.g., “relational database,” “Oracle database options,” “Hive,” “database administration,” “knowledge fashions,” “Spark”—declined in utilization, year-over-year, in 2019. A few of this decline was a operate of bigger, market-driven elements. We all know from our analysis that Hadoop and its ecosystem of associated initiatives (reminiscent of Hive) are within the midst of a protracted, years-long decline. This decline is borne out in our utilization numbers: Hadoop (-34%), Hive (additionally -34%), and even Spark (-21%) have been all down, considerably, year-over-year.

We focus on probably causes for this decline in additional element in our evaluation of O’Reilly Strata Convention speaker proposals.

Cloud persevering with to climb

Curiosity in cloud-related ideas and phrases continues to extend on O’Reilly on-line studying, albeit at a slower price. Cloud-related utilization surged by 35% between 2017 and 2018; it grew at lower than half that price (17%) between 2018 and 2019. This slowdown means that cloud as a class has achieved such a big share that (mathematically) any extra progress should happen at a slower price. In cloud’s case, whereas progress is slower, it’s nonetheless sturdy.

Cloud topics on the O’Reilly online learning platform with the most usage in 2019 (left) and the rate of change for each topic (right).
Determine 8. Cloud matters on the O’Reilly on-line studying platform with probably the most utilization in 2019 (left) and the speed of change for every subject (proper).

Curiosity in cloud service supplier platforms mirrors that of the trade as a complete: Amazon and AWS-related utilization elevated by 14%, year-over-year; Azure utilization, however, grew at a speedier 29% clip, whereas Google Compute Platform (GCP) surged by 39%. Amazon controls rather less than half (per Gartner’s 2018 numbers) of the general marketplace for cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) choices. It, too, has reached the purpose at which fast progress turns into mathematically prohibitive. Each Azure and GCP are rising a lot quicker than AWS, however they’re additionally a lot smaller: Azure notched almost 61% progress in 2018 (per Gartner), good for greater than 15% of the IaaS market; GCP, at round 60% progress, accounts for 4% of IaaS share.

Additionally intriguing: cloud-specific curiosity in microservices and Kubernetes grew considerably final 12 months on O’Reilly. Microservices-related utilization was up 22%, 12 months over 12 months, following a decline in 2018. Kubernetes utilization was up by 38%, 12 months over 12 months, following a interval of explosive progress (+190%) from 2017 to 2018. Each traits mirror what we’re seeing through consumer surveys and different analysis efforts: specifically, that microservices has emerged as an necessary element of cloud native design and improvement.

The larger takeaway is that the important tendency of recent software program structure—specifically, the precedence it offers to free coupling in emphasizing abstraction, isolation, and atomicity—is eliding the boundaries between what we consider as “cloud” versus “on-premises” contexts. We see this through sustained curiosity in microservices and Kubernetes in each on-premises and cloud deployments.

That is the logic of cloud native design: particular deployment contexts will nonetheless matter, after all—which options or constraints do builders have to bear in mind after they’re growing for AWS? For Azure? For GCP? However the clear boundaries that used to demarcate the general public cloud from the non-public cloud are beginning to disappear, simply as people who distinguish on-premises non-public clouds from typical on-premises techniques are falling away, too.

Surging curiosity in safety

Safety utilization (+26%) grew considerably in 2019 (see Determine 2). A few of this was pushed by elevated utilization within the CompTIA Safety+ (50%) and CompTIA Cyber Safety Analyst (CySA+, 59%) matters.

Safety+ is an entry-level safety certification, so its progress may very well be attributed to elevated utilization by sysadmins, DBAs, software program builders, and different non-specialists. Whether or not it’s to flesh out their full-stack bona fides, deal with new job (or regulatory) necessities, or just to make themselves extra marketable, Safety+ is a reasonably simple certification course of: move the examination and also you’re licensed. CySA+, however, is comparatively new. This might clarify the explosion of CySA+-related utilization in 2018 (+128%), in addition to final 12 months’s sturdy progress. In contrast to the CISSP and different widespread certifications, CySA+ recommends, however doesn’t require, real-world expertise. Like Safety+, it’s one other certification sys admins, DBAs, builders, and others can choose as much as burnish their bona fides.

Certifications weren’t the one factor driving security-related utilization on O’Reilly in 2019. A rash of vulnerabilities and potential exploits, too, had some affect. If 2018 (+5% progress in safety utilization; +22% progress in search) gave us Meltdown and Spectre, 2019 gave us sobering details about the far-reaching implications of Meltdown and, particularly, Spectre. For 2019, security-specific utilization (+26%) and search (+25%) elevated accordingly. System and database directors, CSAs, CISSPs, and others have been eager to accumulate skilled, detailed info particular to patching and hardening their susceptible techniques to guard towards a minimum of 13 completely different Spectre and 14 completely different Meltdown variants, in addition to to mitigate the possibly large efficiency impacts related to these patches. Builders and software program architects had questions on rewriting, refactoring, or optimizing their code to handle these identical issues. Towards this backdrop, the spike in security-related utilization is sensible.

There was an awesome deal happening with respect to info safety and knowledge privateness, too. In any case, not solely was 2019 the primary full 12 months for which the EU’s omnibus GDPR regime was binding, however—as of January 1, 2019—updates to Canada’s GDPR-like PIPEDA regime formally kicked in, too. The sweeping California Client Privateness Act (CCPA), which has been known as California’s GDPR, went into impact on January 1,  2020.

Taken collectively, an evaluation of those traits appears to help a glass-half-full evaluation of the state of safety immediately. If the sustained progress in safety utilization on O’Reilly is a dependable indicator, it’s attainable that safety could, lastly, be getting the eye it deserves in an more and more digital world. It’s attainable that organizations have accepted that the monetary and reputational penalties entailed by a knowledge breach or high-profile hack are simply too expensive to danger, and that cash spent on info safety is, on steadiness, cash effectively spent.

The identical evaluation additionally lends itself to a glass-half-empty evaluation, nevertheless: specifically, that safety spending is cyclical; {that a} confluence of circumstances has helped to spice up safety spending; and that—let’s be sincere—organizations are likely to bounce again from high-profile safety incidents. Solely time (or future installments of this survey) will inform.

Concluding ideas

It’s onerous to think about that the most popular traits of 2019 gained’t be reprising their roles, in kind of the identical pecking order, in subsequent 12 months’s evaluation. Programming languages come into and exit of vogue, however Python seems poised to continue to grow at a gradual price as a result of it’s directly protean, adaptable, and simple to make use of. We see this within the widespread use of Python in ML and AI, the place it has supplanted R because the lingua franca of information engineering and evaluation.

The identical is true of ML and AI. Even when (as some naysayers warn) the subsequent AI winter is nigh upon us, it’s onerous to think about curiosity in ML and AI tapering off anytime quickly. The identical may very well be mentioned about traits in software program structure and, particularly, infrastructure and operations. They’re every websites of ceaseless innovation. Their practitioners shall be hard-pressed to maintain up with what’s occurring.

It’s useful to think about what’s sizzling and what’s not by way of a modified “Overton Window.” The Overton Window circumscribes the human cognitive bandwidth that’s out there in a sure place at a sure time. No mixture of insurance policies—or points, or traits—can exceed greater than 100% of accessible bandwidth. That is true, to a level, of the exercise on O’Reilly on-line studying, too. A decline in utilization doesn’t should correlate with a decline in use (or usefulness) in follow. It’s simply being crowded out by different, emergent traits.

This additionally underscores why the decline in a bellwether subject reminiscent of JavaScript may be massively vital. Even when these matters are now not websites of fast and sustained innovation, they’re likewise necessary for day-to-day use instances, particularly with respect to general-purpose information-gathering or extra specialised drawback fixing. It isn’t that JavaScript is much less necessary than it was; in any case, React, Angular, and Vue.js are websites of improvement and innovation, and all three are primarily based on JavaScript. It’s that we’re coming to grasp and relate to JavaScript—or knowledge engineering, or Docker, or DevOps and alter administration—otherwise. We’re appropriating them otherwise.

It’s this distinction that Radar goals to seize. Not the change that’s apparent for everybody to see, however the coalescence of change itself because it’s occurring.


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