Offshore Software Development Trends in 2012

The Drivers of Offshore Software Development

The offshore Software development trend has been around for a while now and many IT as well as non-IT companies all over the world are engaged in outsourcing their software development needs to offshore software development centers due to the various benefits provided by the outsourcing process. One of the leading drivers of this trend has been the reduced cost factor associated with the outsourcing process in general. During the credit crunch caused by the global financial crisis, companies were focused on reducing costs and the offshoring process helped reduce overheads and improve the outsourcing company’s bottom line. In other cases, non-IT firms with no or minimalist IT departments also outsource their software development requirements as developing such software in-house often tends to be cost prohibitive. The lack of expertise of a company with regard to use of a specific set of software tools/platforms necessary for developing one or more applications is another driver commonly associated with such outsourcing. Such non-IT firms include industries from a wide range of sectors including but not limited to transport and logistics; education; healthcare as well as banking and financial services. Each of these sectors and even companies within the same sector, however, require unique solutions suited to their own needs. Many organizations also follow a blended approach by mixing outsourcing with in-house expertise to develop the necessary solutions.

Leading Offshore Software Development Priorities

Many companies across the world are currently engaged in developing new software products/applications according to the requirements of clients. New software development is expected to account for a major portion of the software revenue in 2012 and beyond. A close second is the requirement for companies to upgrade their existing software application by integrating new technologies/modules into their already deployed solutions. In 2012, the integration aspect is expected to gain more ground as new technologies/applications increase the benefits provided to organizations by the current solutions. The main benefit of such integration is the reduced deployment time for the company as well as the decreased cost of development as compared to in-house development. The consumerism of IT (CoIT) trend is also beginning to affect the market as users demand a superior user experience delivered by these solutions. As the market for solutions which go beyond delivering basic functionality expands in 2012 and beyond, the focus of many an offshore software development company is expected to shift towards using new technology to develop better User Interface (UI) and graphics for solutions, which were deployed earlier in the enterprise. Such development is often classified as custom software development, is also expected to witness robust grow among offshore development companies in the year 2012 as well as the recent future driven by increases demand across multiple industries.

Other key functional areas for offshore software development operations include performance improvement-based software development as well as the continued maintenance and support for existing solutions. As more and more companies deploy software solutions in order to gain a competitive advantage in the intensely competitive market, the number of performance enhancement contracts between organizations and offshore software development firms is expected to increase. Another software development area expected to witness rapid growth in 2012 is the development of dedicated mobile apps. The focus on developing apps for mobile is expected to continue in the recent future driven by increased enterprise mobility requirements and the growing adoption of BYOD (bring your own device) philosophy by enterprises. A related area which is forecast to grow in 2012 is the development of cloud apps for use by the enterprise as well as the development of improved security solutions to ensure superior data security and compliance with all existing regulations of data protection.

Leading Deployment Areas for Software developed at Offshore Locations

The requirement of software developed by offshore centers is not limited to any specific industry therefore the list of probable deployment areas is quite large and expected to grow further in 2012 as technological advancements open up new application areas. However, the development of data storage/management/Business Intelligence software is expected to be the leading business area for offshore software developers in 2012. Such solutions are deployed by a wide range of industries to cope with the explosion of digital data and facilitate an informed decision-making procedure, which is expected to propel continued growth of the Business Intelligence solutions market. Other leading deployment areas for software developed at leading offshore locations include applications required by the financial and healthcare sectors as well as solutions deployed for managing processes/projects and applications which are necessary to facilitate enterprise-wide networking and communications. Other areas of interest for these companies in 2012 include applications for facilitating the deployment of e-commerce, CRM, content (document) management platforms, online analytics etc. Overall, in 2012 and beyond, the industry is expected to witness robust growth as companies increase their IT expenditure with the intention of gaining a competitive advantage in the market.

Development Platforms Preferred by Outsourcing Enterprises

Among the available software/application development platforms currently in use today, internet/web-based development platforms are expected to dominate the offshore development market in 2012. However, enterprise application development platforms and SaaS/Cloud-based platforms are also expected to witness growth as more organizations issue contracts for new solutions based on these emerging platforms. The emergence of BYOD is also expected to result in the development of various mobile platform-based applications in the recent future, while desktop application and embedded platforms are expected to witness only marginal growth in 2012 due to the perceived restrictions inherent to these platforms.

Leading Offshore Destinations around the World

Over the years, India has traditionally been the leading offshore software development destination for firms based in the US and Europe. This situation is not expected to change in 2012 even though emerging players are expected to partially erode India’s current lead in the global offshore development market. Emerging markets, where organizations are currently outsourcing their software development requirements include Central and South America mainly Brazil and Mexico; various countries in Eastern Europe; China; countries in the Asia-Pacific region such as Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam; as well as Russia and Ukraine. Over the next few years, these emerging players are expected to provide stiff competition to software development centers based in India. The key criterion for competition among these offshore development centers is forecast to include overall cost, development quality, project/client handling procedures and the total development time required. However, even in the face of such challenges, India is expected to retain a dominant position in the global offshore software development market in the year 2012 as well as in the recent future.

What Is a Software Development Life Cycle?

A set of instructions for the computer to read and understand to perform a specific task is called a Software. Software development is the process to use computer programming to develop a software. This is not new for many, but the topic under consideration will be new for many. SDLC or Software Development Life Cycle, is the process of developing a new software.

The process of developing a software is not difficult to understand. The procedure of SDLC goes like this:

  1. Gathering and then analyzing the requirements to develop a software
  2. Designing of the software
  3. Coding or programming
  4. Testing the software
  5. Deployment
  6. Maintaining the software

Gathering and Then Analyzing the Requirements to Develop a Software

This is the initial phase. Like starting any business, starting to work on a new software requires a plan. The planning phase will include the project managers, stakeholders and even some senior software developers. No matter how professional or for how long the software development company has been operating, the planning is not an easy phase to follow. Although, it would take less time for experts to plan a new project and then to start working on it but still there will be some questions that must always be answered before taking on any project. Following are some questions, which needs answers before taking on the project:

  • Who will be using the software?
  • How they will be using it?
  • What is the required data to input?
  • What will be the output of the input data?
  • What is the purpose?
  • What skills are required?Will there be a need to hire new personnel or the current staff have the right skills and the capacity to work on this new project?

Find their answers. Is the project worth it? A thorough analysis is required here. There will be more questions that need to be answered before taking on this new project. All the work is documented for future reference.

Designing of the Software

Now comes the second phase, the designing of the software. On the basis of the documentation and the results of the first phase, the system and the software is given a design. From this, the developers comes to know the requirements of the hardware and system required to complete their new project. This phase will also define the system architecture. The designing phase will set the requirements for the next phase.

Coding or Programming

Here comes the role of the software developers. The system design documents are now divided into modules and the developers now start their job. This is going to be the longest phase of all. Programming is done here and it’s known to all that programming isn’t an easy job. It needs plenty of time, expertise and patience. Once done, the software developer sends their work to the tester.

Testing the Software

When in the production business, the quality of the product is always monitored and tested. So is the case with a software development. When the coding is done, the software developer sends their work to the Software Quality Assurance department /personnel. They will overlook the work of the software developers. The software quality assurance or the SQA for short will look for bugs and test the software. The test will be made as per the requirements and the guidelines mentioned in the requirements document. Unit testing, integration testing, system testing, acceptance testing is done by the SQA and if found deviations or errors, it’s sent back to the software developer. The procedures will keeps on repeating themselves until the software is bugs free and ready to deploy.

Deployment of the Software

On successful completion of the software and the testing, it is sent to the concerned client or is available to the public.

Maintaining the Software

Only the non-serious professionals or the ones not willing to carry on their business will not look back to their software but the serious developers will. Every software needs updating and maintenance. Whenever the software encounters some troubles, the software developing company will be there to fix it.

SDLC follows a simple procedure and it doesn’t require you to be a businessperson to know all the phases of SDLC. Every software developer and software developing company knows it all. So when hiring a software developing company you can rest assure that the procedure will be done in a professional way and the best product will be delivered.

How Do You Become a Software Developer?

Software developers create computer programs or specialized applications that make it possible for people to use computers. One example of software that was created by developers is a word processor. Another is a spreadsheet. People without technical skills use the programs that are created by a developer.

Developers of software also create another type of software known as “operating system software”. This is the program that controls how computers interact with the hardware and other application software. Microsoft Windows™ is an example of operating system software. It allows humans to use computer hardware so that work can be accomplished.

Software developers analyze user needs and create custom programs as well as test and deploy them. Developers write instructions or documentation for the programs they create, maintain the software and make modifications as needed. Software developers need to have a background in programming but they may supervise or direct a team of programmers working for them. Developers supervise the building of information systems to support organizational goals.

There are specialized software developers, too. A good example would be the individuals who work on game development or in writing specialized programs for mobile devices or other consumer applications. A writer of computer code for environmental control systems, for example, would require an expert developer of software for the equipment.

Becoming a software developer requires a strong background in programming. A four-year college degree in computer information systems or computer science is normally considered to be the minimum to become a developer. Developers use computer languages, developer platforms and other software tools such as flowcharts and context diagrams. Ideally the developer would also need to possess specialized knowledge associated with the field in which he or she is working (i.e. healthcare, law enforcement, etc.).

Developers of software need to be analytical and possess excellent communication skills. They must enjoy working to produce a product that is subject to extensive testing and re-writing of computer code. Writers of software must be able to use logic and reasoning to create solutions to complex problems and must also possess superior judgment.

A developer’s career path would most likely have begun as a programmer working as part of a development team. An individual beginning as a programmer would gradually assume more responsibility, gain more knowledge and experience and be given increasingly more important tasks. Certification would be a plus.

A software developer’s career would benefit from obtaining certification as a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer. It requires knowledge of Video Studio. Other levels of certification are provided by various vendors including SUN Microsystems™. The IEEE has two: Certified Software Developer Associate and Certified Software Developer Professional.

The salary of software developers in 2012 ranged from $59,750 to $122,750. The outlook for employment is strong. There is a continuing demand as developer of software, especially in the area of product manager. The growth in the number of positions between now and 2020 is estimated to be 30%.

Becoming a software developer requires extensive knowledge and experience but the rewards are significant.