As 2013 comes to a close, here is my list of things in tech that I’m excited about for 2014.
Listed in no particular order.
- Wearables - From wearables that we’ve seen in 2013 like Google Glass, Pebble, FitBit, Jawbone and the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch and a few others, there will be even more in 2014. Personally, I’m already addicted to them and joining every developer beta program that I can find. Just like when Smartphones started having app stores, wearables will have the same thing.
- Developer video training/courses becomes even more relevant - Remember the days when a TV show came on and you had to be sitting in front of your TV to watch it? Now you use either a DVR or find some sort of online streaming service to watch the show on your time. I think the same goes for developer training courses. You may be on a big project and the only time you can sharpen your skills is in the off-hours. Or if you have some free time to kill and instead of wasting it with regular TV programming you can get quickly up to speed with the latest in software development on your time.
- UI and Code-Sharing - We’ve already seen code reuse with Portable Class Libraries and other cross-platform mobile development tools, but I think 2014 is the year that we go beyond code-sharing and combine it with the UI.
- Cheap smartphones will overtake the market- Look at the Moto G (Android - $180) or the Lumia 520 (WP8 - $145 or cheaper with a AT&T Go Phone) without being locked in a contract. The iPhone unfortunately doesn’t have a device that competes with Android or Windows Phone 8 - but they should. It was a big rumor the iPhone 5C would be the inexpensive iPhone of the future - but it falls short at a starting price of $549 unlocked.
- Mobile is needed in order to succeed - Companies are realizing it every day, but I think 2014 is the year it really takes off. I remember going to conferences with one or two mobile sessions, now there is tracks and even entire conferences devoted to mobile. Companies have realized they need mobile in order to succeed. Thankfully developers have a variety of options to build apps from. I’m a fan of both cross-platform mobile development to native apps.
- 3D Printing is understood and affordable - Right now the average person on the street doesn’t even know what 3D printing is much less what it does. I think in 2014, the average consumer will understand it and it will be affordable to everyone (at the very least the low-end models).
- One, Two, Three and Four Screens to develop for - PC/Laptop, Tablet, SmartPhone and TV is the future. I’ve noticed my personal blog being used by all 4 of these devices and I see the TV even being more relevant as more next-gen consoles enter the home and TVs start shipping internet ready. Adaptive and Responsive web design remains a must have.
- Remote workers become the norm - Yahoo caused a lot of controversy regarding remote workers when they publicly stated that they wanted all remote workers in their office instead of home. Instead if I were a company looking for new employees or keeping my current employees happy, I’d give "37 signals" book a read. It is called “Remote”. On the front cover it says, “Going remote allows the most talented people to produce the best work regardless of their location”. Having the mindset that the best and brightest people ALL live in a certain location is absolutely absurd in 2013 and especially 2014.
- Resumes and degrees become less important - While I have a degree in CIS, I haven’t used it to get a job since the early 2000s. Now it is all about what you have actually done. How well do you get along with the team? What is your Github account username? Do you have a blog and is it active? Are you applying for a developer job? What apps have you built that are in production? What are the current projects that you are working on?
- The console battle continues with only Sony vs. Microsoft - Nintendo just doesn’t get it. They never understood multiplayer outside of people sitting in the same room. Their attempts at online gaming were pathetic and the Wii Mini is another example of this. They shipped a console with Mario Kart (which requires internet for multiplayer) yet the console itself does NOT have internet capabilities. Not only does this prevent people from playing the game online it also stops them from spending money in the Nintendo Store. Mario is headed for Xbox and/or Sony consoles in the near future.
- Air Drones - From everything to Amazon Prime Air to UBER delivering on-demand roses on Valentine’s Day. I can’t wait to see how this plays out with various shipping companies and even Netflix distribution centers.
- Even faster Wi-Fi - I bought a RT-N66U router in 2013, which has 802.11N. I loved the speed increase as we have so many devices in our home. I saw a couple of 802.11AC routers, but I kept thinking that I’ll just wait until they are more mainstream and more hardware supports it. Good thing I waited as now we have 802.11AD routers coming in Feb 2014. To infinity and beyond!
- Paper What? - I recently went to K-Mart and the cashier asked me if I wanted an eReceipt instead of a paper one. Being as I don’t go to K-Mart very often, my first thought was “What?” We’ve seen the transformation over the years and the bottom line is that paper is dying. I’d much prefer to buy an electronic book/magazine/newspaper than a physical one. Mainly for the simple fact that I can bring it with me everywhere I go without lugging 20 pounds of paper around. We are seeing this more and more with not only the items I mentioned earlier but boarding passes, electronic signature like DocuSign and electronic credit card statements. This will be even more relevant in 2014.
As I wrap-up this post, I’d like to throw in some personal advice about 2014: "Life begins where your comfort zone ends.” Push yourself forward in 2014, both professionally and personally. Don’t feel guilty about buying a book or gadget that you can grow with as a developer If you have wrote in one language all of your career, pick up another one and write a simple app. On the flip side, remember that life doesn’t revolve around code. Find the proper work/life balance and put family first. Put down the laptop and spend it with someone you love or pick up a new hobby. Life is too short to not enjoy the small things every single day.