Seemingly Disparate Trends Collide To Impact Developers In 2021

These three trends are poised to have a significant impact on software developers in 2021.


COVID-19 has accelerated many digital adoption trends. With businesses and tech teams working from home, tools and applications are being rapidly developed to survive and thrive in this changing world. In 2021, technology acceleration will permeate the industry and continue to impact developers, data scientists and business users across the board.

In the year to come, a number of nascent technology trends will accelerate. Software developers and vendors should keep their eyes peeled for hybrid GPU/CPU compute in the cloud and the continued dominance and acceleration of JavaScript and Python as ubiquitous coding environments. While seemingly disparate, these trends will have an impact on each other as well as technologists and developers in 2021.

GPUs in mainstream

NVIDIA’s acquisition of ARM for $40 billion in 2020 was a significant event in the world of GPU compute. ARM’s CPUs are in billions of devices worldwide, providing NVIDIA with many targets for its deep learning technologies in edge scenarios. This will accelerate data analytics in the cloud and edge devices in 2021, including computer vision systems, mobile and embedded device applications.

However, this will not slow down the intense cloud storage and compute trend, where Intel and AMD processors are crunching through big data workloads, often side-by-side with NVIDIA GPUs. In fact, the movement of big data from on-prem data centers and Hadoop data lakes to cheap cloud storage is one of the most rapid trends I’ve seen in data management and analytics-driven by the lower cost of cheap cloud storage. Technologists can expect expanded adoption of hybrid GPU/CPU compute in the cloud.

Specifically, high-value examples include visual analytics and data science on huge data e.g. geospatial use cases such as transportation and logistics, natural resource and energy sector operations. Innovative technologies involving LLVM compilation of parameterized SQL, PostgreSQL with GPU, and native GPU Python functionality will flourish.

JavaScript and visual analytics

I see the worlds of self-service BI and visual analytics melding twofold in 2021. BI and analytics vendors will provide seamless experiences for extending their graphics palettes and embedded functionality with native capabilities. Additionally, marketplaces will share extensions across broad communities of practice.

In addition to the change ahead for SQL and Python, the maturation of JavaScript as a design and development environment is phenomenal and will accelerate in 2021. Whether you are working on the front-end with JavaScript, apps and frameworks with React, Angular and vue.js, desktop apps with Electron.js, or backend with Node.js, JavaScript is the ticket! In fact, JavaScript is neck and neck with Python as the most popular language in use.

One area of creative innovation is the use of JavaScript as a specification design and rendering engine for visualizations. Open source environments, specifications, engines like D3 and Vega including commercial kits like Highcharts, ZoomCharts, and Tom Sawyer support larger communities. They’re not just as libraries inside other commercial products but act as direct developer communities.

Visual analysis in cloud-to-edge environments

2021 will bring many technologies to the edge – from data management to visual analysis and data science. Developing, managing and deploying cloud-to-edge machine learning models for computer vision applications requires sophisticated preprocessing, analysis and machine learning capabilities. In addition to event-driven design and integration for model inference, management and operations. Such analytics pipelines have a wide range of applications from customer analytics and demand forecasting in retail, to asset health management, product development and operations scenarios. Image and video feeds from both fixed-site connected cameras and in-motion drones will feed these applications. The advent of new developer environments like AWS Panorama; and cloud services like AWS Lookout for Vision, will provide new tools for developers and fuel growth in this area.

Tech professionals need to keep a 360-degree view on industry changes in 2021. The facets of the developer, programmer, software vendor and analyst roles are varied – leaving many areas of their job to be disrupted. To stay afloat in 2021, professionals should keep an eye on up-and-coming programming languages, and cloud cloud-to-edge services advancements.


Michael O’Connell is the Chief Analytics Officer for TIBCO Software. TIBCO’s revolutionary software allowed communication within the financial markets to occur in real-time and without human intervention. Over the years, TIBCO has evolved, which has allowed the company to stay up-to-date on the latest technological advancements in its field and increase both revenue and assets. In 2014, Vista Equity Partners acquired TIBCO and aided in business ventures. Since the acquisition, TIBCO has continued to flourish, purchasing and incorporating numerous technology platforms and companies, as well as doubling down on philanthropic efforts.