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VMware 2023 Predictions: Platform Engineering Improves Developer Experience, Tech Layoffs Solve Enterprise Talent Gaps


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual series exclusive.

Platform Engineering Improves Developer Experience, Tech Layoffs Solve Enterprise Talent Gaps

By Michael Cote - Developer Advocate, VMware Tanzu

With the continued rise in Kubernetes adoption and a looming recession on the horizon, organizations in 2023 will need to shift their thinking regarding how best to weather the storm. Next year organizations will need to place a bigger emphasis on implementing developer-friendly tools and practices while continuing to educate and nurture their developer talent.

VMware's developer advocate, Michael Cote shares his thoughts on what organizations need to keep in mind in 2023 to better support and equip their DevOps teams for success.

Platform Engineering will drive a renewed interest in the basic concepts of DevOps: In recent years, the rise in Kubernetes adoption has led to a simultaneous decrease in positive developer experiences (surveys keep showing that app developers struggle with Kubernetes). Organizations are coming to realize that they'll need an app developer friendly platform layer coupled with all the usual developer collaboration tools on top of the Kubernetes instance to ensure developer productivity. As a result, DevOps theory has been evolving. People like to use the phrase "platform engineering" now, which I think is fair: it denotes some new thinking about  standardizing developer tools, with the promise of driving better developer experience. That leads to better developer productivity and also better governance controls.

I think what happened here is that as organizations were figuring out the container management layer ("CaaS" if you like) over the past five or seven years, they sort of put improving developer experience on hold. All of their effort was focused on the ups and downs of finally deciding that Kubernetes was the "winner." As with any infrastructure layer, Kubernetes is a leaky abstraction: it requires changing app architectures (and even practices!) to get the full benefits of cloud native. I think organizations are towards the end of that now, so they can get back to improving developer experience. This is why, all the sudden (after years of existing) things like Backstage and the Tanzu Application Platform are getting attention: they take advantage of Kubernetes and cloud native workflows to improve developer productivity and, even, joy.

In 2023, I predict that this will finally be the year organizations invest in developer experience, especially as they try to get more out of developers. Organizations that don't will putter along when it comes to using software to run and grow their business. Our job as the overall cloud native community is to push people to pay less attention to Kubernetes and more to the unique ways they can improve how they use their own software to run a better business.

Smart organizations will invest in closing the talent and skills gap: With all the gloom and doom about "The Economy," if organizations aren't careful they're going to fall into a totally predictable trap. In order to cut costs, organizations are freezing hiring. However, in a few years they'll face the ramifications of those decisions: a very thin staff of IT ops and developer staff, and a broader struggle with hiring the right people with the right skills. You see this with organizations who "optimized" their balance sheets (and probably got better EBITA, or whatever) by outsourcing too much of their IT. Now those organizations find it difficult to innovate with software. Organizations need to realize that their investments in IT and line-of-business apps are products that run their business and require ongoing management, support, and upkeep. If there's some stressing about economic conditions in 2023, I predict that the most successful organizations will be the ones that understand that macro-headwinds come and go, but the software needs to run your business are constant. Amidst tightening budgets, hiring freezes and a labor shortage, organizations should invest in training and upskilling to close talent and skills gaps, and in turn, help better equip the business to operate with a lean team in a down economy. Training can even be done on the job - pair programming, for example, is a proven methodology that can help experienced and junior developers learn from each other - even in a remote setting.




Michael Coté studies how large organizations get better at building software to run better and grow their business. His books Changing Mindsets, Monolithic Transformation, and The Business Bottleneck cover these topics. He’s been an industry analyst at RedMonk and 451 Research, done corporate strategy and M&A, and was a programmer. He also co-hosts several podcasts, including Software Defined Talk.

Published Tuesday, January 24, 2023 8:30 AM by David Marshall
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