Freelance technical communicator to the stars. Podcaster, video maker, writer of interactive fiction
It was quite a year for Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies, though I would separate the two terms as much as possible. After starting the year on a post-2017 high, the latter half of 2018 saw values plummet causing blockchain studios and half-baked projects to crash and burn in spectacular style. Even those more isolated from the crashes struggled to finish what they had started — an increasing skepticism to proposing Blockchain as a solution to every problem when the technology is so nascent, and that actual users are hard to find increased the malaise in the ecosystem. At this point, the pessimist might state late 2018 as the time we consigned Blockchain to the technology graveyard and all went back to our distributed databases. The optimist might look at Amazon’s recent blockchain offering as an incentive to adoption, and that all the ecosystem streamlining as a positive step that every technology needs to go through to weed out poor projects. We shall see.
It felt that this year, anyone could decide to add “Ops” to the end of whatever they do in an attempt to sound more credible. Some of these were (in my opinion) more legitimate than others, such as “DocOps” for those who help build and deploy developer documentation portals, or SecurityOps for those working on security deployment. While this trend shows that the idea of automating and defining as much as possible as code is a beneficial and positive step, some of the uses were pure marketing junk.
It felt like 2018 was the year that starting or working for a startup lost something of its sheen. With reality and the Silicon Valley TV show somewhat merging, entrepreneurialism at long last wholeheartedly jumped the shark and became so implanted in the mainstream I doubt your parents would care if you chose it as a career anymore. As more entrepreneurs claim that they are disrupting industries or solving one of life’s problems, while few truly are, skepticism has set in. I found myself sat in far too many pitching and startup events this year blanky staring at the stage, unimpressed with what I was hearing. Combine this with too many startups disrupting lives with no seeming concern for people’s livelihoods, maybe 2019 is the year to take a step back and solve some real problems, and ecosystem problems.
While previous years saw smaller languages that came of age to become an option well worth considering, none stood out to me in 2018 with earlier contenders consolidating instead. For example, I lost count of the number of Java developers who have now switched to Kotlin. With .NET becoming increasingly cross-platform has given the language a new audience.
OK, hmm, well, learn how to program a quantum computer. Those brass boxes look like something from a cyberpunk dystopia and will probably take over the world or something, so at least learn how to get it stuck in an infinite loop.
2018 saw the introduction of the European Union’s GDPR, and while that now gives organizations and individuals the means to take dodgy or incompetent companies to task, it didn’t lessen the number of hacks and data breaches. 2018 saw breaches from Marriott hotels, British Airways, Facebook, Under Armour, Sears, Delta, Quora and many more. I was even personally targetted by two of those. Why so many this year? Have hackers increased their skills, or are companies increasingly lax and complacent? Or, is the pressure on engineers to constantly deliver compromising security and quality?
I haven’t explicitly mentioned voice, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, 5G, and a few other technologies. Mostly because I think in 2018, and in 2019, they will all continue to develop but didn’t need any specific mention.
What do you think? What do I have right and wrong? What are your favorite developments in 2018 and what are you looking forward to in 2019?
Originally published at dzone.com.
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