16 January 2019

Common Software Development Challenges (and How to Face Them)


Software development challenges occur to everyone. Both startups and experienced CEOs need to face them, sometimes.

The IT world is no different. There are a lot of question marks but this one always stays current:

What are the main software development challenges and how to face them?

And though it’s impossible to write all of them down, we decided to pick a few and address them from our standpoint.

3 Software development challenges to look out for

1. Security of computer systems

Take care about security

Sure, cybersecurity is a trendy topic nowadays, and the Internet is awash with it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t serious. And I’m not even talking about advanced exploits – programmers are consciously creating various kinds of backdoors to make testing and debugging easier. Having superusers and uber-admins with full access to everything is like begging for data leaks, which are like one of the Egyptian plagues lately.

Software developers use ready-to-go solutions, libraries and frameworks more and more often, and even if your own code is secure, we can’t be sure that the external libraries are too.

On the other hand, there is a problem with low awareness of people using our systems. It has long been known that the biggest problem that we – as programmers – may encounter is that moving, organic element between the chair and the computer, which is thoughtlessly typing on the keyboard.

Ways to reduce cybersecurity threats

It’s difficult to eliminate the risks connected to the security of our computer systems completely, but I am sure that we can take some steps to minimise it.

  • Firstly, we could create a separate unit within a company that would be responsible for security, software audits, processes and preparing standards for security purposes. What’s more, that unit could also create some kind of a whitelist of libraries which are relatively safe to use.
  • Secondly, we could perceive security problems as non-functional requirements or acceptance criteria from the perspective of functionalities or tasks done by a programmer.
  • Thirdly, we could conduct internal training seminars, presentations and knowledge exchanges, or even cooperate on this matter with other companies from the IT industry.

2. Legacy code

It’s hard to count the computer systems that have been, are being and will be created. There is a whole heap of software functions which must be maintained properly. Unfortunately, in the IT industry, such products as software age rapidly. Five or six years is a gigantic gap in IT.

Outdated solutions usually require older versions of computer systems, browsers, etc., and on one hand, this prevents their development and competitiveness, and on the other, creates problems regarding system security.

There is also another side to it – we, as programmers, would like to work on new, ambitious projects using the latest technologies. And this is simply not possible in the case described above.

Meanwhile, it’s obvious for you to require that only the latest tech is used for your project. And rightly so. But someone has to maintain that old code, right? So… what can we do about that?

Ways to plan software architecture

The first thing is systems’ architecture – creating solutions which are as modular as possible. Thanks to this, their particular elements may be replaced by newer ones over time. However, sometimes this is not possible – in such a case, it would be great to have a well-planned product or project lifecycle.

Remember about forecasting the saturation stage and replacing the old solution with a new one. Of course, this should be done in advance – not when everything has collapsed and is no longer repairable.

Making room for future updates will also allow you to avoid technical debt, which is the cost of additional re-working of code, due to the choice of applying a limited solution before.

3. Workforce shortage

The problem expressed in the heading may be perceived in many dimensions. On one hand, the IT industry lacks specialists, and this situation is getting worse and worse.

But on the other hand, specific companies find it hard to hire programmers who will provide added value. And keeping them aboard over time is even harder.

As a business owner, you have two main options:

  • Outsourcing allows you to reach IT talents worldwide, while also reducing some costs of hiring programmers in-house.
  • Extended team model, on the other hand, is a great way to expand your team with the roles you lack for one, specific project.

Another solution? Automation. More and more tools are helping us to create computer systems without programming skills through friendly interfaces, i.e. e-commerce platforms, platforms for creating simple mobile applications. This trend will stay strong in the future, and these platforms will be more complex.

No, I don’t mean replacing programmers with artificial intelligence, because this idea is ridiculous.

How to find software developers for your project?

What can you do about finding software developers to work with? How to solve typical problems or questions regarding the safety of IT outsourcing?

At SoftwareHut, we strongly recommend working with companies that put relationships first. Working with someone that treats you as a partner, not a client, makes a big difference.

For us, partnering with others on a project means that we’re not passively doing what’s required, but put in the effort to ask, learn about your goals and strategy, etc. Why? This allows us to come up with better solutions.

You can use client reviews (yes, they still matter) to find out what others said about working with an IT company. We use Clutch, as it offers unbiased opinions you can trust.

Learn more about outsourcing IT projects

Mariusz Dobrowolski
Software Developer

Programmer and new technologies enthusiast, who will not shun from any programming language. Professionally, for five years connected with the .NET platform. Seeker of innovative and creative solutions. Multiple finalist of nationwide IT competitions, therein a two-time winner of the world’s largest technology contest for students - ImagineCup.