Which technologies are poised to take over in open source?

These technologies are quickly gaining ground on open source stalwarts, creating opportunities for people who become proficient in them.
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When you think of open source technologies, you probably think of the stalwarts, the technologies that have been around for years and years. It makes sense: According to a survey conducted in Q4 of 2016 by my company, Greythorn, 30%+ of participants said established technologies are among the top ten they primarily use.

They may not continue dominating the market for long, however. We compared our survey results from the past three years to identify trends, and our data shows that newer technologies are gaining significant ground on established technologies. For example, Docker is used by 25% of survey respondents, the eighth highest of any technology in the report—and it was only released in 2013. NGINX, used by 14% of survey respondents, is gaining quickly on Apache HTTP Server (18%), which seems to correlate with overall market share trends. Apache Spark (15%) is gaining strongly on the older Apache Hadoop, which was used by 27% of tech professionals participating in our 2015 survey, but only 17% of them in 2017—a decrease of 58%. MapReduce fell similarly from 17% in 2015 to 10% in 2017. Apache Kafka, despite graduating from Apache incubation less than five years ago, reached 11%—not bad for a technology that didn't have a major commercial backer until late 2014.

Open source technologies, graph

Image by Greythorn, All Rights Reserved

There are several conclusions to draw from the report.

We are seeing a significant increase in the use of big data, DevOps, and microservices-type technologies.

When we examine the top 10 technologies, eight out of the 10 are 15+ years old, and nine out of 10 are 10+ years old (Docker is the only younger technology represented). However, looking to the next 20 top technologies, we see an onslaught of new arrivals to the industry: 16% of people surveyed are using Apache Cassandra (released in 2008, 1.0 release in 2011), 15% are using Spark (open sourced in 2012, 1.0 release in 2014), 14% are using NGINX (1.0 release in 2011), and 11% are using Kafka (released in early 2011, not at 1.0 release).

JavaScript is firmly ensconced on the frontend, along with HTML and CSS, but it is also gaining popularity on the backend with Node.JS: 14% of respondents said they were currently using it. AngularJS was the most popular JavaScript framework on the frontend at 11% share. ReactJS, which was released in early 2013, is already gaining users quickly, reaching 7%.

We are seeing a significant increase in the use of big data, DevOps, and microservices-type technologies, which we can expect to continue to accelerate going forward.

So which technologies are ready to take over? Many of them are contenders to be big players, but the number of tools people are using also continues to expand. That means there will be increased difficulty in finding expertise in all pieces of company-specific tech stacks, but also an opportunity for individuals who want to jump in and develop proficiency in some of these newer technologies. A broader toolset should position you well to take advantage of the technology wave.

Which technologies or tools are you using now that you weren't using three years ago?

Scott Hirleman, technical recruiter
Scott is a technical recruiter at Greythorn, focusing on the big data and open source software space (think NoSQL, Spark, NGINX, Graph DBs, etc.). He first started learning about NoSQL in March 2011 and quickly fell in love with the space.

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