In recent years, microservice architecture (MSA) has been growing in popularity within the software development world and employers in the IT space are starting to look for candidates with experience using this method.

If you’re not familiar with the term, microservices refers to a method of developing software applications in a way that you can independently deploy a set of small, narrowly-focused, modular services. In this method, each service runs a unique process and communicates using either a synchronous protocol such as HTTP/REST or an asynchrounous protocol such as AMQP. Currently, there is no agreed definition and no defined model standard of microservices so it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is and the direction it will go in in the future. One way to understand the concept further is to compare it to the well-used monolithic architectural style.

A monolith application is always built as a single, autonomous unit. An example of an application with a monolithic architecture is a single Java WAR file. Whilst the monolith approach has been used by the likes of Netflix, Amazon and eBay, due to limitations of this architectural style, these companies are now moving towards microservices as a preferred development method.

So why are developers turning to a new development style?

The digital landscape is constantly evolving and with the growing need to develop enterprise applications which can support a range of platforms and devices, developers need a method which is robust and scalable. With microservices, each service is developed and deployed independently so when modifications are required, the developer only needs to make changes to the specific service rather than redeploy the entire application. Other benefits include better fault isolation (if one microservice fails, the others can continue to work), ease of integrating with third-party services and speed of deployment.

Of course, as with any development method, there are also some cons of microservices and it has its own unique complexities and barriers to overcome. Knowing when to opt for the microservice method based on the challenges a business has is key and it may not suit all development requirements. 

Whether or not, microservice architecture becomes the preferred option for developers in the future, the trend is certainly going that way, as Neil Toms, Digital Technology specialist, Networkers, explains: “In the past few months, we’ve seen a number of requests from clients looking for candidates with experience in microservices. Typically, they are seeking technologists with a breadth of software experience, who understand the full end-to-end software delivery cycle across different platforms.”

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