Big data and the growing importance of business analytics are increasingly pushing companies to adopt .NET reporting and similar development tools that allow firms to craft their own high-quality applications. Through these in-house programs, knowledgeable users can create the kinds of applications that they can customize with ease.

The utility and flexibility of .NET reporting applications opens up a multitude of opportunities for developers who know their way around a .NET spreadsheet. Getting an app ready in a short period of time to meet a deadline can be a challenge, but it is possible to do so with the right tools.

In many ways, developing with .NET has changed little over the years, though the development environment has been significantly altered, Simon Bisson wrote in CITEworld. The application servers that once would have hosted .NET programs have given way to the cloud. Building a development environment is no longer necessary, as the cloud itself can be used for testing the outcome of .NET projects.

"A web server crashes, it's automatically restarted, and while it does, its load is handed over to another," Bisson wrote. "They're all likely to be running in separate VMs, possibly in different data centers. If a physical server fails, its load is just moved elsewhere, and the hardware is replaced. It's a model we wouldn't have considered in 2003, but in 2013, it's the way things just work…"

Consumer development
One major change in how apps are being developed is the user interface. Developers used to have an easy time building UIs, but the process has become more complex as applications have to built to work across multiple hardware platforms. In order to work in such an environment, it may be necessary to treat them as services in a workflow. By putting application programming interfaces at the center of an enterprise app, developers can compose programs from discrete services.

.NET reporting is still in high demand among Microsoft developers. A recent study by Visual Studio Magazine found that 19.8 percent of respondents listed the .NET framework as their area of expertise and that they earn an average of about $97,000 annually, falling below only SharePoint and SQL server developers. Visual Studio was the only Microsoft specialty area that ranked higher, with 21.6 percent of respondents calling it their own.The Visual Studio and .NET framework were rated as the top technology for job retention with 82 percent among a field that included HTML and JavaScript, ASP.NET and SQL Servers.