5 Innovative Industries Embracing Rust in 2024

8 min

Despite being a relatively new addition to the world of computer programming, Rust has already played a vital role in reshaping a number of innovative industries. From cutting-edge embedded systems to state-of-the-art cloud computing solutions, Rust has enhanced a wide array of sectors with its market-leading performance, memory safety, and concurrency features. 

According to the latest State of the Developer Nation Survey, 3.5 million programmers now claim to use Rust professionally, up from 600,000 in 2020. This rise in Rust developers is welcome news for companies thinking about leveraging the language for their applications and services, but just how versatile is Rust? 

To answer this all-important question, we’ll delve into 5 of the most innovative sectors that are embracing Rust. We hope to give you a better idea of how Rust can be used, its benefits, and whether this contemporary programming language is a viable option for your business. 

This guide covers the following industries: 

  1. Embedded Systems
  2. WebAssembly
  3. Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
  4. Cloud Computing
  5. Game Development

1. Embedded Systems 

The embedded systems sector has grown significantly over the past few years, especially due to the rising demand for connected devices, automation, and advancements in software and hardware. The industry’s global market size is projected to reach $157 billion by 2030, an eye-watering figure indicating that the embedded systems sector is set to be a significant economic contributor for many years to come. 

There are various trends influencing the unstoppable growth of the embedded systems market, including: 

  • Internet of Things: The growing number of Internet of Things-powered devices has been a crucial driver in the rise of the embedded systems industry. The rising demand for compact, efficient computing solutions to power devices in smart homes, healthcare, industrial automation, and other sectors has caused business to boom in the embedded systems space. 
  • Heightened Cyber Security Concerns: Cyber security has become a high-priority concern for businesses in the embedded systems market. In response, manufacturers are designing embedded systems with robust security features to safeguard against cyber threats and ensure the integrity of sensitive data and other private information. 
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: The integration of AI and machine learning technology into embedded systems is also fuelling growth. This process enables devices to carry out intricate computations more efficiently, improving responsiveness and minimising the need for constant data transfer. You may find AI-enabled embedded systems in robotics, image recognition, and language processing applications.

Given the pivotal role of the embedded systems industry in the global economy, it is unsurprising that firms in this sector are looking for ways to streamline their processes. One such way the embedded systems sector is looking to optimise its processes is by embracing Rust programming language. But why? 

Let’s take a look at the advantages Rust provides for organisations in the embedded systems sector: 

  • Reduces Memory-Related Errors: Resource efficiency and protection against memory-related errors are essential in embedded systems. Thanks to its unique ownership system, Rust ensures higher levels of memory safety without the need for notoriously sluggish garbage collection. 
  • Facilitates a More Predictable Performance: Rust allows low-level control over hardware, enabling developers to write code that closely matches the performance characteristics of the underlying hardware. This is important in embedded systems where real-time performance is often required.
  • Improved Concurrency: Rust's ownership and borrowing system helps prevent data races, making it easier to write concurrent code without sacrificing safety. This is particularly beneficial in embedded systems where efficient handling of concurrent tasks is essential.

2. WebAssembly

Next up on our list of innovative industries embracing Rust is WebAssembly. Like embedded systems, the WebAssembly sector is a rapidly expanding area of the tech industry. This sector is focused on the development and implementation of WebAssembly (also referred to as WASM), a binary format designed to run code in web browsers and other environments. WebAssembly can provide many benefits for companies, including better performance and enhanced cyber security. 

From gaming firms like Unity and Epic Games to edge computing companies like Fastly and Cloudflare, tech businesses of all kinds are leveraging WebAssembly to power exceptional performance and smoother user experiences. According to the most recent State of WebAssembly survey, 41% of organisations claim to be using WebAssembly in production, and 28% state that they are planning to use it within the coming year. The research also found that it is the most commonly used language for WebAssembly, with JavaScript the second most frequently used. 

So, why is Rust the most popular WebAssembly coding language for the third year running? What can Rust developers do to improve the operations of companies that leverage WebAssembly? Let’s explore the reasons why Rust has gained traction among WebAssembly users: 

  • Minimal Runtime: Rust's minimal runtime and ability to produce small, optimised binaries make it a perfect choice for those working in the  WebAssembly sector. This means Rust-generated WebAssembly modules are typically smaller and more efficient, which is crucial for web applications where minimising download time is paramount.
  • Enhanced Memory Safety: Rust's emphasis on memory safety and performance makes it an excellent fit for WebAssembly. Rust's ownership model helps prevent bugs like null pointer dereferences, buffer overflows, and data races, thereby making WebAssembly modules more secure and robust.
  • Outstanding Interoperability: Rust's interoperability with JavaScript is excellent, simplifying communication between WebAssembly modules and JavaScript code. This can make it much simpler for developers to leverage existing JavaScript libraries and frameworks while gradually incorporating Rust-powered WebAssembly code at the same time. 

As we’ve established in this guide, Rust is an incredibly versatile programming language with a wide array of potential uses and applications. If you’d like to learn more about the various ways Rust developers leverage the language, we urge you to read our ‘5 Ways Rust Programming Language Is Used’ guide. 

3. Blockchain and Cryptocurrency 

Blockchain and cryptocurrency are sectors that have a long-standing relationship with the Rust programming language. Despite it being a relatively new language, Rust has found favour with blockchain developers, so much so that more than 50 blockchain frameworks are built with Rust or supported by it. However, before we get into the reasons why Rust is synonymous with blockchain and cryptocurrency, let’s examine how this sector has become one of the economy’s most innovative industries. 

Research shows that a staggering 300 million people use blockchain for cryptocurrency, making it clear that business is booming in this sector. As a decentralised ledger technology capable of recording transactions across numerous computers, blockchain offers numerous benefits for users, including robust security, immutability, and global accessibility. Blockchain is integral to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, providing them with a decentralised and secure infrastructure. 

There are many trends and developments impacting the blockchain and cryptocurrency space, including: 

  • Technological Advancements: The unstoppable advancement of state-of-the-art technology is having a profound effect on the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors. With continuous improvements to blockchain technology, blockchain developers can support companies in making their cryptocurrency assets all the more scalable, secure, and private. 
  • Increasing Adoption: The ever-growing adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies among institutional investors and traditional financial institutions is driving prosperity in the sector. Increased adoption adds a layer of legitimacy and extra capital to the blockchain and cryptocurrency market, thereby fuelling innovation and success. 
  • Evolving Regulatory Environment: A common feature of many innovative industries these days is an increasingly complex regulatory landscape. The blockchain and cryptocurrency space is no exception, with changes to regulatory frameworks happening all the time. This is largely down to governments releasing policies addressing issues like taxation, money laundering, and investor protection. 

It’s no secret that the blockchain and cryptocurrency world is at the forefront of innovation, and considering this unwavering commitment to technological progress, there can be little wonder why so many firms within this sector have chosen to embrace Rust programming language. Rust developers in this field should have no trouble in finding employment, but why? What is it about Rust that so impresses blockchain developers and crypto experts? 

Here are the key advantages of leveraging Rust in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector: 

  • Concurrency Support: Blockchain systems typically need to process multiple transactions at the same time. As such, Rust’s support for concurrency and parallelism makes it perfectly suited for developing blockchain networks that are designed to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. 
  • Excellent Performance:  Like the embedded systems and WebAssembly sectors, it is paramount for blockchain and cryptocurrency systems to be as efficient as possible. By avoiding runtime garbage collection, Rust can achieve an exceptional level of efficiency and performance, enabling much quicker transaction processing and improved scalability for blockchain applications. 
  • Robust Safety and Security: Security and privacy are incredibly important in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector. Blockchain developers can reduce security vulnerabilities associated with issues like memory leaks and buffer overflows by using a language with outstanding memory safety like Rust. The language’s unique ownership and borrowing system is built to minimise memory and safety issues, making it ideal for safeguarding financially sensitive information.

4. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is another fascinating sector in which Rust programming language reigns supreme. As one of the world’s most exciting and innovative industries, cloud computing is expected to be worth an eye-watering $1,240 billion by 2027. And why is it so popular? The answer to that key question lies in the valuable computing services it provides for users and tech companies. 

Cutting-edge cloud computing software enables users to gain access to databases, software, networks, and applications without the need for local infrastructure or management. The sector is defined by constant technological innovation and fierce competition between companies looking to provide customers with the most high-quality, efficient cloud computing platform. Given that more than 90% of organisations now use the cloud, this sector’s unstoppable ride doesn’t show any signs of losing its edge any time soon. 

Here are the various advantages that cloud computing offers businesses: 

  • Cloud computing removes the need for physical infrastructure, thereby reducing expensive maintenance fees and upfront costs
  • Cloud-powered applications and tools can facilitate collaboration between team members 
  • By providing access to cutting-edge technologies like AI and big data analytics, cloud computing enables companies to innovate and design new products faster
  • Cloud computing helps companies bolster cybersecurity measures by offering better data protection and disaster recovery services 
  • Cloud services are scalable and flexible, capable of being adjusted to meet changing customer demands

Similar to the other innovative industries we’ve explored in this guide, cloud computing is adopting Rust programming language at a growing rate. There are various examples of cloud computing firms choosing to embrace this modern programming language, including Amazon Web Services’ decision to use Rust to build Firecracker, a program that powers a number of serverless services. 

Let’s delve into the key factors behind cloud computing’s commitment to using Rust: 

  • Impressive Memory Safety: Unlike popular languages like C and C++, Rust uses a unique ownership system that is effective in reducing memory leaks, dangling pointers, and other memory-related vulnerabilities. This can dramatically reduce the risk of security exploits and crashes, making Rust ideal for building secure cloud infrastructure. 
  • Resource Efficiency: Owing to its memory safety and efficiency, Rust can facilitate low resource consumption. Unlike languages with potentially sluggish garbage collectors, Rust does not need a separate garbage collection process, thereby making it suitable for cloud environments where resource efficiency is essential for keeping costs manageable. 
  • Outstanding Performance: As we alluded to earlier, Rust boasts an incredibly fast performance. Its zero-cost abstractions allow Rust developers to create applications with a modicum of runtime overhead, something that is vital for cloud-based services that must handle large volumes of data. 

5. Game Development

Last up on our list of innovative industries embracing Rust is game development. This sector has enjoyed a great deal of good fortune over the last few years, with experts estimating that it will generate $211 billion in revenue by 2025. While the game development sector has always been relatively profitable, it has experienced a surge in financial prosperity in recent years. 

There are many contributory factors to the game development industry’s unprecedented growth, including increased accessibility via smartphones and affordable internet access, a rising number of older adults enjoying video games, and higher rates of game engagement owing to streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube. The COVID-19 pandemic also contributed to the gaming industry’s rapid growth, as more people turned to video games for entertainment and social interaction. 

Last year saw 3.38 billion people worldwide play video games, and as the demand for cutting-edge, interactive games increases, the game development sector will continue to craft games that are efficient, fun, and bug-free. Until fairly recently, game development companies were able to achieve this by using languages like C++ and C#, and while these traditional, reliable languages remain the go-to options for developers, Rust programming language is fast becoming a go-to option for many game developers. 

For Rust developers looking to enrich their programming skills in a new industry, they are likely to find suitable roles in game development. And what are the reasons behind the game development sector’s Rust revolution? Here are the key factors: 

  • Fast Performance: Speed is crucial in game development, and that’s why developers opt for highly performant languages like C, C++, and, of course, Rust. With its zero-cost abstractions and top-notch safety features, Rust offers exceptional performance without sacrificing safety, making it ideal for resource-intensive game applications. 
  • Reduced Security Vulnerabilities: Rust can prevent security vulnerabilities thanks to its strict compile times. By doing this, the language mitigates the risk of common programming glitches like data races and buffer overflows, issues that can result in security problems and crashes. In the gaming industry, stability and security are of paramount importance, and many game developers appreciate Rust’s emphasis on safety. 
  • Concurrency and Parallelism: Video games typically require applicants to perform multiple computations simultaneously, and Rust’s parallelism support makes it a perfect choice for building game applications with concurrent code. Rust’s distinctive ownership model guarantees high levels of memory safety without the need for a garbage collector.

Final Thoughts On 5 Innovative Industries Embracing Rust 

Having emerged as an influential programming language, Rust has played a key role in reshaping various cutting-edge industries, from embedded systems to game development.  Rust’s unparalleled performance, memory safety, and concurrency features have made it a go-to choice for companies seeking efficiency, security, and scalability in their applications and projects.

Rust's versatility is abundantly clear across sectors like embedded systems, WebAssembly, blockchain and cryptocurrency, cloud computing, and game development. Whether it's reducing memory-related errors in embedded systems, optimising performance in cloud computing, or ensuring security in blockchain applications, Rust has a special talent for consistently proving its worth. 

As Rust continues to gain traction and popularity among developers, it's clear that its impact will only grow stronger in the years to come. Whether you’re a tech startup thinking about making the move to Rust, or a large-scale technology firm looking for better ways to incorporate the language into your processes, one thing is for sure: Rust has the potential to revolutionise and enrich your projects and processes.

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