Insights from the Developer Community

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Insights from the Developer Community

Let's bring the backend to the front with this developer's personal delve into the developer community, as well as some statistical backup.

· Agile Zone ·
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Early in my career, I worked in product management and interacted with a team of highly skilled developers on a platform service. Although there were a few layers between me and the actual developers, I still had an opportunity to get to know them and become friends with them.

Some people have a misconception and tend to generalize that developers are a unique group, using words like introverts to describe them. Shows like Mr. Robot certainly reinforce this image.

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However, my interactions and my perception is different, so I conducted my own research and surveyed the developer community within my network.

Below are some of the insights from the developer audience along with added summaries from research done by Accenture, other consulting firms, Slash Data, and Stackoverflow’s annual developer survey results of over 100,000 developers.

The People Behind the “Dev Team”

When you ask developers what their interests are, you get a sense of adventure from them. For example, developers like to explore whether it be kayaking or trekking and hiking. These are just a few of the responses I collected. Other activities included going hunting and going to the gym.

I also asked what type of movies or books or music they enjoyed, and had a broad spectrum from suspense to history.

Of course, foosball and gaming were a part of the responses from the developer audience.

Other Developer Audience Insights

In a survey conducted by Stackoverflow, I came across of number of observations and findings.

From a skillset perspective, DevOps and ML (machine learning) are important skills, in demand, and well paying. The convergence of disciplines is what will set developers apart in the future. We are already discussing how AI (artificial intelligence) will impact every job out there including coding, so someone that has multiple skills will stand out. Understanding the software and coding, as well as the device and hardware, along with the processes gives a unique perspective that makes a developer more efficient and effective.

Of course, machine learning and AI are highly desirable and rare skills right now and the large technology companies aren’t the only ones building large teams of data scientists and high-end developers.

At the coding level, the survey found that interest in Python went up, and surpassed C# and PHP. ML is playing a factor in the rise in popularity. Again, understanding multiple languages and lower level code that can interact with devices and hardware is a trend that is continuing to grow. Most developers spend their own time learning additional coding languages since this is a fast-paced environment and becoming more competitive.

From an area of focus, most developers identified themselves as back-end developers. Half also identified as full-stack. What was interesting is that despite the surge in mobile usage, hardly 1 in 5 developers associates themselves as a mobile developer. Could this be an opportunity to specialize and stand out?

Something that shouldn’t be a surprise is the use of Git for version control. Most developers have adopted this as a standard. For dev environments, the leader by far is Visual Studio.

Most developers use one of four platforms. While large companies have embraced one of the big 3 public cloud providers, internal apps tend to still be self-hosted. The four platforms include internal systems, Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud Platform [source: Slash Data]. The type of architecture is changing too. 20% of developers are using serverless and 20% are using virtual machines.

Developer Perspective on Future

Developers also have visibility into the future of technology since they are tinkering with, and building what the rest of the world will see tomorrow. This includes the impact of AI and driverless cars, AR and VR (augmented reality and virtual reality).

What’s interesting to tease out from this is the impact of ethics and AI. Whether it is driverless cars or other uses of AI, these are very powerful capabilities. Questions about who will decide the parameters, and whether it will be regulated are still unanswered.

Who decides when a driverless car is facing an impending accident and whether it will choose to injure party A or party B—what is the logic that will calculate that decision? In less drastic scenarios, will it be left to the developer and their morals and ethics to set parameters for how a machine makes decisions?

This is just an example of how the role of the developer is becoming very central within organizations, not just technology centric, but even within society.

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