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Who Are Software Developers, and What Do They Want?

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Who Are Software Developers, and What Do They Want?

Knowing your audience is the first step to creating any effective marketing campaign, and it’s even more important when targeting the difficult developer segment

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While developers are a diverse group, we can draw some demographic and psychographic conclusions about them as a whole.

Developer Demographics

Since developers are such a desired market, there’s been significant research into the basics of who they are. Key findings include the following.

  • The industry is heavily male-dominated – 94% of developers are male
  • Developers are fairly young. The average age is 29.6 years, and the average number of years of professional experience is 6.5 
  • Developers are highly-educated. 40.7% of respondents to our DZone surveys have a BA or BS, 34.5% have a Master’s degree, and 4.4% hold a PhD
  • Software development is global, with the largest concentrations in Asia (34%), Europe (30%), and North America (25%) 
  • Despite the growing popularity of mobile apps, the majority of developers in DZone’s audience (60.9%) work primarily on web applications
  • Developers are high earners, with an average annual income of $100,690 in the United States 
  • Developer income levels vary by segment and industry. The highest paying industry? Cloud. The lowest? Wordpress

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DZone Developer Survey Results: "What is the Highest Level of Education You've Received?" 

Values and Lifestyle

One of the major values shared by developers is a commitment to learning. 47% of developers consider themselves “self-improvers," and 70.1% cite “learning new technologies” as important to them.

Developers also value sharing their knowledge and expertise. In the past three years, more than 3,700 individual developers have contributed articles to DZone.com, and almost 10,000 have shared links.

A survey of DZone.com’s MVBs, or “Most Valuable Bloggers,” revealed 64.7% of them joined the program in order to share their knowledge and expertise.

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DZone Developer Survey Results: "What specific books, websites, communities, coursework, hackathons, etc. do you currently use to learn about software development?"

Developer Personalities

We’ve mentioned that software developers have some unique personality traits. In order to understand our own developer audience at bit more thoroughly, we surveyed our community of software professionals.

We found that developers tend to be collaborative, preferring to work in groups rather than alone. They also typically prefer newer, more cutting-edge tech solutions to established, mature software. Only 16% of developers identify as “specialists," while 84% are “Jacks-of-all-trades.”

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The personality breakdown of DZone's developer audience

Pain Points

Understanding what developers dislike can be as important as knowing what they love. The software creation process is a challenging one, with changing deadlines, varied responsibilities, and multiple project layers. Trained to solve problems and expected to manage complex issues, developers face a number of obstacles and difficulties.

Many challenges developers face stem from technological and code issues. For example, Stack Overflow, another popular developer site, surveyed developers and found they cited “inefficient development processes” (30.3%), “fragile code base” (29.6%), and “outdated technologies” (24.8%) as major workplace problems.

Developers are also not immune to the typical challenges faced by corporate employees of all types. Changing deadlines, unrealistic expectations, poor communication between departments, and unclear requirements can create roadblocks in the software development cycle.

Outside the Office

When not at work, developers engage in a number of hobbies and activities. The most common, at least among DZone’s audience, are reading, spending time with family, coding for fun, music, and learning.

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DZone Developer Survey Results: "What do you like to do in your spare time?" 

Final Takeaways

Knowing your audience is the first step to creating any effective marketing campaign, and it’s even more important when targeting the difficult software developer segment. By understanding developers’ key values and major problems, you can present your solutions and services in a compelling and authentic way.

For more information on the developer market, including some fun facts about DZone devs in particular, check out our Marketing to Developers ebook

Marketing to Developers? Discover the do's and don't's when it comes to engaging developers. Download the Developer Marketing eBook.

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