There are 18.5 million software developers in the world, with the United States accounting for 19% of professional developers, according to the latest study released by the technology analyst firm IDC.
Emerging economies such as China and India – which have recently intensified their efforts to gain a larger share of the global technology market – are home to 10% and 9.8% of global software developers respectively. IDC projects low-single-digit percentage growth rates in most countries for the foreseeable future.
The research firm says it conducted the study in 90 countries, which represent 97% of the world’s GDP.
Of the 18.5 million developers worldwide, 11 million are professional software developers and 7.5 million are hobbyist developers, IDC found. Analysts say the growing population of hobbyist software developers is benefiting the software industry by pushing down labor costs significantly.
“The population of hobbyist developers is rapidly changing and the growth of this segment is being boosted by the mobile revolution,” said IDC, adding that the change from code-centric to configuration-centric application development enables some knowledge workers to accomplish tasks that once needed professional developers.
IDC estimates that there are 29 million ICT-skilled workers in the world, including professional software developers, and 18 million operations and management skilled workers. The United States accounts for 22% of the world’s ICT-skilled workers, followed by India with 10.4% and China with 7.6%.
“While the numbers of both developers and ICT-skilled workers are expected to grow over the next few years, shifts in how IT is being delivered through cloud services will favor the growth in developers over other ICT-skilled workers,” said Al Hilwa, program developer in application development software at IDC.