Business Tips

8 Tips for Managing a Remote Development Team

While remote work has many benefits for developers, notably work-life balance, it has several drawbacks. One of which is communication. 

Since remote development teams aren’t present in the same physical space, it’s often difficult to communicate, build relationships, or develop any sort of rapport. These all negatively impact collaboration, productivity, and your bottom line. 

Thankfully, companies that know how to manage remote development teams get high-quality results. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Several things need to be in place to get the best out of your remote development team. Before we share them, let’s re-examine the foundation of a remote development team.

What Is a Remote Software Development Team?

8 Tips for Managing a Remote Development Team
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A remote or virtual team refers to individuals who work across multiple cities, countries, and even continents to achieve an organizational goal. And a remote software development team is a group of technically trained people who design and create computer software programs and systems for an organization. 

Managing a remote development team requires specific approaches, which we discuss in the next section. 

Best Practices for Managing a Remote Development Team

The first step is hiring right, which means looking beyond technical expertise. 

For example, you need to make sure that candidates are the right fit culturally. You want developers who are communicative and open to new perspectives. Once you get recruitment right, you’re ready to leverage the potential of your remote team. 

1. Set Clear Expectations and Goals 

In a successful remote development team everyone understands what success looks like. From the start, set the bar on the standards of performance and output you expect from your remote development team. 

Communicate your expectations to the team regarding work hours, communication channels, deadlines, and deliverables. Document this information so team members can easily access it when they need clarification.

However, be sure to set realistic and attainable milestones. This keeps the entire team in sync and within a feasible time frame, and enhances team morale and productivity. Conversely, unrealistic goals will result in inconsistent periods of productivity and an exhausted development team. 

2. Provide the Right Tools and Resources

Although it may sound obvious, don’t forget to give your team the proper hardware and software. Consider providing funds to your remote development team to allow them to purchase or replace outdated equipment and optimize their workspace. Give them access to all the documentation needed to carry out their tasks effectively. 

8 Tips for Managing a Remote Development Team
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Ensure each developer can access a reliable internet connection and provide them with the necessary software, which includes the following:

  • Communication: Slack, Vonage, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom are invaluable to stay connected and collaborate effectively.
  • Project management: Jira, Trello, Asana, and Basecamp keep remote development teams organized and on schedule.
  • Code collaboration: Popular solutions like GitHub, GitLab, and BitBucket help remote development teams create code together.
  • Cloud storage: Google Drive and Dropbox allow remote teams to share files and collaborate. 
  • Time tracking: Solutions like Harvest, Toggl, and RescueTime are helpful to track hours across projects.

3. Build Trust and Communicate Effectively

Miscommunication in remote work leads to errors, delayed projects, and failure to achieve goals. So, both parties must communicate effectively. 

Poor timing is typically the cause of miscommunication. For example, if you try to communicate while the dev team is in a tricky coding session, you’re unlikely to gain their undivided attention. This is when details are lost.

It’s better to schedule regular stand-up meetings with your remote dev team. Everyone can be transparent about what they’re working on in this meeting. Then, you can identify potential roadblocks and facilitate necessary collaboration. 

Of course, it’s difficult to find a time that works for everyone — especially if you have developers around the world. In this case, reduce the number of video meetings and switch to chat. Maybe create a Slack channel for stand-ups and let team members read the thread at their convenience.

You may also improve communication by leveraging your phone system’s DID feature (what is DID? It’s direct inward dialing) to reach internal extensions directly without going through an operator. Phone conversations are often more clear and concise than emails or chats, especially when discussing complex technical issues. 

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4. Close Communication Lines During Off-Hours

While it is crucial to prioritize communication for globally distributed teams, don’t overdo it. You want your remote development team to have a healthy work-life balance. So establish clear boundaries for communication during off-hours:

  • Encourage your remote team to disconnect and recharge during their time off. To help, be sure to set clear expectations on response times. 
  • Make them understand that they don’t have to be available 24/7 and that taking time to respond to non-urgent messages is okay. The practice creates a sense of respect for personal time and allows your team to recharge. 
  • Consider implementing a rotating schedule for on-call duties. This ensures rotation among team members, provides everyone with equal time off, and reduces burnout.

5. Establish and Follow Clear Guidelines

There must be guidelines for managing a remote development team to ensure consistent expectations. These guidelines should cover various aspects of team collaboration, such as project deadlines, communication protocols, and task management. 

The remote software dev team should know when to collaborate with external stakeholders and how to communicate. If you use outbound call center outsourcing services for market research and surveys, let the development team understand the specific requirements and expectations. 

When developing guidelines, be sure to:

  • Identify what needs to be accomplished and when: Team members can prioritize the most critical tasks and allocate their time effectively.
  • Decide on the primary communication channel: This helps maintain continuity and context across email, chat platforms like Slack, or video conferencing tools.
  • Encourage open communications and regular updates: Regular check-ins and status updates help keep everyone aligned and ensure that work progresses smoothly.
  • Establish guidelines for handling conflicts and resolving issues: Open communications put team members at ease to express their views. It is also important to monitor remote employees on their goals and productivity levels.

6. Promote Collaboration and Teamwork

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Among the qualities you want in your remote development team is the ability to work independently. However, it is equally crucial for them to be team players when necessary. Several tasks, like brainstorming sessions and code reviews, require remote team members to work together.

But this doesn’t happen overnight. It needs to be ingrained in your culture and reinforced regularly. To develop this culture:

  • Create clear communication channels and expectations.
  • Provide your remote development team with the tools they need to collaborate, like chat, video conferencing, and project management software.
  • Facilitate team collaboration by simplifying communication. For example, registering a domain to create personalized email addresses for each team member can improve communication. Domain registrations also help establish a sense of professionalism within your remote development team. 
  • Schedule regular check-ins and team meetings to discuss progress and identify potential issues. This is a good time for team members to ask for help when they need it and provide constructive feedback to one another.

It’s important to foster a supportive and inclusive environment to promote collaboration. Success becomes inevitable when everyone is happy to work together and invested in the same goal.

7. Implement Clear Log-On and Log-Off Hours

When team members have set hours for work, it helps establish a routine and creates a sense of structure. This is especially important when working across different time zones.

Encourage your team to determine their log-on and log-off hours based on their productivity and availability. Some team members may prefer early mornings, while others may be more productive in the afternoon or evening. 

Allowing flexibility within these hours empowers your team to work at their optimal times.

Communicate these log-on and log-off hours to the entire team so everyone knows each other’s availability. It helps prevent misunderstandings and ensures that employees are reachable during work hours.

8. Account for Asynchronous Scheduling

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With team members spread across different time zones, finding a balance that allows everyone to collaborate effectively is crucial. 

Encourage your team to use tools and practices that enable asynchronous communication. This includes project management software with task assignments and deadlines. Team members can work independently and provide clear instructions and documentation for each project.

Asynchronous scheduling allows your team to work on their own schedule and meet project deadlines at the same time. It helps team members maintain a healthy work-life balance since they can choose when to work based on their preferences.


Managing a successful remote development team doesn’t happen overnight. It requires effort, commitment, dedication, and time. 

You must communicate on a different level since your development team is in a different physical location. You also need to provide the proper communication tools. 

Remember to create a culture where your team feels safe to share their views without judgment or criticism. Also encourage your team to take time off to recharge and avoid burnout. 

Managing a remote development team has its challenges. But by following the tips above, you can achieve success. 


ryan yee
Ryan Yee – Copywriter 

Ryan is an award-winning copywriter, with 20+ years of experience working alongside major US brands, emerging start-ups, and leading tech enterprises. His copy and creative have helped companies in the B2B marketing, education, and software sectors reach new customer bases and enjoy improved results. Here is his LinkedIn.
Business News and Resources

Revolutionizing Industry: From Sci-Fi Dreams to 1-Click Reality

Imagine this: Over the past year, a staggering 73% of businesses worldwide have eagerly embraced cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), propelling industries into an era of unprecedented transformation. It’s not just a futuristic dream; it’s our present reality.

Today, we’ll embark on a journey through the digital landscape, exploring the remarkable impact of six game-changing technologies: AI, IoT, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Big Data, and Automation. These aren’t just buzzwords but the architects of innovation in sectors from healthcare to manufacturing.

Jaw-dropping, isn’t it?AI is expected to create $15.7 trillion in economic value by 2030.

But that’s not all. The kandi 1-Click Kits aims to streamline the integration of transformative technologies into your applications and projects, making them accessible to everyone. 1-Click Kits combines AI, IoT, VR, AR, Big Data, and Automation into a user-friendly platform, enabling you to harness these technologies and revolutionize their operations.

Let’s delve into this thrilling world of technology, where numbers tell stories, and innovation knows no bounds. Welcome to the future, happening right now.

AI – The Brain Behind the Machines

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the powerhouse behind modern industry transformation. In the past year, AI has been adopted by 68% of businesses, boosting productivity and efficiency. It’s come a long way from basic algorithms to intricate neural networks, mimicking human thought processes.

Did You Know? Currently, there are over 1.2 billion AI-powered devices and systems active worldwide, constantly learning and improving. This technology isn’t confined to one sector; it’s transforming healthcare, finance, manufacturing, transportation, and more.

For example, AI is being used to:

  • Develop self-driving cars: AI-powered cars can sense their surroundings and make decisions about how to navigate without human input.
  • Diagnose diseases: AI can be used to analyze medical images and data to identify diseases. Open Weaver’s AI-Powered Breast Cancer Detection Engine is one ravishing example of AI in action.
  • Supply chain optimization: AI can be used to track inventory levels, forecast demand, and optimize transportation routes.

Imagine real-time insights. AI optimizes operations, minimizing errors and reducing costs. For instance, AI-driven predictive maintenance saves industries $100 billion annually by preventing breakdowns.

IoT – A Symphony of Smart Devices

Picture a world where devices orchestrate industrial operations seamlessly. This is the magic of the Internet of Things (IoT). In the last year, IoT has seen a whopping 76% increase in global adoption across industries.

From sensors to a vast network of interconnected devices, IoT has transformed how businesses operate.

Take logistics, for example – IoT-driven predictive maintenance has reduced downtime by 50%, saving billions. Parallelly, it is expected to create $11.1 trillion in economic value by 2025.

In real time, IoT devices are being used to:

  • Monitor machinery in factories: IoT devices can collect data on the performance of machinery, which can be used to identify potential problems and prevent breakdowns.
  • Track the location of assets: IoT devices can be used to track the location of assets, such as vehicles or equipment, which can help to improve efficiency and security.
  • Manage energy consumption: IoT devices monitor energy consumption and identify areas with the scope of reduction.

Imagine a real-time map lighting up with IoT devices worldwide – there are now over 30 billion connected devices globally, and they’re not just in homes. Industries leverage IoT to track inventory, monitor environmental conditions, and enhance security.

VR and AR – Redefining Reality in Industry

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are technologies that create immersive experiences. VR immerses users in a virtual world, while AR overlays digital information into the real world. These technologies are being used in a variety of industries, including training, education, and marketing. 

In the past year, VR and AR applications have surged by 60%, transforming how we work and learn.

For example, VR is being used to: 

  • Train surgeons: VR can be used to create realistic simulations of surgical procedures, which can help surgeons improve their skills.
  • Provide instructions for assembling products: AR can be used to overlay instructions onto a physical object, which can help users assemble the object correctly.
  • Create interactive product demonstrations: AR can be used to create interactive product demonstrations that allow users to explore products in a virtual environment.

Now, picture a real-time feed of the latest VR and AR applications being developed – there are over 3,000 new applications in the pipeline. From healthcare simulations to architectural design, VR and AR are enhancing precision and efficiency. 

Big Data – The Information Goldmine

Big data refers to the vast amount of data that is being generated every day. This data can be used to identify trends, make predictions, and improve decision-making. Over the past year, Big Data analytics has driven a 50% increase in revenue growth across various sectors.

Big Data’s journey began with spreadsheets and has evolved into predictive analytics, where real-time data crunching provides instant insights. Industries use it to make informed decisions and boost efficiency.

For example, big data is being used to:

  • Analyze customer behaviour: Big data can be used to track customer behaviour, such as what products they purchase and how often they visit a website. This information can be used to improve marketing campaigns and target customers more effectively.
  • Forecast demand: Big data can be used to forecast demand for products or services. This information can be used to ensure that businesses have enough inventory to meet demand and avoid stockouts.
  • Improve decision-making: Big data improves decision-making by providing businesses with insights into their operations. For example, big data can be used to identify which products are selling well and which products are not. Open Weaver’s 1-Click kit – House price prediction uses data visualization and machine learning libraries to generate precise results. 
Whopping!! It is estimated that the world will generate 175 zettabytes of data by 2025.

The amount of big data is growing exponentially. This growth is creating new challenges and opportunities for businesses. Businesses need to find ways to store and manage this data, and they need to find ways to use it to their advantage.

Automation – The Rise of the Machines

Automation refers to the use of machines to perform tasks that were previously done by humans. It is being used to improve efficiency and productivity in a variety of industries. Adoption of automation has skyrocketed by 62% in the last year, as industries increasingly embrace this transformative technology.

Did you know? Automation is projected to save $2 trillion in labour costs globally by 2025. These machines are not replacing jobs; they’re enhancing them.

For example, automation is being used to:

  • Operate machinery in factories: Automated machinery can operate more quickly and accurately than humans, which can lead to increased productivity.
  • Sort packages in warehouses: Automated sorting systems can sort packages more quickly and efficiently than humans, which can help to reduce costs.
  • Provide customer service: Automated chatbots can answer customer questions 24/7, which can free up human agents to focus on more complex tasks.

Automation is a powerful technology that has the potential to revolutionize many industries. However, businesses need to be prepared for this by upskilling their workforce and investing in new technologies.


In this journey through the technological landscape, we’ve witnessed a profound transformation in industries. Over the past year, technologies like AI, IoT, VR, AR, Big Data, and Automation have surged, with adoption rates skyrocketing by an average of 60%. These innovations are not just buzzwords; they’re rewriting the rules of business.

But the transformation doesn’t end there. The Open Weaver’s 1-Click Kits are leading the charge, simplifying the integration of these technologies in your dynamic application. With a remarkable 70%-90% reduction in development time, it’s clear that industries are eager to embrace this revolution.

As we wrap up, consider this: Industries are on the brink of unparalleled advancement, and the journey has just begun. Explore the possibilities and join the revolution today.

Analysis Business

The Power of Innovation: Developers at the Forefront of Emerging Technologies

Over the last couple of years the tech industry has experienced several waves of disruptive innovation with the introduction of self-driving cars or Metaverse. While these high-profile technologies steal the headlines, the hidden gems like AI-assisted programming hold the power to reshape the world. 

In the 22nd edition of our Developer Nation Survey, we have shared some valuable insights on how the landscape of emerging technologies is being shaped by one of the key players – developers. Read on and uncover some interesting truths about what the future of emerging technologies might look like!

  1. The adoption of AI-assisted software development is the third-highest of any other emerging technology

It’s immediately apparent that AI-assisted software development captures developers’ interest – the possible impacts on working practices, careers, and remuneration are especially salient to 67% of developers. This interest is not purely hypothetical or academic – 14% of engaged developers are actively working on AI-assisted software development, and adoption of this technology is the third-highest of any emerging technology. We can’t say for sure if developers are building or simply using these technologies, though, given their complexity and novel status, it’s likely that many of these adopters are using AI-assisted development as part of their workflow rather than actively developing the technology itself. 

We are already seeing the effects of low- and no-code tools on the democratisation of software development, and with 46% of developers reporting that they use such tools, they pervade beyond the citizen developer well into the professional realm. AI-assisted development is a logical addition for many developers looking to increase their development velocity, and indeed, we see that developers who do 75% or more of their development work using low- or no-code tools (20%) are four times as likely as those who don’t use them at all (4%) to be currently working on AI-assisted software development.

  1. Computer vision, robotics, and blockchain technologies command high levels of engagement though NFTs seems to be losing popularity

Further down the list, stalwarts such as computer vision, robotics, and blockchain (cryptocurrencies and other applications) command high levels of engagement amongst developers, though NFTs – another crypto-adjacent technology – has much lower engagement, with just 48% of developers working on, interested in, or learning about it. This said, the money-making potential of NFTs has not gone unnoticed by developers – 11% of those engaged report that they are currently working on the technology, making this a potentially profitable niche for those who do get involved. In fact, all three crypto-adjacent technologies have high adoption and learning rates – for each, at least 30% of engaged developers are actively learning about the technologies.

Blockchain technologies, including cryptocurrencies, have experienced the largest increase in engagement in the last 12 months, with interest in crypto currencies increasing by 14% and interest in non-crypto blockchain applications increasing by 15%, but adoption of this technology has stagnated, increasing by a single percentage point in the last 12 months

  1. The growth in adoption rates has stagnated but developers are expanding their interest horizons 

Interestingly, we see that, compared to the previous year, growth in adoption rates has stagnated across the board. Part of this is due to the changing landscape of emerging technologies that we track, but careful examination of the change in engagement rates shows that many more developers are becoming engaged with a wider range of emerging technologies. In fact, the absolute adoption rates (the proportion of all developers working on a technology) have remained largely unchanged in the past year – developers have widened their interests but this has not yet trickled down to their working practices. 

  1. Metaverse is experiencing one of the highest learning rates outside the blockchain/crypto space

The Metaverse is another technology that has recently garnered a lot of interest, bounding into the public eye in October – likely coinciding with Facebook’s name change to Meta. We see that a healthy 53% of developers are engaged with this technology, but adoption is low, at 9% of engaged developers. This is likely because the Metaverse is still being defined.

Becoming a ‘Metaverse developer’ is a perplexing journey as it combines several contributing hardware and software technologies – extended reality (XR), networking, graphics, optics, machine learning, and blockchain, to name a few – many of which have yet to reach maturity, lots of developers will be waiting to see what the future holds. Indeed, 28% of engaged developers say that they are currently learning about the Metaverse, one of the highest learning rates outside the crypto/blockchain space. Many of these developers are likely positioning themselves to make the most of a possibly lucrative new technology. 

Business Community

Developers: Sometimes You Can Quit Your Day Job

Today, I’d like to share the story of two members of the Samsung Developer Program community and the paths they took that allowed them to pursue their passions.

Developers: sometimes you can quit your day job!

First up is Melanie Lombardi, from Echo Visuals. Five years ago, she received a Galaxy S6 Edge device as a gift and discovered she could personalize her device with content from the Galaxy Themes store. Soon after, she saw a banner in the store that Samsung was accepting new applications for themes designers. She applied, was selected, and initially created a few free themes which consumers liked and downloaded. After that, she moved to create paid themes and began to monetize her work. She, and her husband John, focused on creating high-quality, animated themes that Samsung’s customers instantly took to. After a few years, she was able to quit her full-time job and turn her passion into a new business.

This business has now grown to seven full-time employees building content for the Galaxy portfolio of devices. As one of Samsung’s top themes sellers, Echo Visuals was one of the winners in this year’s Best of Galaxy Store Awards, which recognizes top apps and content.

Echo Visuals

Second is Tony Morelan. Tony had spent his entire career as an independent graphic designer focused on all things tech.  In 2017, he heard about the opportunity to build watch faces for Galaxy Watch wearable devices. He was excited about the opportunity to apply his design skills to popular technology and make some additional money on the side.

As he built and sold watch faces through the Galaxy Store under the brand name Axeir, Tony found that he also loved being a part of the Samsung Developers community. He shared best practices with other designers and tips for getting discovered in the store. He soon realized “teaching” filled a void he never knew he had.

When a job opportunity came up for Tony to join Samsung as a developer evangelist, he jumped at the chance. For more than a year now, Tony has been advocating for our ever-growing community of designers and creating new tools to help them be successful.

Tony Morelan

Pursuit your passion

When Melanie and Tony joined the Samsung Developer Program, they never could have anticipated where it would take their careers.  To all of my peers in developer relations, how are you enabling those in your community to grow and discover new opportunities?  To all of the developers and designers out there, have you tried something new lately?  You’ll never know where it may take you.  Sometimes you can quit your day job and pursue your passion.

Lori FraleighLori Fraleigh is the Senior Director of Developer Relations at Samsung Electronics. She is an established industry thought leader in developer relations, software tools, development environments, and platforms. Lori is passionate about delivering an awesome developer experience and excels at breaking things. Prior to Samsung, Lori held similar roles at Intuit, Amazon/Lab126, HP/Palm and Motorola Mobility. Earlier, she led RTI’s developer tools business to a successful acquisition by Wind River. Lori started her career working on mission control software at NASA/Loral and is a Virgin Galactic Future Astronaut.


Why Is Mainstream Adoption Hard To Achieve

When you are involved and excited by an emerging technology, it is a common instinct to overestimate its impact and promise. Media enthusiasm builds in intensity and stokes interest, and when a new technology is promoted at the proof-of-concept stage, the publicity encourages developers to investigate it. Early adopters dive in, development proceeds, and success stories add to the anticipation of great things to come.But what about mainstream adoption?

While the intensity of interest may appear strong, it is equally likely that there are many, unreported, abandoned projects. Developers may initially be enthusiastic about a technology but then sometimes find their expectations are not met for a number of reasons, particularly if the hardware promoted is unavailable, consumers are not interested, or the necessary tools are difficult to get to grips with. To avoid disappointment, those developers wishing to be successful in a new field will need to work hand-in-hand with vendors providing the products or platforms. It is only through refinement that an immature technology can become sufficiently compelling to encourage mainstream uptake and continuing media attention rather than be written off as over-hyped.

We gauged interest in certain technologies by asking developers about the areas they are actively working on, learning about or simply interested in. The resulting answers fall into four quadrants when divided around the median values of the responses, indicative of the technologies that have already matured and been widely adopted, those that are triggering interest, and those that are still nascent or have hit a plateau.






DevOps is one of the best-established, mainstream technologies of those areas we asked about. Used across a range of industry sectors, it is a set of tools and practices that allow development and operations teams to collaborate in the development and rollout of their software. DevOps automates infrastructure, testing, and performance management, allowing code to be released into production more regularly and with fewer defects.

DevOps is one of the areas that ranked highest in the survey in terms of interest, learning, and adoption. It is the most popular by some margin for developer adoption (17%) and learning (also 17%), and over half of the developers that expressed interest in the topic are working on DevOps projects.

We also find embedded development, which includes IoT, to have entered the mainstream adoption. While embedded development attracts similar levels of interest to drones and robotics, it shows significantly higher levels of developer adoption. This may well be because the field has had time to establish itself. IoT, although still an emerging and somewhat nebulous area, has reached a point where the early hype has died down and the possibilities are better understood by developers and consumers alike.

Mini apps are a relatively new phenomenon. Running inside a mobile framework, they are isolated within a specific ecosystem, such as the popular WeChat app. They are written using HTML5 and other web technologies. Developers reported a high level of interest, and 10% adoption, placing them in the mainstream quadrant. Unsurprisingly, we found mobile developers to be particularly keen on this technology, with 22% adoption; the second highest technology of interest for mobile developers after robotics. We also found this to be the one area more highly adopted by women developers than by men.



Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are used to increase the overall profitability of a business. CRM software is used to organise sales, marketing and customer services, while ERP is used to improve the efficiency of internal business processes. Fewer developers are active in this area than in DevOps, although it is the second most adopted technology area. However, the number of developers saying they simply were not interested in this area was the second highest, and the numbers of developers working in the area have dropped significantly since our last survey. ERP/CRM seems to be an area where interest is tailing off.


Want more?
The State of Developer Nation 16th Edition is now available to download for free.


Ethics in AI

AI is a powerful and disruptive technology altering the landscape of application development and the wider world as we know it. The adoption of AI is increasing at a fast pace. While AI helps developers in every area of society to create solutions, implement change, and drive progress, it also forces us to think more deeply about our relationship with technology and the ethics of AI.


Indeed, adoption and availability of tools to build AI have caught up with the promises of the field and what once seemed unachievable is now within reach. As a result, many people are concerned and are actively discussing the implications of AI and to what standard we must hold ourselves in order to ensure that AI is aligned with our widely shared human values.


Their views are surely of the utmost importance because they are, after all, on the front line of building and implementing the algorithms that underlie AI products. In the 16th edition of our Developer Economics survey, we asked developers to what degree they agree or disagree with issues such as AI’s unintended consequences, algorithm bias, and jobs replacement, as well as their views about data collection and protection.




It should give us peace of mind to know that the vast majority of developers take user rights very seriously. Developers agree that they should not only ask for user consent to collect data and follow security and data protection laws but that they should also go above and beyond legal requirements – 72% of developers told us so. Scandals such as the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica one have indicated that regulations are lagging behind and it is very encouraging that developers are aware of their ethical responsibility while regulators are still trying to catch up.

When it comes to AI specifically, however, developers have diverging opinions on a range of topics.



No topic divides developers more than the unintended consequences of AI. When asked whether AI can be taught to behave as though moral and human-friendly, developers’ responses split almost equally among those who agree (33%), those who neither agree nor disagree (40%), and those who disagree (27%). While such distribution of opinion could be expected from the general population, one might expect developers to have a more unified view as they possess a better technical understanding of what ML/AI can and cannot achieve.

Looking at the breakdown of developers’ opinions by age group we find that individuals who are under 25 years old have a much more positive outlook (45% agree) than those who are over 35 years old (28%). Where developers live is another differentiator: Europeans are more neutral (42% neither agree nor disagree) whereas South-Asia has the highest percentage of developers who agree that AI can be taught to behave as moral and human- friendly (49%). These differences may be the result of the type of involvement in ML/AI as developers in South-Asia are more likely to be using ML for medical diagnosis and prognosis, object recognition/image classification and NLP (Natural Language Processing), whereas Europeans are more likely to be working in more ‘traditional’ ML fields such as fraud detection.

Responses of ML/AI developers and data scientists also differ when considering their types of involvement (as professionals, hobbyists or students) and their use cases. Half of developers who teach AI, ML or data science have favourable views towards the ability of AI to behave in a moral and human- friendly way – in fact, teachers are twice as likely to strongly agree compared to all developers involved in ML/AI. On the other hand, developers who build machine learning frameworks are more likely to strongly disagree (12% vs. 8% for all developers).

Another very interesting insight is that more than half (56%) of ML developers who work in bioengineering and/or bioinformatics agree that AI can be taught to behave morally and be human-friendly. This is worth noting as these developers develop ML/AI that applies engineering principles of design and analysis to biological systems and therefore are likely to have a deeper understanding of the feasibility of such a lofty goal.

A burning question is “Will AI steal your job?”

Discover the answer and more details on the Ethics in AI, on our State of the Developer Nation 16th Edition report.

It’s free and full of insights.


Gender Wars

The technology industry often takes credit for the changing world of work. One example is the model of remote employees working as digital nomads in their favourite coffee shop, connected via Slack and collaborating via the cloud to create products and services for consumption over the internet or on smartphones and tablets. But what about work within the technology industry itself? We take a look at the profile of women in tech and compare it with the profile of their male counterparts.

If we exclude those who preferred not to share their gender with us, and those who skipped this optional question, female developers responding to our survey were outnumbered by males by a ratio of 1 to 10 (9% women and 91% men). This suggests a global population of 1.7 million women developers and 17 million men. The technology industry is dominated by men and the imbalance in numbers is such that we cannot make numerical comparisons between men and women. Instead, in the rest of this chapter, we will look at relative differences in terms of experience, age and roles adopted, and the most common company sectors and development areas for men and women.

What are their ages?

Looking at the comparative ages of male and female developers, we find a higher percentage of women are under the age of 35. The 25-34 age group accounts for the largest number of developers of both genders (36% of women, 33% of men), yet male developers are more likely to be older: we found 37% of male developers are over 35 years, compared to 29% of women developers.

There are (at least) two different ways of interpreting this observation. One is to say that women are being increasingly drawn to software development; the comparatively young profile of women compared to men illustrates recent gains made in attracting girls and young women into technology. Analysis of college data for entrants to computer science courses, in North America at least, suggests that this is indeed a plausible explanation, as women are increasingly studying courses in the subjects that lead to a career in technology.

An alternative, or additional, explanation is that women may have always been involved, but tend to leave software development as they get older, either by choice or necessity.

And here’s a preview of the roles they undertake:

Gender Wars 1

Women in tech & their educational background?

When we looked into the education levels of the genders, we noted that women developers are equally likely to have been educated to degree level in computing/software engineering when compared to men. Likewise for other classroom training that doesn’t lead to specific degrees, and for attendance at developer bootcamps.

Women are slightly more likely than men to have learned their craft using online course materials and slightly less likely to have learned on-the-job. Women are significantly less likely to be self-taught (57% of women compared to 75% of men) but it is still the most popular way of learning about development for both genders. The relatively older profile of men probably explains why more have become self-taught: they have engaged in continuous education throughout their longer career because of the rapidly changing nature of the industry. As women in tech and women developers particularly mature, we would expect the level of “self-taught” women to rise as they also teach themselves new skills to advance their career.

For more details on the Gender Wars, you can download our State of the Developer Nation 16th Edition report.

It’s free and full of insights.

Business Community

Developer Economics survey Q4 2018 prize draw winners

It’s the moment that all participants of the Developer Economics survey Q4 2018 have been patiently waiting for. Time to announce our prize draw winners! Over 19,000 developers from 165 countries took part in this survey, and we appreciate everyone’s effort! Below you’ll find a table comprised of the emails of the winners of our community and general prize draws (obfuscated for security reasons). Congratulations to all the lucky ones!

Winners have already been notified by email – if you recognise the email fragment as yours and we haven’t contacted you, please drop us an email at

Please note that the list only includes prize-draw winners and not runner-ups. If the prize draw winners do not claim their prizes within the timeframe mentioned in the respective e-mail they received, then runner-ups will be asked to claim them instead.


Community Member prize draw winners

This exclusive prize was open to all existing members of our Community. Not yet a Community Member? Join here.

Prize draw winner Prize
g******.b@g****.c** Corsair STRAFE RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – Cherry brown
m*******@g****.c** Swiftpoint GT Wireless Ergonomic mouse
d******.a*****@g****.c** Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Starter Kit
s*****@g****.c** Apple Developer Program membership fee
e*******.i*******@g****.c** Apple Developer Program membership fee
j**********@o******.c** Apple Developer Program membership fee
m***.t*****@a******.c** Apple Developer Program membership fee
j******@g****.c** Apple Developer Program membership fee
t******@g****.c** Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
h*******@g****.c** Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
s******@g****.c** Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
m******@p************.c** Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
s*****@g****.c** Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
c**************@g****.c** Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
e********@a***.c**.a* Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
e**************@l***.r* Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
j***.p******@g****.c** Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
g********@g****.c** Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
n**********@y****.c** Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
s***********@r*********.c** Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
i******@g****.c** Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
y****.m*****@g****.c** Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
o********@b*******.o** Omars Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank
a********@y****.c* Google Play Developer account fee
p****.v**.m******@c********.c** Google Play Developer account fee
k********@k********.c** Google Play Developer account fee
m******.g*********@p*********.c** Google Play Developer account fee
s******.s***@h******.c** Google Play Developer account fee
p****.v**.m******@c********.c** Google Play Developer account fee
r***.s******@g****.c** Google Play Developer account fee
m*********@m********.c** Google Play Developer account fee
h************@1**.c** Google Play Developer account fee
n*********@g****.c** Google Play Developer account fee
p********@h******.c** Google Play Developer account fee
a****************@g****.c** Google Play Developer account fee
o**.e******@g****.c** Google Play Developer account fee
l***@t*********************.c** Google Play Developer account fee
s****@g****.n** Google Play Developer account fee
P*******@g****.c** Google Play Developer account fee
d*******@g****.c** Google Play Developer account fee
m************@h******.c** Google Play Developer account fee
n*********@g****.c** Google Play Developer account fee
e*******@g****.c** Google Play Developer account fee


General prize draw winners

Prize draw winner Prize
w*********@g****.c** Samsung S9 Plus
e.e.f.p********@g****.c** Oculus Rift & Touch Virtual Reality System
s**********@g****.c** Axure RP8 Pro one year license
k**********@g****.c** $200 towards the software subscription of your choice
r*****@g****.c** Samsung 970 EVO 500 GB V-NAND M.2 PCI Express Solid State Drive
“z**********@g****.c** Filco Ninja Majestouch-2, Tenkeyless, NKR, Tactile Action, Keyboard
d******.a********@o******.b* Filco Ninja Majestouch-2, Tenkeyless, NKR, Tactile Action, Keyboard
l******@m***.c*.z* a $100 USD Prepaid Virtual Visa card
t********@g****.c** a $100 USD Prepaid Virtual Visa card
p*****@g****.c** a $100 USD Prepaid Virtual Visa card
a************@g****.c** a $100 USD Prepaid Virtual Visa card
m********@g****.c** a $100 USD Prepaid Virtual Visa card
j*.l********@g****.c** a $100 USD Prepaid Virtual Visa card
I********@g****.c** a $100 USD Prepaid Virtual Visa card
s***********@g****.c** a $100 USD Prepaid Virtual Visa card
g******.c******@g****.c** a $100 USD Prepaid Virtual Visa card
d*********@m***.r* a $100 USD Prepaid Virtual Visa card
s*****.s*****@m***.o** a $25 Udemy voucher
p***********@g****.c** a $25 Udemy voucher
n********@w****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
k*********@y****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
a**********@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
d****.t****@y****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
m*****@n****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
m******@n******.n** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
d*******@b****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
n***@y****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
c*******@y****.c**.p* a T-shirt with your AI Character on
j*******@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
r*********@g**.d* a T-shirt with your AI Character on
R***********@y*****.r* a T-shirt with your AI Character on
i*********@y****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
m*******@o******.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
m*****@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
c******@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
d*****@y****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
y******.k********@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
m******************@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
r************@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
r*.b********@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
w********@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
d******@u*.e** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
M******@l***.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
r********@y****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
a**.m*****@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
c****.p********@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
d**********@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
e******@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
g***@n********.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
f*******.m********@b*********.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
j*****************@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
m*****.s******@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
k******@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
z******@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
2******@2******.n** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
s*********@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
v************@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
b**********@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
b********@o*.p* a T-shirt with your AI Character on
m**********@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
d**********@h******.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
f****@y*****.r* a T-shirt with your AI Character on
r****.m************@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
s********.v@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
l*******@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
y****.i****@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
m********@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
n***@y****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
p*****@g****.c** a T-shirt with your AI Character on
a***********@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
s*******.p***@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
e********@m***.r* a Mug with your AI Character on
a*******@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
s******@m***.r* a Mug with your AI Character on
p************@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
n****************@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
T********@y*****.r* a Mug with your AI Character on
t********@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
y**********@y****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
d**************@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
j********.s****@s******.c**.b* a Mug with your AI Character on
n***********@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
j****@s*******.m* a Mug with your AI Character on
m*******@a***.m**.e** a Mug with your AI Character on
l***.b******@i*******.e**.m* a Mug with your AI Character on
f*******@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
r******@r**********.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
f***********@o******.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
a******.i*@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
p*********@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
g******@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
r**********@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
a*********@y****.c**.b* a Mug with your AI Character on
f*******@c****.i*.a* a Mug with your AI Character on
m*********@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
w******@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
a***********@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
t******@n****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
c****************@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
j**.j****@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
l*********@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
v**********************@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
p****.l*******@v******.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
s******@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
s*********@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
a*******@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
k********@y****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
b**********@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
e*********@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
j***************@h******.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
r*********@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
j************@h******.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
m******@a********.c**.a* a Mug with your AI Character on
s********@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
d***************@i*****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
s**.k.z******@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
r**********@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
v******.t**@g****.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
j***********@g*********.c** a Mug with your AI Character on
Business Interviews Tools

Dev Evolution: Meet Vasil from AndroidPal

How do tech startups win the hearts of developers with their products? What does it take to create value and get developers to use their tools? Our guest Vasil from AndroidPal talked to us about these challenges and shared a few tips on Android development.


I’m Vasil, owner and CEO of AndroidPal Ltd. and other businesses like Belvek Ltd. I have been into computer technologies most of my life, during the last 10 years — professionally.

My interest in technology and computers started when I was very young, probably at the age of 7. Back then people did not have computers at home. My brother and I had the chance to land in an after-school activity to learn programming. It was only once per week and we couldn’t wait for it to start. We were taught BASIC back then on computers called Pravetz.

We’ve initially worked with 8-bit but later 16-bit computers which were mostly identical with the Apple II computer. It seemed I had a knack for programming, maybe because I was good at Maths.

Additionally I’ve studied and worked with other popular at the time programming languages and technologies like VBScript (yes, it was a thing), Visual Basic, Delphi, OpenGL, PHP, ASP (prior to .NET) and of course HTML.

Fast forward 15 years and I started my own IT company. We’re based in Sofia, Bulgaria and have been providing software development and related services for more than 6 years now.

Most of our clients are from USA, Germany, Austria and Italy. We also have our own products and services in different fields – education, travel, gaming and entertainment.

How did you get into app & Android development?

We’ve been developing one way or another for Android for almost exactly 9 years now. I can still remember the first Android phone I got – HTC Desire. I think it must have been mid March 2010 when I’ve heard of the phone. I really liked it, but said to myself that I can buy it only after I’ve created a simple app for Android and learn more about Android development.

Back then developing for Android was not easy, the current Android version at the time was Android 1.5 but I remember that writing Android apps I had to support Android 1.1 too.

Developing for Android was done with Eclipse. Eclipse is an open source IDE and back then, at least developing for Android with it was not easy. There were too many issues with the IDE – it required too much memory, freezed often, needed restarts and obscure workarounds to make it stable.

So, that first app that I built used Android NDK and had C and C++ code to allow fast image manipulation. And fast it was – probably 3 to 5 times faster than manipulating the image data directly in Java. Of course a year later the Dalvik VM got JIT which would make a Java implementation comparable in terms of speed.

Ever since that first app I and later the people I work with are developing more and more for Android working on big or small projects for various industries.

And yes, I bought that HTC Desire phone on May 21st 2010 (I know the date because I bragged to a friend over email).

Tell us a bit more about AndroidPal.

AndroidPal started because of a problem. We were working on an Android app with a particularly complex graphical user interface. We’ve inherited the code of another company and struggled making certain views (the interface) work. To such extent that we had to create a tool to inspect the layout better. This is how our own View Hierarchy Inspector tool was born.

We thought it would be very useful to developers like ourselves and it would be great if we created other helpful tools.

With more than 2.7 billion active users undoubtedly Android OS is the most popular OS. There constantly are new technologies and frameworks and SDK updates and languages coming out. We know how overwhelming it can be for developers, and it is.

So we thought we start an online community centered around Android Development — this is what AndroidPal is all about. It’s a website where you can find useful information, chat with peers and learn. The site has different sections like – Questions, Libraries, Knowledge Base and Chat.


We’ve built all of these as only the foundation onto which we can implement all our other ideas. AP Studio is part of AndroidPal and the name is just a short version of “Android Pal Studio”.

What pain points are you solving for developers? Why should developers use your IDE?

AP Studio offers tools which Android Studio does not. One example would be the Icon Creator, probably the most popular AndroidPal Studio tool among existing users. Then there is the Shape Drawable creator and other tools. Say you want to create a Shape drawable resource file, you might need to check the docs to recall the exact specs and write XML text code. Our tool works visually. It has controls based strictly on the specs so you can’t go wrong.

Among other things this saves time. The tools are built into the IDE and there are quick actions to streamline the process. For example when you create an icon for your app AP Studio can immediately and automatically set it as your app’s launcher icon.

Then there is the snappiness of AP Studio. It does not have the heavy requirements of Android Studio and feels much quicker. In our work we sometimes need to make a small change and see the result right away, no need to spin another instance of Android Studio in such cases. We’re dedicated to increase the snappiness factor even further.

Our best ideas are yet to be implemented. One such idea is how to organize and reuse resources and experience from different projects. One way is to have a library of resources, for example a library of icons or library of layouts. Something that you can navigate easily. A public as well as developer’s very own private library. Our Shape Drawable Creator tool does have a public library with 8 free items, we’ll add more and accept submissions by developers and improve and categorize things a lot in the next iterations of the software.

Indeed everything in AP Studio is ad hoc. Android Studio is based on IntelliJ Idea which is a great software, but has been built as a generic purpose IDE. Google had to create a plugin for it. At some point we wanted to create our own plugins for Android Studio, but the IntelliJ Idea plugins documentation and the effort required to do so seemed overwhelming. Simple things would require a lot of work.

Therefore being ad-hoc and using modern technologies allows us to have a special touch in everything and to quickly respond and implement user suggested features.

To summarize, I would recommend developers use our IDE because it offers new tools and ultimately saves time and leads to less errors.

How was your experience of building the IDE? What challenges did you face in developing this?

Building an IDE is not a trivial task, it was much more effort than we’ve initially imagined.

Entering an unknown territory was very challenging. It’s a different kind of software than what we’ve done before. Also the sheer amount of technologies involved, the research of how things work and why, reading and understanding the (sometimes lacking) documentations – it’s a very big effort.
But it’s fun and rewarding to see things work. To get to a stage where we can start paying more attention to UX as functionality is already fine.

Martin, one of the main developers of the project had this to say:

“Having only been working on web sites and web apps I found using Angular for a Desktop app was something completely new to me. In my work on the project I’ve encountered things which were different from my usual Web development work. It was a tough but interesting work and certain tasks seemed overwhelming, but I did not give up and as a result became a better developer overall.”

Even though it’s well featured IDE now and offers everything you need to develop for Android we’re long way of having all our ideas implemented.

What’s next for AndroidPal? How do you see it progressing in the next two years?

On the whole we want to improve the online part and include interactive guides for beginners, different tools. To name but a few things coming:

  • Android Update tool where developers learn from a very well presented data what they need to do in order to update / upgrade from version X to version Y.
  • Git repos with Android specific web tools (e.g. preview specific android resources, display android specific info about the project).
  • Knowledge base – we have great ideas there and want to develop them.
  • Most importantly – more work on AP Studio IDE – to ultimately have low-code / no-code solutions for a wider audience (not just professional software developers).
  • Some sort of PM tool (todo lists — we have been using our own tool for it and are thinking of integrating it with AP Studio).

One other non-technical aspect of the project is AP Academy where we would apply our experience in teaching and explaining Android topics to a wider audience and in ways that would make the whole learning process better.

What’s your best piece of advice for developers today?

Software development is not an easy thing. Being a professional software developer means you have to keep up with all technologies as much as you can. Learning and improving is a lifelong process. Becoming good takes years. The best piece of advice would be to not give up when there’s a tough problem to solve. So, keep calm and don’t give up.

For most developers there would always be someone who is better in a particular aspect of programming. We should be humble and strive to learn.
As software developers we should always try to solve problems. Not to learn the syntax of a programming language as best as you can. Or learn the most number of programming patterns. What brings value is solving problems. Being creative when solving problems is equally important.

But this is just some developer with 10 years experience talking. There are far more experienced developers who have been into technology from much earlier days. There are great books out there every developer should read. The list might be long and depend on what kind of programming you do, but I would always recommend the books of Uncle Bob (Robert C. Martin) — for example one of his best known books “Clean Code”. Another book I’d recommend is “The Pragmatic Programmer” by Andrew Hunt and Dave Thomas.

What technologies do you invest in the most, and why?

One way or another we use the following technologies across AndroidPal and in AP Studio in particular:

Gradle DSL

Most of the codebase of the IDE is Javascript / Typescript, however many of the important (albeit much smaller) parts are written in Java.

Then there are libraries and frameworks within those technologies which are too many to list.

Using HTML5 for the interface made so many things so much easier than in other platforms (comparing for example using existing Java GUI frameworks or creating our own). The freedom and ease such a mature technology offers is something we’ve really learnt to appreciate.

HTML5 and Angular made the big difference. Can’t even begin to imagine how much more effort it would require to do this with traditional technologies.

Business Platforms

Virtual reality: Where did it all go wrong?

In this article, I’m going to talk about how I perceive the mainstream consumer audience to have rejected virtual reality, and suggest that its child, augmented reality, may be the Slope of Enlightenment that convinces us to buy in. While these are my views alone, towards the end of the piece, I’ve dug out some data from software developers around the world who are working with AR and VR. Even if you don’t care about my views, you may find what they have to say interesting. And, if you’d like to express your own thoughts, I’ve included a link to a survey that’s open right now, which will help key players in the industry to  draw their own conclusions.

Virtual reality: Tomorrow’s world, today

I worked in the smartphone industry before it came of age. Our mission was “a smartphone in every pocket” at a time when simple feature phones like the Motorola RAZR were the must-have communications device. Within a few years of our early projects, the competitor, Apple, launched the iPhone. The rest is history. The App Store opened its doors, the stars aligned, the technology dream was realised and smartphones went on to rule the world.

I grew up in a time of change. We had a BBC microcomputer before I was ten years old. As a teenager, I sashayed along to the sounds of the eighties on a tape Walkman, and later mobile CD players and minidiscs. Then Napster, now Spotify. Change. The cadence of technological evolution was a rapid heartbeat, sounded out by the Internet, mobile phones and a maturing software development industry, which I joined enthusiastically.

Maybe I just got used to an unrealistic pace of change? But whatever happened to virtual reality (VR)? Its heartbeat seems to have flatlined. Nothing much has changed in the years that have passed since the “year of VR” (pick your year, we’ve had a few of them), which turned out to be nothing much of the sort. When I look at my mobile phone of a few years ago, or my website developed in 2004, I think how clunky and quaint they look compared to the sleek form factor and execution possible today. But when I look at the VR headsets of yesteryear and today and compare what they deliver? Not so much.

Take a look at this slideshow of legacy VR hardware. Sure, we’ve come some way since the Sensorama, but the Sega VR of 1993 wasn’t significantly more dorky than today’s HTC Vive Cosmos, was it?

Does anybody really want to strap a heavy, nerdy headset on that makes you suffer motion sickness after a few minutes use, tethers you to a PC, dulls your senses to the real world outside the headset and causes you to trip over your furniture?

Sure, expensive and shiny, next generation VR devices, are coming. But much of the hardware available is unchanged from when it came to the stores two or more years ago, which means hard-core early adopter audiences aren’t shelling out again.  While availability of more cost-accessible hardware for casual users has increased, e.g. the Oculus Go, the handsets are still expensive enough to give mainstream consumers pause, and typically compromise on aspects of quality that mean the VR experience is somewhat flawed.

Convince people that you’ll change their lives

In the consumer world, expectations for VR were raised early and sadly led to disappointment as it became clear that the ambitions went far beyond what was possible given the technology available. Overpromised, VR lost the attention of mainstream audiences, as it simply could not deliver. In part, this was down to problems with the hardware, such as cumbersome headsets, inadequate processors, poor displays and weak audio. Then there’s the secondary reason: there is no “must-have” killer app that convinces sufficient people that you’ll change their lives.

The two issues go hand in hand (the ‘chicken and egg’ situation) since if technology is inadequate, the content creators see no justification for investing heavily in VR. In turn, this means insufficient buyers and revenue to justify the investment in improving the technology. (It’s worth pointing out that secondary uses for VR, such as in industry, education, healthcare, have a very different uptake/content model, and as such, I’m considering just the mainstream here).

And, as such, entertainment content is the key to unlocking adoption by persuading consumers that VR devices are a must-have item. Like 3D TV, VR has thus far failed to deliver a sufficiently convincing experience that sends people rushing to shops to buy the hardware, despite its costs and the limitations involved.

What’s more, VR content isn’t coming along as fast it used to. Hollywood used it for marketing, e.g. to promote films such as 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and TV shows including Game of Thrones. But this has dropped back as consumer uptake and gratification was found to be negligible.

Venture funding for consumer VR software companies may drop by more than half this year, to $265 million from $576 million a year ago, SuperData says. And this isn’t surprising. According to the SiliconANGLE. VR headset sales have dropped nearly 34% since Q2 2017. Even committed hardware manufacturers are showing signs of taking their foot off the gas. Samsung, which was one of the first to market with its Gear VR mobile headset, didn’t say anything about VR in its major announcements at CES this year.

Is AR the way out of the trough of despair?

Experts predict that new kids on the block, Augmented Reality (AR) on smartphones and Mixed Reality (MR) headsets, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens. will pick up the audience that VR failed to serve. In terms of the Gartner Hype Cycle, AR and MR — the children of VR — look to serve as the Slope of Enlightenment.

AR can be delivered by the hardware already in your pocket. It doesn’t need the level of resolution or processor power demanded by VR. AR is also far less cumbersome than VR and can be used on the go since it doesn’t require total immersion in the experience. The software brings in a virtual element without losing the real world.  

Certainly, analysts report adoption of augmented reality and mixed reality to be on the up, with earnings expected to come from mobile AR apps, particularly games. Google and Apple have strongly embraced this market with ARCore and ARKit, enabling developers to access AR services on more than 500 million devices in the wild today. Both Apple and Google envisage third-party apps and services that use AR as valuable additions to their app stores. Successful apps add billions to the top line (Apple was expected to make $3 billion revenue over 2 years from in-app purchases within the best known AR title to date, Pokémon Go) and high-profile AR apps also strengthen the ecosystems of both companies, boosting other revenue streams.

The smart money is now shifting to companies working on AR and MR. Apple have a rumoured research project to build a headset for delivery next year. Investment in companies working on MR is expected to jump by nearly 50 percent this year, according to SuperData, with sales of MR headsets expected to ramp up significantly and surpass earnings of VR headsets within the next two years.

The above is purely my opinion, based on observations of the tech industry over a number of years and a healthy degree of skepticism when it comes to inflated expectations. It’s uninformed by experience at the coalface of development however. So, what do software developers working with AR and VR, have to say?

Software developers working in VR and AR told us…

Here at SlashData we run regular surveys of software developers around the world to uncover valuable insights from those working in mobile, desktop, IoT, cloud, web, game, AR/VR, data science and machine learning.

In our Developer Economics 14th edition report, which is based on a large-scale online developer survey that ran over a period of eight weeks between November and December 2017, we reached over 21,700 respondents in 169 countries. We studied the data returned from developers working in AR/VR and found the following:

  • 25% of professional game developers say they are targeting AR and/or VR. This figure falls slightly to 19% across the entire corpus of developers surveyed.
  • Dedicated VR hardware, such as Oculus Rift, is attractive to games developers (61% report using it), but across all developers working on VR projects, we see a much lower uptake (33%), reflecting its early adopter status in fields other than games.
  • Across all developers working on VR projects, 32% are targeting smartphone hardware using Google’s Cardboard, and 19% are using Daydream View, built into Android Nougat and beyond, reflecting that developers, and consumers, are still experimenting with the technology on their existing hardware.
  • A similar picture emerges for AR, with Android and iOS taking the lead in most popular AR platforms across all developers targeting AR.
  • Of the dedicated AR hardware available, Microsoft HoloLens leads the pack, with Google Glass at Work and MagicLeap trailing behind when the survey ran in late 2017.

We are currently running another survey and we would value your input. If you’re a software developer working in the field of AR or VR, or considering doing so, please consider answering the questions. If you’re not a developer but are working in the AR/VR field, pass the link on to your developer friends and colleagues.

Every survey completed has a chance to win Oculus Rift +Touch Virtual Reality System to test your creations (or simply play around), Samsung S9 PLus$200 towards the software subscription of your choice, or other prizes from the prize pool worth $12,000!

Plus, if you refer other developers to take the survey, you may win up to $1,000 in cash. Just don’t forget to sign up before you take the survey, so that we know you want to be included in the prize draw!

What do you say, are you in?