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. 

Community Platforms

Decoding development trends: The 17th State of the Developer Nation Report is out

Every six months, the Developer Economics Survey captures the voice of more than 20,000 developers globally. Our surveys engage developers working across mobile, desktop, IoT, cloud, web, game, AR/VR, machine learning development and data science, decoding development trends.

The 17th Developer Economics survey ran between June and  August 2019. The data analysed provided really interesting insights about the different developer profiles out there.

For instance, one in three developers are all-rounders. Only one in five declare themselves as specialists. There are almost four times as many introverts (37%) as extroverts (10%) among developers. This is a significant difference from the 2:1 ratio in favour of extroverts found in the wider community.

We also included several unusual labels, uncovering, for example, that there are double the number of night owl developers than early birds (29% compared to 14%).. What time is it with you right now?

2X night owl developers compared to early birds (29% compared to 14%

Javascript remains the Queen

Looking, into programming language trends we found that JavaScript remains the queen with a community of over 11M active developers. On the second tier we have Java (6.9M) and Python (6.8M).

Our data challenges the assumption that developers’ language use is relatively stable over time. Instead, it seems that developers drop and adopt new languages all the time, depending on their needs and on their running projects.

Kotlin is the rising star among programming languages. It moved up from 11th to 8th place in just a year.

Growing interest and adoption in 5 emerging technologies

We saw a significant increase in developers’ involvement and adoption of five technologies in the 6 month period ending Q2 2019. These are DevOps, mini-apps, computer vision, cryptocurrencies, and fog/edge computing. For DevOps in particular, the percentage of developers who are either interested in it, learning about it, or have already adopted it increased from 66% to 70%.

Computer vision, on the other hand, saw a noticeable growth in the number of developers involved in it.  Meanwhile, the share of those developers who are actually adopting it increased only slightly.

Interest in robotics and quantum computing also increased.

However, the share of interested developers that are working on the technology dropped.

ŸInterest and adoption in blockchain applications other than cryptocurrency, conversational platforms/voice search, drones and biometric technologies remains constant.

Streaming games and extending reality

ŸJust 16% of professional and 10% of hobbyist game developers say they are actively working on designing games for streamers to live-stream their gameplay to an audience. Gameplay streaming is mostly associated with brand promotion and revenue generation. Therefore, the difference between professional and hobbyist interest is to be expected.

One in five AR/VR game developers design for gameplay streaming. This might be because they are the most comfortable with different models for their games, on emerging hardware and across new business channels.

Decoding development trends across regions and screens

  • 2 out of 5 app developers in Asia build apps for messaging platforms and/or chatbots.
  • 34% of mobile developers used cross-platform frameworks in the last 12 months (40% of professional mobile developers, 33% of hobbyists and students).
  • Almost one in four mobile developers opt to use React Native.
  • 31% of mobile developers whose primary target is iOS are using React Native. This compares with 21% of those who primarily target Android.

You can read the full State of the Developer Nation report here.

We look forward to decoding development trends in our next report. You can help shape the trends by taking the 18th Developer Economics survey here!