In today's interconnected world, where technology continues to shape every facet of our lives, software developers become a cornerstone of innovation and progress. As businesses, governments, and individuals increasingly rely on software solutions to streamline operations, enhance user experiences, and solve complex challenges, the global community of IT professionals has grown to unprecedented numbers.
In this article, we will explore the global software developer population, focusing on geographic distribution, technology domain expertise, and developer demographics.
How Many Software Developers Are There in the World?
According to Evans Data Corporation, last year there were 26.3 million software developers worldwide, a 3.1% increase compared to 2021. The company anticipates this growth will continue, with global tech headcount expected to hit 29.3 million by 2027. The Asia-Pacific region is predicted to experience the highest increase (17%), with India leading the way. North America will demonstrate the second strongest growth at 15%, followed by Latin America (14%).
Data presented by Statista shows that in 2018 there were 23 million programmers worldwide. Over the past five years, the global developer population grew by more than 20%, amounting to 27.7 million in 2023. Looking further out, in 2024 this number is going to reach 28.7 million people.
According to SlashData forecast, based on the current population growth, internet penetration rate, and a percentage of “developers per capita”, we can expect that the number of software developers will almost double later in the decade, to about 45M in 2030.
Number of software developers in the world in 2020-2024 (Source: Statista)
The number of people writing code is only going to grow in the coming years. It is expected that by 2024, the number of jobs for software and app developers will have increased by 12.5% compared to 2014. Meanwhile, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that software developer jobs will increase by 24% between 2016 and 2026.
How Many Software Developers Are There in the US?
The US is home to more than 4,4 million software engineers. This makes it the third largest tech hub in the world, right behind China and India.
The percentage of software developers in total US workforce (Source: DQYDJ)
According to the Developer Nation survey, the majority of specialists (43%) employed in the software development industry self-identify as programmers or software developers. Other popular roles include computer and data science student, tech/engineering team lead, software architect, machine learning developer, and data engineer.
These results match the estimates from DataUSA, which pegs the number of people working as software developers in the US to around 1.42 million. They are most often employed by the computer systems design sector, while the second largest share of software developers is engaged in architectural, engineering & related services.
Top US states with the largest number of software engineers (Source: DQYDJ)
Silicon Valley employs the most software developers in the US, with Sunnyvale, San Jose, and Santa Clara leading the way. The Seattle metropolitan area, which is home to Microsoft and Nintendo of America, is another magnet for skilled tech professionals.
In terms of raw numbers, California leads the way with 628K developers. Texas and New York come in second and third with 325K and 218K respectively.
The highest percentage of programmers is concentrated in Washington, DC (6.46%). Virginia and Maryland follow next, with 4.43% and 4.41% respectively.
How Many Software Developers Are There in Europe?
The number of software developers in Europe is estimated at 6.1 million. Germany has the highest concentration of software engineers – a little over 1 million. France and the UK round up the list of top 3 countries with the largest number of software developers reaching 533K and 465K respectively.
The number of software developers in Europe
While the software developer population is constantly growing, many Western countries are experiencing significant challenges in sourcing engineers locally. Due to the high demand for IT professionals in the modern technological world, the EU tech market suffers from a shortage of 500K software developers.
According to ManpowerGroup, Finland is currently leading the way as one of the nations with the greatest year-over-year talent gap increase. Depending on the industry, between 66 and 90% of Finnish companies can not find the skills they are looking for. The same goes for Sweden and Portugal, where 56-65% of enterprises claim to be in short supply of seasoned professionals. Finding the right talent is the issue for 41-52% of organizations in Spain, Belgium, and Italy, while in Norway, the UK, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands this problem is felt acutely by 15-40% of organizations.
Language Landscape: The Number of Software Developers by Technology
As the world continues to be shaped by rapid advancements in the digital domain, it is important to understand the prevailing trends in the tech ecosystem. The distribution of software engineers across various technologies is a helpful marker for monitoring the changing industry conditions and innovation trajectories.
A surge in developers for a specific programming language or framework may indicate its rising significance in the industry. A decline, on the other hand, may signify a waning interest in a certain technology. By keeping a close eye on these fluctuations, businesses, policymakers, and technology enthusiasts can make informed decisions about resource allocation, skill development, and investment strategies.
The most popular programming language (Source: SlashData)
Java is the second most popular programming language. According to Developer Nation, the number of software developers working with Java reached 17.1 million people in Q1 2023.
Originally designed as a niche technology for the digital cable television industry over the years it quickly evolved into one of the most important general-purpose programming languages, gaining popularity with coders all over the world. During the first eight years after its release in 1995, there were between 1,5 and 3 million Java developers. In 2007, when Java became open source, this number had risen to 6 million.
Despite being almost three decades old, this framework has recently seen incredible growth primarily due to the rise of cloud computing and mobile technologies. Furthermore, as a cornerstone of the Android app ecosystem, Java is widely employed by AR/VR developers who leverage this operating system as a foundation for their innovative software solutions. The combination of these factors enabled Java to gain nearly 8 million new users over the past two years – the highest growth in absolute terms across all languages.
Python has firmly entrenched itself in the top 3, gradually getting closer to Java in terms of popularity. It boasts a vast tech community of 17.1 million active developers and keeps adding new users. The major driving force behind Python’s growth is the widespread adoption of data science and machine learning technologies.
Today there are 13.3 million C/C++ software engineers. The size of the tech community has nearly doubled since 2015 when the developer count was just over 6.3 million. This growth was fueled by the rising adoption of IoT, where C and C++ are core languages for both on-device and application-level coding projects.
The number of software developers using C# is currently estimated to be 11.2 million.
The number of PHP developers reached 8.8 million people. The community shows steady growth: it was 5 million as of 2013, 5,5 million as of September 2018, and 6.1 million PHP developers in 2019.
Faces of Code: A Look into Software Developer Demographics
Regular surveys conducted by Evans Data Corporation, DataUSA and Stack Overflow offer plenty of software developer statistics. Below are the ones we consider the most interesting:
- According to Evans Data, the median software developer age is 36 (EMEA region – 40, North America – 39, Latin America – 35, APAC region – 34).
- The study by DataUSA shows that the majority of the tech community in the US (81.9%) are men, while women comprise just 18.1% of the workforce.
- 27.5 % of developers in the world are women.
- Nearly 45% of professional developers learned to code less than 10 years ago.
- 68.6% of software developers indicated having a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- 6 million developers are involved in Big Data and advanced analytics.
- There are 300K highly-trained AI specialists worldwide.
- 2 million developers worldwide are working on IoT apps.
- 4 million developers (26%) use cloud-based development environments.
- 33% of women stated that the most important driver of their development work lies in their personal curiosity and interest in the technologies they use, whereas this was true of only 22% of men.
- China has the biggest number of software developers in the world – almost 7 million people. It is followed by India with nearly 5 million software engineers. Other top countries are the US – 4.4 million, Germany – 1 million, and Japan – 918K.
- The majority of software developers worldwide have between 5 to 9 years of coding experience – 26.53%. The second largest group is people with 1-4 years of experience – 23.3%, followed by those with 10-14 years of experience – 18.07%.
The percentage of developers by years of coding experience (Source: StackOverflow)
Number of Software Developers in the World: FAQs
- Which country has the most programmers in the world?
China is # 1 by the number of software developers with nearly 7 million IT specialists.
- Where are most programmers located?
South-Eastern Asia is home to nearly 50% of software developers in the world.
- Which country is number one in coding?
According to HackerRank, China has the best software developers in the world.
- Which country has the highest demand for software engineers?
The US is consistently showing a high demand for software engineers across various industries, including software development, artificial intelligence, finance, and healthcare. The country currently faces a tech talent shortage of around 900K engineers.
- Are there “too many” programmers these days?
No, quite the opposite. By 2030 the global shortage of software engineers may reach 85.2 million.
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