While development is at the core of almost every technology-related organization, it is still a relatively new field. It is also growing rapidly. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor is forecasting the job market for Web Developers to grow another 15 percent by 2026.
Here's a look at the current state of the development field.
The survey results indicate that the development workforce is made up of a lot of new talent. 55 percent of our development respondents began their career in a field other than development, and 58 percent have only been programming for five years or less.
In terms of specializations, 60 percent of Developers are working in front-end or full-stack development, with Senior Developers favoring full-stack over front-end.
Developers in a senior or management position also reported a broader range of specialties, which is not surprising given that they are likely to have more experience in the field and knowledge of multiple programming languages.
Similar to our data respondents, the majority of Developers are working in smaller teams, with 57 percent of respondents working either independently or on teams of 10 or fewer.
When asked about the overall level of development literacy outside of the development team at their organization, 76 percent of respondents responded with intermediate or higher. Due to the technical nature of web development, the high percentage of literacy across organizations was surprising, so we dug deeper.
Breaking the data down further, we found that the more senior an employee is, the higher they rated the development literacy in their organization. There may be a number of potential reasons for this, including the fact that senior employees often work with more highly qualified individuals within the company; and that they may have a better grasp of employee skills competency because they're involved in the hiring process.
In terms of advancing their own development skills, respondents most frequently use social and digital forms of learning. The top three resources Developers use to learn new techniques or ideas were online forums, digital skills training, and blogs.
Looking again at how this differs across levels of seniority, the higher up a Developer was in the company, the more likely they were to use online first-party documentation as a frequent source of learning. Respondents at the senior and intermediate levels are more likely to have a wider range of learning sources, while entry-level respondents seem to rely on two major sources: digital skills training and online forums.
This difference at the lower level may be due to the fact that entry-level respondents have more gaps in foundational development knowledge, which may be simpler to address.
When it comes to learning opportunities and training, Developers cite online courses as the most frequent format for improving their skills.
Looking forward to 2019, we asked Developers which trends they think will have the greatest impact on the field.
78 percent of respondents believe that machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are the trends that will have the most impact on development in the next five to 10 years. These were followed closely by internet-of-things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR).
While Developers see these trends as impactful, very few have actual experience working with these technologies. 83 percent of Developers have never developed for any artificial intelligence platforms or blockchain technology, and only 20 percent have any experience with IoT devices.
If we look at seniority in relation to familiarity with new technologies, intermediate level Developers have more experience with blockchain technology than entry-level or senior Developers, but this is still only 25 percent of intermediate respondents. If organizations are looking to incorporate these trends into their strategic plans for 2019, Developers will have to level up their skills.