Every time you use an internet-based program or browse a webpage, you are interacting with the product of a software engineer’s labor. Software engineers are experts in computer science who create software, create mobile and online applications, and manage network control systems using engineering concepts and programming languages.
The need for software engineers will only grow as our daily lives become more and more dependent on smart technologies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2031, employment will have increased by 25%.
As per Global Count, 26.3 million, number of software developers are there in the world, marking a 3.1% increase in the number of software developers in the world in 2021. They project this growth to continue, reaching 29.3 million developers worldwide by 2027.
Notably, the Asia-Pacific region, led by India, is set to experience the highest software developer growth rate at 17%, followed by North America at 15% and Latin America at 14%. 2018’s data highlights that there were 23 million programmers globally.
This number has increased by over 20% in the last five years, reaching 27.7 million in 2023. In the future, it’s expected to reach over 28.7 million.
Reports show a surge in population growth, internet connection expansion, and penetration. Owing to this, we might see the number of software developers nearly double in the next decade, reaching around 45 million by 2030.
The need for software developers is surging. It is expected that by 2024, the number of jobs for software and app developers will grow exponentially by 12.5% as compared to 2014.
The US Bureau Department of Labor Statistics anticipates an even more substantial growth of 24% in software developer jobs between 2016 and 2026.
A software developer is a professional who designs, creates, and maintains computer programs and applications. They write the code that makes software run, ensuring it meets the needs of users and functions correctly.
Software Engineers play a crucial role in the technology industry, turning ideas into functional software products that power our digital world. Software developers, or engineers, are the creators of technology products. Their role involves developing enterprise solutions, including software solutions development and applications development.
Their job is to handle various tasks in the development process, such as designing, coding, debugging, testing, and ensuring the software meets user needs.
Software developers have a variety of specialties and skills to offer in different programming languages, such as Java, PHP, Python, .NET, or full stack developers. Some focus on mobile app development, while others specialize in technologies like AI and machine learning. In essence, developers play a crucial role in shaping the platforms we depend on.
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To be successful, software engineers need to have a diverse set of technical and soft skills to tackle complex challenges and deliver reliable solutions. Some basic skills software engineers should possess include:
- Strong problem-solving abilities and an innovative mindset
- Knowledge of algorithms and data structures
- Ability to work collaboratively with a variety of teams
- Familiarity with software development methodologies like Agile or Scrum
- Sound communication skills that can convey technical concepts
How to Become a Software Engineer
Thanks to strong industry demand and their own technical expertise, skilled software engineers who focus on applications and systems are compensated well for the value they deliver. Companies headquartered in tech hubs like New York and California, in particular, offer in-person and remote coding career opportunities with even higher average earnings—while software engineers remain in demand at companies of all sizes nationwide.
According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for application developers is $99,558 per year, and $92,562 for systems developers in the U.S. Of course, applications and systems developer jobs are not the only two positions available in the field of software engineering. Other common roles include mobile developers, applications architects, quality assurance analysts, and database administrators.
According to LightcastTM, there are over 1 million open software engineering roles in the United States, making them one of the most in-demand jobs. With such high demand, software engineers can find themselves in a variety of industries, including technology, finance, healthcare, government, and more.
Completing a two- or four-year computer science degree has, until recently, been the only path to successfully launching a career as a software engineer. Other math- and science-related degrees in fields like information systems, electronics, and civil engineering or even community college courses have also enabled people to transition into software development.
However, a formal degree or some college coursework is no longer the only path to becoming a web developer. Coding bootcamps are an increasingly popular option for those who want to quickly transition into software engineering.
Coding bootcamps are intensive short-term programs that focus on practical, language-specific programming skills but also typically cover information technology fundamentals. Most bootcamps are designed to prepare students to enter the IT job market more quickly and focus on the skills most in-demand with employers. Bootcamp programs are delivered online or in a certain geography.
To help you prepare for bootcamp, Fullstack Academy offers an Intro to Coding course. Designed for complete beginners, this course will cover core principles that will empower you to succeed in bootcamp.
Once your training is complete, you’ll need to touch up your software engineer resumé.
How Many Software Developers Are 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.