APP and API delivery: Deep dive into the NGNIX Community

Have you tried NGINX? Have you worked with a web server or reverse proxy? 

For those who have been living under a rock, NGINX is a web server that can also be used as a reverse proxy, load balancer, mail proxy and HTTP cache. It is also free and open-source software, released under the terms of the 2-clause BSD license in 2004. 

Last year, we collaborated with F5 NGINX to explore their community. We designed a survey that ran between August and September 2022 with more than 2,000 respondents worldwide. 

We took the survey findings and published the “NGINX State of App and API Delivery Report.

In this report we conduct an in-depth exploration of the following:

  1. Profile of NGINX users. 

We provide an overview of the survey respondents’ profiles in terms of their geographic location, role, and size of their organization, while also focusing on their use cases and the challenges they face in application (app) and API delivery projects.

What did we discover? 

  1. 31% of all development roles also identify with leadership roles
  2. 44% of employees at large enterprises have nothing to do with security compared to 29% and 27% for those working at medium-sized and small businesses, respectively
  3. The largest issue faced by the NGINX community is a lack of technical skills. 
  4. When it comes to app and API delivery use cases respondents are working on, we find that nearly 50% are currently using web servers, 36% reverse proxies, and 34% load balancer
  1. Organisational approaches to APIs and the importance of App/API features.

 We then dive deeper into apps and APIs, by examining the degree to which organizations are adopting four key API first practices:

  • leveraging APIs as sources of revenue, 
  • designing the API first when building services, 
  • aligning APIs to their overall digital strategy,
  • And designing APIs to be reusable. 

Furthermore, we examine how these practices vary across company size.

We also explore how important security, scalability, and observability features are in app and API delivery projects.

One interesting highlight:

A higher share of those with no security responsibility recognises that user authentication and authorization are very important, compared to those who build security features into their apps.  

  1. Technology choices and development environments. 

Moving forward, we look at the technology choices and development environments of NGINX community members, with a focus on their workloads, Kubernetes adoption/maturity, where their code is run, and attitudes towards open source software.

We examine how role and organization size affects each of these topics, and compare the profiles of those with low and very high workloads.

Some interesting findings in this chapter include:

  1.  77% of the respondents who use a container orchestration tool are using a Kubernetes-based one.
  2. Scalability is the number one motivation for Kubernetes adoption
  3. The top 3 code deployment environments are public cloud, web client/front-end, and on-premises servers.
  1. Management, security, and monitoring/observability tool usage.

Finally, we take a look at which management/security and monitoring/observability tools the community uses, discuss cross-usage, and explore the differences between the profiles of those who use NGINX and those who don’t.

Among other things, we found that:

  1. Those in SecOps roles strongly favour 3 tools in particular: Google (excluding Firebase), SecureAuth, and Duo.
  2. 44% of respondents are currently working on authentication or authorization use cases 
  3. Those in Leadership roles are more likely to depend solely on NGINX configuration management tool.

Make sure to download the complete report to find out more on the importance of App/API features as well as on the usage on monitoring, security and management tools

Interested in finding out more about your community? Let’s talk


How companies and DevRel serve the communities developers join

If you have been following Developer Relations and Marketing for a while, you might have noticed how the community is becoming a more and more integral part of all strategic activities. Developer Relations is becoming (if not already) a community-led effort.

There is a huge benefit to any vendor to maintain a community for all the reasons that data shows us. If we can enable developers get more out of a product, if we can enable them to be excited about the product, share their experience with their peers and also progress through the community member’s lifescycle from new joiner to expert, we are helping them progress in their career and we’re also getting them more invested in our product and ecosystem. If you keep those core needs in mind, that’s when vendor communities start to add value.

Jamie Langskov, Community and change management strategist. 

Naturally, this leaves us asking: 

  • Where do communities fit in the perception of developers? 
  • Why are developers joining communities? 
  • How are developer-facing professionals address developers’ community needs?

We don’t have to guess these answers. We just need to look at the data Jamie is referring to. These data come from 2 surveys run by SlashData: the Developer Nation survey (developer-focused) and the Developer Program Leaders survey (DevRel-focused). Let’s look together at the insights these bring us. 

Where do communities fit in the perception of developers? 

Developers join communities to learn. According to the Q3 2022 Developer Nation survey, which surveyed 23,790+ developers, 19% of developers rank community in the top 5 resources that companies should offer to support developers. This makes the community 7th most important resource overall, just ahead of answers in public forums and only slightly behind professional certifications. 

Student developers’ professional aspirations

Having understood what makes developers join a community, we look at what the “next generation of developers” aka developers who are currently identifying as “students” look forward to. 

When asked about their top career aspirations, student developers (sample size of 4,790+) listed these as their top 3 aspirations:

  1. Solve problems
  2. Become an expert in a domain or technology
  3. Build innovative products/services 

You can see their full responses in the graph below. What the answers to this question show is how the community can be the place where student developers’ needs are getting addressed. The community can provide the space, the resources and the interactions that can help student developers meet with their top aspirations: solve problems and gain expertise in a domain or technology.

Are organisations paying attention to developers’ community needs?

Yes, they are. And we will data-back this affirmation by looking at the data from the latest Developer Program Leaders survey, where we surveyed ~130 industry professionals in developer-facing roles. The data speaks for itself. Communities are now sharing the spotlight with other traditional popular methods of developer education. And developer-facing organisations are aware. 

According to their responses, when the professionals are setting their strategy on how to talk to developers and address their technical audience needs, 73% consider community as (at least) a key part of their strategy. More specifically

  • 34% consider community as the most important part of their strategy  
  • 39% consider community as a key part of their strategy
  • Only 6% do not include the community in their strategy. 

You can see all responses at this graph:

What are developer program leaders’ roles?

By now we have established the importance of community in a developer marketing strategy. To better understand how this strategy is implemented, we will look at the hats these developer program professionals are wearing to implement this strategy and we will also look at the community sizes – for perspective.

With 73% of those professionals reporting community as a key part of their strategy, it comes as no surprise that 34% of them have “Community Manager” as their professional title, the second most popular, right behind “Developer Relations Practitioner” and only slightly above “Developer Marketing Practitioner”. 

“I’ll have one ‘large community, please”

Communities come in different sizes. While everyone strives to build a space with a massive, always active user base, the reality sometimes shows differently. In fact, only 4% of the Developer Program Leaders reported running an active community that counts more than 10M members. 27% responded to running communities smaller than 100 members. 

The less people are in a community, the more effort is needed to keep the discussion going. Which begs the question: how can you engage the community members?

Driving participation in the community

To answer this question, we don’t look at what community managers are doing to increase engagement in their communities. We ask developers what makes a community fun for them.

33% of developers (sample size 10,478) responded that having a well-designed community platform is their #1 reason that encourages them to participate. Four more reasons are tied for the second place, with 29% of respondents saying that what encourages them to be active are:

  • Getting regular updates
  • Fun activities
  • A well-defined purpose for the community 
  • Projects on which community members can work together

The latter one is especially important for students.

Here is the full breakdown of their responses:

Developer community + DevRel strategy wrap up

In summary, looking at the latest data from our Developer Nation survey (developer-focused) and the Developer Program Leaders survey (DevRel-focused) we reach the following conclusions which we discussed in this hopefully-not-that-long article:

  • Developers rank community at their top-5 resources 
  • Developers’ #1 reason for joining communities is training and resources 
  • A community can be the means to address student developers’ top aspirations
  • Community is considered a key part of a developer-facing strategy by more than ⅔ of developer program leaders
  • Community management is the second most popular title 
  • Communities come in all shapes, but even more sizes
  • Developers share what makes them engage in a community and are happy to share it. 

How are you addressing your developer community? Join the discussions with like minded people at the DevRelX community. If you want more data on developer needs and wants or you are trying to better understand developers, SlashData has the insights you need. 

Did you know that 60% of game developers use game engines?

Games are one of the most popular forms of entertainment and gamers demand high-performance and cutting-edge designs. Performance is also key to developers who work on creating games. 

Considering the popularity of this entertainment niche, we take a look at how developers work on creating the games; more specifically: game engines. This article is based on “Game Engines and their use in Game Development” Developer Ecosystem Insights. In this report, we explore the state of game development and look at engines and the technologies developers use for creating video games.

The embrace of game engines

Around 42% of the developer population is involved in the games sector—either as a professional, student, or hobbyist. The developers have a wealth of technologies from which to choose, among which, game engines are the most prevalent.

 47% of developers use 3D game engines; while 36% use 2D game engines.

Some of these developers use both 3D and 2D, leading to a total usage of 60% of the game developer population. As the name suggests, the difference between 2D and 3D games lies in the number of axes of motion available to the players. In 2D games, there is no perspective, fewer possible movements, and therefore, fewer interactions with other characters or objects in the game—resulting in these games being typically less complex than 3D games.

60% of game developers use game engines

As recently as 2017, our data showed that developers used 2D and 3D game engines equally, with 44% and 45% usage respectively. In subsequent years, however, the chasm between the two has widened — by 11 percentage points. 

Overall, a similar percentage of developers are using game engines: 

63% in Q2 2017, compared to 60% in Q1 2021. 

However, far fewer developers are now only developing games with 2D engines, which is down 7 percentage points from Q2 2017. On the other end of the scale, sole usage of 3D game engines is up 5 percentage points. The large rise in 3D usage is due, in part, to the impact of VR gaming; as well as the dominance of smartphone and native desktop games which, when coupled with modern powerful hardware and larger screen sizes, encourage increases in game complexity. The platforms targeted by developers who use game engines will be explored further in chapter three.

Uneasy rests the head that wears the crown

Unity has the largest share of the game engine market: 38% of game developers who use game engines use Unity as their primary engine. The next most popular game engine, Unreal Engine, has 15% usage as a primary engine—much lower than Unity. Unity’s dominance is clear, but the gap between Unity and its competitors is closing. Overall usage of Unreal Engine—both as a primary and an ‘also using’ game engine—is currently at 43%. 

In Q2 2017, it was at 20%. Unreal Engine’s focus on higher-end graphics and performance allows it to fill an important segment—their latest release of UE5 looks poised to continue this trend—but the engine is harder to use than Unity and is accessible on fewer platforms, somewhat restricting mass adoption. On the other hand, Unity remains king of the gaming market because it has succeeded in doing many things well: it is considered the best engine for mobile, excels in, and has a much larger and focussed tool-set for 2D games.49% of developers using Unity use Unreal Engine; while 76% of those using Unreal Engine find themselves using Unity.

Traditionally, Unity’s versatility has not been easily replicated, but developers are currently finding success in combining game engines to access the unique advantages of each. Typically, developers use more than one game engine: 64% of developers using game engines are using two or more, and 38% use three or more. Developers using offerings from vendors with a smaller market share tend to use multiple game engines at the same time. The smaller engines often lack all the capabilities of Unity and Unreal Engine, leading to game developers mixing engines to find their optimal usage combinations. These engines’ market share comes predominantly from their role as additional game engines. For example, Godot has a 20% usage as a game engine which developers are also using, but only a 5% usage as a primary game engine.

The reasons for the popularity of game engines are many, but one of them is the undeniable fact that game engines can shorten production time and costs. This makes this kind of technology more appealing than ever to a wide range of developers, ranging from amateurs to professionals, who are trying to gain a foothold in the industry.

What are your thoughts?

This data is just the tip of the iceberg or in gaming terms – a small tutorial or walkthrough. We have a lot more insights and data to share with you on games, including:  where game developers work, how and where to reach them and even a forecast of their population for 2023. Access all data here 

We can go on this adventure together. Contact us 

State of the Developer Nation 23rd edition: the fall of web frameworks, coding languages, blockchain, and more!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, the beginning of the “Merry” season but also the time when new insights from the world of developers come to everyone’s house (magic may or may not be involved)!

Stay up to date with the 23rd edition of the State of the Developer Nation report and get the insights you would only pick up by slashing through data with your own two hands.

Our 23rd Developer Nation global survey reached more than 26,000 developers in 160+ countries and its findings are bundled in a free “State of the Developer Nation” report. 

This research report delves into key developer trends for Q3 2022:

  1. The state of blockchain development
  2. Students’ top career aspirations
  3. Language communities – An update
  4. Why developers contribute to vendor-owned open-source projects
  5. Types of studios game developers work for
  6. The rise and fall of web frameworks

In addition to outlining the report’s major findings, here are a few key takeaway points to spark your curiosity:

The state of blockchain development

  • 25% of developers are currently working on or learning about blockchain applications other than cryptocurrencies. 
  • Developers with 6-10 years of experience in software development are the most likely to be working on blockchain projects.
  • Though Ethereum is the dominant blockchain platform, it is the only one more popular among learners than those currently working on blockchain applications.

Language communities – An update

  • Javascript remains the largest programming language community, with an estimated 19.6M developers worldwide using it.
  • In the last two years, Java has almost doubled the size of its community, from 8.3M to 16.5M. For perspective, the global developer population grew about half as fast over the same period.
  • Kotlin and Rust are the two fastest-growing language communities, having more than doubled in size in the past two years. 

The rise and fall of web frameworks

  • Web developers who use frameworks are more likely to be high-performers in software delivery than those who don’t.
  • Web developers are gradually settling for a smaller number of frameworks as they stop experimenting with a wide range of tools.
  • React is currently the most widely used client-side framework and its adoption has remained stable over the past two years. By comparison, jQuery’s popularity is decreasing rapidly.  

As you’ll notice, most of the trends we discuss in this report are takeaways from how developers use technology. Our goal is to share these insights with the world to help guide the next generation of development. 

You can download the full report for free and access all data and insights within.

If you need additional information or looking to understand developer preferences’, please get in touch with us and we will dive into it together.

Using SlashData custom questions to understand AI software developers

Our mission is to help our clients understand what the market looks like, what developers need, what excites developers, what doesn’t, and what they expect from our clients’ (and their competitors’) products and the developer programs that go along with them. So, when we are approached with a request for some custom work, we roll up our sleeves and dive deep into the data.

In this case study, we will be looking at how one of our clients, worked with us to understand the needs and preferences of software developers working with AI. 

The client is a company among the top 50 in the 2022 Fortune 500 ranking, which for the purposes of this case study we will be calling “Client”. This is the third installment in our “how we work with clients” series, and you can read part 2 and part 1 with Okta for more details. 

In this article, we will look into their request and more specifically:

  • The questions our Client wanted to answer
  • How we worked together on their problem
  • How they used the insights we offered them

The request

Understanding the needs of AI software developers

The Client wanted to better understand the needs of AI software developers, so we worked with them closely to understand the problem they were trying to solve. Then, together we made sure that we added custom questions to our Developer Nation survey, to get the answers from developers. 

Question: What was the goal/challenge you were looking to accomplish?

Client: We wanted to get feedback from our customers, who are software developers that work on AI, so we could get a better understanding of their needs:

  • What they’re actually doing 
  • The specific points that we are trying to optimize. 

We wanted to answer high-level questions such as what language they are using and high-level computing preferences. This is why we decided we want to have this survey. 

Q: Why did you choose SlashData?

At Client, we have had the experience of working with SlashData. And we did get a high value out of the previous report that you did for us. I was impressed by the support that I got when I needed it, the responsiveness, how you were always on schedule. The real part of working together. I felt how you put the customer at the front, the priority. All of these were very important to us. This is why we chose to work with you again on this project. 

Working together

I really got the feeling that you’re trying to understand real problems

Q: What did you like about the process of working with SlashData?

I really liked the execution: the ability to execute fast and answer our questions. We worked very well, very collaborative. Truth is, we did have a slow start. But then you said “let’s do this: you will write your assumptions, we will ask questions and approach this project this way”. Once we started that, work was progressing in a much better way. It was hard at the beginning, but I got excellent support. You had excellent questions, I really got the feeling that you’re trying to understand real problems. “What is it that we are trying to solve?”. You also asked questions to learn more about what we are doing, which I found very professional.

Q: What are the things you found challenging when working with SlashData?

We said that we would be adding X custom questions to your survey. But from our side, we tried to add more and more and we were left with all those very complex questions. 

Very complex questions are tougher to answer when you are looking to gain something specific. You did tell us to get the simple questions answered. This is what comes to mind in retrospect: Don’t make the questions too complex, trying to squeeze in more. You will get more value out of the simple questions, not the very complex ones. 

Deciding using the data

I used a significant part of those questions to presentations I gave to our senior executives.

Q: How did this project/report/data solve your problem/challenge overall? Did you understand the developers’ problems more based on the report?

I used a significant part of those questions to presentations I gave to our senior executives. I was especially more confident to use the less complex questions we asked. If I had my current experience in the beginning, I would have managed to secure a higher budget to ask more, simpler questions. 

data that show what our customers think and therefore, we could work with more than just our own thoughts and assumptions

Q: What decisions did you make using the data/research?

The work we did together was part of a huge project that Client is working on. I’m afraid I can’t disclose exactly the steps we did take after going through the analysis you gave us. What I can tell you is that senior management really liked the fact that we spoke to our customers and asked them directly. And not only that, but we also brought data that show what our customers think and therefore, we could work with more than just our own thoughts and assumptions. Client is planning for some huge products and of course there are a lot of parameters and a lot of things being done. But this data helped us pick a direction. 

How would you describe the service quality?

The service was excellent, really.

This interview is part 3 of the “How we work with our clients” series. The product this client worked with was custom questions and analysis and a custom report, to target their specific needs. You can also see how Okta managed to reach the top 3 in developer satisfaction using our Developer Program Benchmarking and how another client used our Deep Dives to boost their Developer Experience.

Working on a new initiative or want to make sure your product will win developers’ hearts? Talk to us. 

How do you measure the success of your developer-facing activities?

The Developer Program Leaders survey focuses on understanding “what makes a developer program successful” as viewed from the perspective of professionals in the field.

This survey brings you and the members of the DevRelX Community insights on how DevRel and Developer Marketing professionals:

  • Run their developer programs
  • Prioritise their work 
  • Segment their audience 
  • Measure success
  • Justify the value of their developer program to senior management and more!

If you are a DevRel, Developer Marketing, or Product Manager, your input is precious.

You may also think of it as an open-source initiative to better understand how the world understands the value of developer marketing and relations. 

In the survey, you will find questions such as:

What metrics do you use to measure the success and ROI of your developer program? Do you segment your audience?

These questions (and a few more) need your input. The latest wave of the Developer Program Leaders survey is now live. 

What you gain by responding:

  • Full access to the findings in an interactive session supported by SlashData’s research analysts, hosted within the DevRelX community
  • A chance to win exclusive DevRelX swag
  • You take part in a community effort to understand and improve how your peers work and set their strategy

How long is the survey? It is short. You’ll need ±8 minutes

Shape how the world understands the value of developer marketing and relations!  

Take this short survey.

The survey closes on November 14.

DevrelX Summit: Elevating the DevRel community, together

The DevRelX Summit is a community takeover, an opportunity for Developer Marketing and DevRel managers, strategists, practitioners, and enthusiasts to come together.

SlashData, which powers DevRelX and the community behind it, is organising a Developer Marketing/DevRel event for the 7th consecutive year, after the record participation of 1,000+ attendees in 2021.  DevRelX is a learning and sharing zone, committed to elevating the understanding of developer audiences and industry trends. A space where regardless of their experience level, everyone gets to access and share knowledge.  

This year’s event is an interactive experience of knowledge and expertise sharing, which puts the DevRelX community at its centre. The DevRelX Summit will take place on October 12 & 13 2022, with:

  • Panels
  • Community-led sessions
  • Lightning talks
  • Exclusive sessions and leadership workshops

Developer-focused professionals are invited to join the 2-day schedule
Full agenda follows: 

October 12 | Milestone Day | 8 am PT.

The first day, “Milestone Day” is invite-only. It is addressed to DevRel strategists, senior managers, seasoned DevRels, and CXOs. Anyone who wants to participate can request an invite via this link.

The Milestone day will offer participants strategic conversations, master classes, and workshops presented by industry pioneers and experts.

October 13 | Community Day | 8 am PT.

The second day, “Community Day”, is open to community advocates at heart. Anyone who believes that a community-centric mindset is the foundation of developer relations can get their ticket via this link.

The Community day will be full of developer community conversations, learning and connecting with peers.

Join the DevRelX Summit, for its 7th consecutive year – the best one yet!

Here is the full agenda:

DevRelX Summit Agenda

4 lessons from my first 9 months as CEO

In this slightly up close and personal post, I outline 4 things I’ve learned with a major work and life change. This post is aimed to walk through a few main points of reflection or possible recommendations when the time comes for anyone to take on a new and challenging opportunity. 

Now, this is based on my own experience 9 months in as the CEO of SlashData. It’s a few things I recommend someone to consider when changing roles, maybe you are becoming a first-time manager, taking on a larger team, and/or becoming a parent. 

If you prefer the executive summary, the gist is: Whatever change you may be planning to make in your personal life and career, it’s my personal experience that you should start preparing early, but be ready for surprises along the way. You shouldn’t start a new role on day one – think about what you can do ahead of time to make the transition smoother. Especially in leadership roles, you might have become the manager, good for you! But, on the flip side, everyone has to have you as a manager now. For more context, keep reading. 🙂 

#1 Plan everything but be ready for surprises.

Some sayings are cliche for a reason. You know what they say, how life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans? Well, I felt the irony of that one when I found out I was pregnant 1 week after taking over as CEO. Travelling to my first board meeting, sick as a dog and not able to say anything because it was too early and the doctor’s advice is to keep it between you and your partner for a while. Obviously I want a family, so this was great, but we have to admit, the timing is also funny. I mean, I didn’t even get a headstart before the nausea sunk in. 

That said, having seen other women have children and come back from pregnancy leave and continue to grow in their roles successfully, gave me a lot of encouragement. I look up to the women both at SlashData and not, that have done this before me, especially before the era of remote working having to wear business suits and pumps. I can only imagine what it would have been like to be up at 7am and get panty hose on with the belly and swollen feet. Even in the world of remote working though, having a family and working full-time is really an accomplishment for any working parent. Fingers crossed I do it well.

#2. Don’t wait till day one.

I was very lucky to have a founder that was open  to me “soft-launching” the role 3 months early. Taking over a leadership role should always have some overlap or shadowing. Since I was already part of the Leadership Team I was very attuned to the ins and outs, but the relationship dynamic changed with me and my colleagues. If you are moving into a new management role, you need to understand and comprehend, there is a relationship shift between you and everyone you will be working with. I hope you expect this before you take the role. Actually let me say things a bit differently. If you really want to be liked by everyone you work with, don’t take the job, it’s going to be very disappointing. Not everyone will be happy you have been promoted and that’s ok. If you are lucky someone will be excited, but people need time to adjust and you will need to give it to them. 

Changes like this need to happen in steps. If you can, advocate to allow some time to shadow, be present in your predecessor’s 1-2-1s with your future reports and in cross team meetings. Be aware of what’s being discussed within the leadership team (or the team you will be taking on) and how things are being addressed. Decide what you care about keeping within the agenda and if you might change something, prepare your thoughts as early as possible. Once you take over, have open discussions with your direct reports on what they also think about what they would like to keep, change, or what’s missing for them.

On the one hand, people needed time to adjust, while others had nearly immediate expectations. Be aware, people will not be as open with you once they know you will be the new boss. They won’t tell you directly things you might have discussed openly just a few days earlier. This was something I didn’t consider ahead of time, from the day colleagues were notified, some saw me in a different light. There was an immediate expectation that I would be a different person, take a different approach as to how I communicate, even if they had known me for years. They weren’t as candid any more, they may have been more protective of their opinions, which also meant I needed now to be more careful how I spoke about the future of the company or a new project. Was I speaking hypothetically or sharing a plan that they should expect and take action on? Things change when you take over. It may take some time for you to adjust to this new reality. I took the honest approach, which I recommend. Open communication to explain that the adjustment is on both sides, you also need time to adjust to the new expectations from your new direct reports. Ask for that time from those that may have immediate expectations from you. You probably won’t fit their expectations anyway, your leadership style will be different from your predecessor and the leadership style of others on your team. Ask for that time to find your bearings.

#3. Let your team tell you what to do

Even more importantly for me before I took over, was taking over a strategic workshop we run a couple times a year. This would be a type of all hands meeting for the Leadership team. If you can, take this over early and design it to fit what you need it to achieve.

I took over the last one in Q4 of the previous year. 

Even though I hadn’t officially started, I was able to re-design the structure of the meeting to fit what we needed for everyone to feel aligned. They needed not just to be aware of where we are going in my first year as CEO, they needed to own the direction. You’ve taken over, but everything is not about you or what you think should happen right now. Create the opportunity and the safe space for your new team to build your next steps together. You should have an opinion, but let them bring up the issues, and jointly decide on a plan to address them. Let them suggest what your priorities are, chances are you will agree with them too. 

Was it perfect? No of course not, I’m a newbie afterall. But, the time was extremely well spent. I planned a workshop that would set the pace for the next year. Everyone gave feedback for improvement, but also said they felt we were more aligned than ever and they knew what to expect in the next year. What everyone seemed to feel at the end of it was above all clarity about what’s next. For a new CEO, I couldn’t ask for more than that. Doing this BEFORE I took over, was 100% the right move. We all brought up the issues, we collaboratively came up with the plan with actions on what to do about them for the next year. We are still executing things we decided in that meeting, 9 months later.

#4 Life happens to everyone, even you

Now it’s possible you may be reading this while I’m off on my maternity leave. Yes, I took the job and 9 months in, I’m taking some time to have a baby. I plan to be in touch and have created a schedule for my leave to allow for time off and check-ins with the team, but I will be 100% off for some time and I know the leadership team has things covered in my absence. After that, we’ve planned a schedule to manage all the major events of Q4 and annual strategic planning to allow me to be on a half time schedule. That said, this is not a model I am advocating for others. This is simply what I felt would work for me at this moment. I have the help and support from my partner and family to allow me to have a flexi-schedule. All parents should have the opportunity and the right to take as much leave as they need while building their families.

It’s up to us to define what leadership and mother-hood looks like. As a first-time mother, and CEO I know I won’t have it all figured out the first time round, but looking at all the women that have done it before me and watching everyone at SlashData take their place in moving the company forward, it gives me the comfort and confidence that I can take the time I need. I always thought I would step back from career progression when I had a family, as it turns out I’m pressing the gas pedal instead.

77% of all developers are involved in DevOps

About DevOps

More and more developers are getting involved in DevOps, with an eye on the ultimate DevOps end goal – to streamline the software delivery process. 

Although lacking a widely-accepted, universal definition, DevOps is in essence a set of practices that enable developers to release small but frequent software updates, reliably and safely. These practices are supported by a broader DevOps culture: activities, technologies, and dedicated platforms which work together to achieve the overarching DevOps goal: to streamline the software delivery process. 

In this short blog post, we’ll be sharing some key highlights from our latest global survey wave and the answers of 14,000 developers who responded to questions related to DevOps between December 2021 and February 2022. Also, we’ll be looking at findings from the “Who is into DevOps?” chapter of our 19th Edition State of the Developer Nation free report.

If reading this leaves you wanting to dive deeper into our DevOps insights, we are happy to let you know that we have extended our DevOps research to provide answers to questions like:

  • The DevOps technologies and new tools developers have evaluated, including the top vendors: Atlassian, AWS, Azure, GitHub, GitLab, Google Cloud, Heroku, JFrog, Oracle
  • The specific DevOps products or plans developers are using
  • How application security is handled across organisations
  • Which vendors’ application security tools they are using
  • The processes developers use to secure their cloud-native applications and 
  • Developers’ top security challenges

If you or your team are working on answering these DevOps questions, we will be happy to help you. Just get in touch

What are the latest insights on DevOps?

In our latest report “Landscape and trends in DevOps” we look at the current landscape and trends within DevOps from the developers’ perspective. We aim to understand who these developers are, look at what DevOps activities they’re involved in, and whether increased DevOps adoption really leads to higher software delivery process performance.

Here are the main highlights from the analysis: 

  • 77% of the surveyed developers are involved in DevOps
  • Involvement in multiple DevOps activities/technologies is predictive of higher software delivery performance
  • The average number of DevOps technologies used by DevOps practitioners has increased from 4.2 to 4.6 from Q3 2021 to Q1 2022. 

The last highlight means that the number of technologies used by DevOps practitioners has increased by nearly 10%. But DevOps practitioners are gradually exposed to a greater depth of activities too. Looking at each DevOps activity separately, we can see a significant increase in involvement across the board over the past 6 months:

involvement in DevOps-related activities has increased noticeably on the past six months

You can download the full preview of this report here or contact us to access all insights.

Who is into DevOps?

To answer this question and the ones that followed it, we asked developers whether they are involved in any of the activities that commonly fall under the DevOps spectrum, ranging from continuous integration and deployment to application and infrastructure monitoring. For the purposes of this blog post, we only consider developers who are professionals in at least one of the software areas they are active in. All the insights in this section come from our State of the Developer Nation 19th edition which was published on Q3 2020. You can contact us for all the latest insights.  

The first thing to note is that the adoption of DevOps practices is widespread among professionals, perhaps even more so than one might expect, given that the DevOps movement is relatively new. According to our data, the vast majority of professional developers (82%) are involved in DevOps in one way or another. For perspective, just over half (52%) of non-professionals are involved in any of the DevOps activities on our list.

Which of the following development activities are you involved in?

The vast majority of professional developers are involved in DevOps, but do not necessarily consider themselves DevOps practitioners

On a separate view of engagement with DevOps in our survey, only one in five developers reported working on DevOps when they were explicitly asked about their involvement in several emerging areas, including blockchain applications and quantum computing, among others. Even if we include those who said that they are learning about or are interested in DevOps, no more than 65% consider themselves to be engaged with the area. This signals that a large portion of the developer population has already adopted DevOps practices but does not necessarily self-identify with the term.

Focussing on the individual steps of the DevOps lifecycle, we find that developers are first and foremost involved in the fundamental activity of releasing frequent but small software updates. The most popular development process related to DevOps is continuous integration (CI), practised by 40% of respondents. Another 37% use continuous delivery or deployment (CD), which expands upon CI by automatically deploying all code changes to staging or production environments.

However, full automation of the software release process – and therefore true commitment to the DevOps culture – is far from a reality. While more than half (52%) of developers use CI or CD to streamline parts of their workflow, only 25% use both practices to automate all steps between integrating code changes into a central repository through to production deployment. As it turns out, developers are still sceptical about fully automated CI/CD pipelines. This is evident by the fact that nearly 40% of them manually give the green light for code deployments to be promoted to production.

Application and infrastructure monitoring, performed by 39% of developers, is one of the most common development practices, but not so much infrastructure provisioning and management (27%), which is still the realm of IT managers and system administrators. Similarly, creating automated tests (25%) and building CI/CD pipelines (23%) are rather specialised tasks, carried out predominantly by quality assurance professionals and solution architects, respectively.

Talking about organisational roles; our research reveals noticeable differences in the level of DevOps adoption, i.e. involvement in any DevOps-related activity, depending on the title that developers hold. First of all, technical company leaders – CIOs, CTOs, IT managers, and engineering team leads – report the highest level of involvement in DevOps activities. Not only do almost all developers with a technical leadership function, about 95% of them, have at least some participation in the DevOps lifecycle, but they are also simultaneously involved in a higher than the average number of DevOps activities (three vs two).

Involvement in DevOps by company role

Programmers have largely adopted CI/CD processes, but not so much other DevOps practices

The next tier of the DevOps adoption ranking is mainly occupied by specialist roles, such as network security engineers, QA developers, and system administrators. Between 86% and 91% of developers holding these positions are in some way associated with the DevOps culture. We should note, however, that only architects – system, solution, software etc. – appear to be heavily involved in all phases of the DevOps lifecycle. All other specialists are primarily focused on activities relevant to their expertise. For example, system administrators are naturally focused on infrastructure provisioning and monitoring, whereas QA engineers create automated tests for CI/CD pipelines more than anything else.

Front-line coders and software developers, who represent the majority of respondents in our survey (61%), are also highly likely to be involved in DevOps activities – 81% of them are although not more often than the average professional (82%). Our data suggest that software developers are keen to adopt CI/CD processes, but not so much operational practices such as monitoring applications in production environments. Again, this indicates that the complete shift to the DevOps culture has not yet been achieved. Apart from responsibilities central to their role, programmers are not accountable for additional product lifecycle phases.

Another important indicator of the level of engagement with DevOps practices is the software sectors that developers are involved in. As with roles, we see some interesting variations in DevOps adoption across sectors. For example, close to 90% of developers who create extensions for third-party ecosystems or backend services are into DevOps, as opposed to less than 80% of game developers.

Involvement in DevOps by software sector

That is partly explained by the extensive coding experience required to implement the DevOps model. We know from our data that DevOps practitioners are far more experienced coders than developers who are not involved in any DevOps-related activity. And developers working on apps for third-party ecosystems, backend services, or industrial IoT projects are among the most experienced in the software economy: up to 85% of them have three or more years of coding experience. In comparison, no more than 73% of game developers have the same level of expertise.

Nonetheless, we find that desktop app developers report relatively low adoption of DevOps practices, even though they are highly experienced professionals – 82% of them have at least three years of experience in software development. This points to limited alignment with the key benefits of DevOps more than anything else. Desktop applications typically receive updates at a lower frequency than applications running on other environments, e.g. servers. Therefore, the fundamental DevOps strategy of releasing small software updates at high velocity is not entirely applicable to desktop application projects.

In conclusion, DevOps signifies a cultural shift whereby developers from different teams work closely together with an aim to deliver software faster and more reliably. The practices of the DevOps model are already widely adopted among professional developers across software sectors and organisational roles, although with some significant variations in the focus on specific activities. These variations reveal, in some cases, that true commitment to the DevOps culture is not yet achieved; many developers are still focused on the core aspects of their role instead of assuming responsibility for additional phases of the product life cycle.

Want more DevOps insights? Get in touch and we can work together on all the questions you need to answer to optimise your strategy. 

Who is using low-code / no-code tools?

This is a chapter from our latest State of the Developer Nation 22nd Edition, which is free to download. You can watch our Lightning Session on the key findings and also read below for the whole report and insights on low-code / no-code tools.

Low-code/no-code (LCNC) tools provide a visual approach to software development, abstracting and automating parts of the application development process. This allows those without prior software development experience to create custom applications and provides potential time- and cost-saving for professional developers. In this chapter, we investigate the extent to which developers are using LCNC tools, showing differences according to professional status, geographical regions, and experience levels.

When it comes to reducing development overheads, addressing the challenge of finding skilled developers, and accelerating taking software to market, LCNC tools are becoming increasingly attractive. The sophistication of these tools is increasing rapidly, providing the potential to significantly disrupt the software industry. This begs the question, to what extent are developers1 using LCNC tools for their development projects?

We begin by separating developers according to their professional status – differentiating professionals from non-professionals, who are hobbyists and/or students. We excluded from our sample those who indicated that they were unsure about what share of their development work was done using LCNC tools. Just over half (54-55%) of developers in each group report that they are not using LCNC tools at all for their development work. This proportion is marginally lower for non-professionals who are students (55% of those who are exclusively students and 53% who are students and hobbyists) than non-professionals who identify as exclusively hobbyists (57%).

46% of professional developers use low-code/no-code tools for some portion of their development work

State of the Developer Nation 22nd Edition

The proportion of developers who do use LCNC tools does not differ across groups (46% of professionals vs 45% of non-professionals). This highlights that LCNC tools are finding traction among those less likely to be familiar with coding and that use-cases within professional software development are also common.

As experience increases, developers are less likely to use LCNC tools at all. This is particularly true among those with more than ten years of experience. These tools are often framed as being best suited for simple programming tasks. Hence, the complexity of development work assigned to more experienced developers may be less appropriate for LCNC approaches. Furthermore, experienced developers are likely to have mastery over simpler coding tasks, which leaves little room for the efficiency gains that LCNC tools are often heralded for.

Using LCNC tools without a degree of accompanying manual coding is highly uncommon across all experience levels. The proportion of developers who use LCNC tools for a small amount (up to a quarter) of their development work remains relatively constant (between 17-24%) across the experience spectrum. Therefore, LCNC’s most likely role is as an occasional adjunct to existing coding tools, regardless of developers’ experience.

Experienced developers, particularly those with more than 10 years of experience, are the least likely to use LCNC tools

State of the Developer Nation 22nd Edition

More extensive use of LCNC tools, i.e. for between one-quarter and three-quarters of all development activity, peaks slightly for those with around three to ten years of experience, revealing that it is early to mid-experience developers, rather than newcomers who are most likely to elevate LCNC tools’ status to essential. This is perhaps due to the recognised career importance of gaining traditional development experience, before reducing reliance on writing code. Only 2-4% of developers across all experience levels use LCNC tools for 75% or more of their development tasks, indicating that it is highly uncommon to shift the balance heavily towards LCNC-driven development.

Our data reveal notable differences in adoption and engagement with LCNC tools across different geographic regions. The Greater China area emerges as the region in which developers are most likely to be using LCNC approaches. 69% of developers in this region report using LCNC tools, compared to the global average of 46%. This suggests that the Chinese LCNC tool market has transitioned from an introduction phase to a growth phase. According to Mendix’s State of Low-Code report, IT professionals in China are the most likely to suggest that low-code is a trend their organisation can’t afford to miss (84% compared to 72% globally). Non-developer, or citizen developer, audiences also likely account for a large part of LCNC’s growth. However, as in all regions, the majority of bona fide software developers in the Greater China area currently use LCNC tools for less than half of their overall development work. It remains to be seen whether their reliance on such tools will also expand as the market and tools mature.

19% of developers in North America use Low-Code/No-Code tools for more than half of their coding work – almost twice the global average of 10%

North America has the second-highest LCNC tool adoption rate and stands out for the proportion of developers using LCNC tools to conduct more than half of their overall development work – 19% of developers here report that their use of LCNC tools outweighs their manual coding (comprising 13% using them for half to three-quarters of development work and 6% using them for more than three-quarters); almost double the global average of 10%. Hence, North America appears to be at the forefront of the LCNC movement, providing the strongest evidence that these tools can supplant traditional development approaches – even in a region where 81% of developers identify as professionals.

South Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and East Asia excluding Greater China are all above the global average in terms of LCNC tool adoption. Despite considerable uptake in these regions, LCNC products have not matured to the point where their use is a dominating feature of developers’ processes. Regions such as Western Europe and Israel, Oceania, Eastern Europe, and South America are all below the global average in terms of LCNC tool adoption.

The shortfall in these regions is particularly linked to smaller than average proportions using LCNC tools for more than 25% of their development work. The proportion using them for less than a quarter of their work is more comparable to the global average, suggesting that the market is still in its introductory phase in these regions – developers are evaluating the tools but are yet to rely on them for a substantial portion of their work.

Access the full free report to dive into insights on:

  • Language Communities
  • Understanding Developer Personalities
  • Who is using low-code / no-code tools
  • Spotlight on China and the Rest of East Asia
  • How developers generate revenue
  • Emerging technologies

If you have questions about the data above, want more or want to explore other topic areas we cover, talk to us.