AI Spotlight: 63% of Developers Engage with AI-Assisted Development

You’re familiar with at least one AI-assisted development tool; That’s right, the ChatGPT. Its popularity has skyrocketed in the last few months and with good reason.

It is designed to assist users in generating human-like text but it’s been helpful to developers too, as they can leverage ChatGPT to automate certain tasks, generate code snippets, assist in writing documentation, or even prototype conversational interfaces. While ChatGPT is primarily a language model, it can be used in the development process to aid in various aspects of software development.

In our 24th edition of State of Developer Nation, we asked developers if they use AI and how. This led to a dedicated chapter on all the new technologies that captivate developers’ imaginations. The data from our survey suggest that 63% of developers engaged in some aspect of AI-assisted development, making it evident that this technology is rapidly maturing and transforming from a mere trend to a valuable tool.

AI-Assisted Development: A Growing Trend

While overall engagement has experienced a slight decline of 4% over the past year, the nature of developer involvement has undergone a fascinating shift.

More developers are actively working on or learning about AI-assisted development, showing a 6% increase in engagement. 

Simultaneously, the number of developers with latent interest has decreased by 6%.

This dynamic suggests that AI-assisted development is maturing and gaining practical applicability in the development landscape.

Generative AI: Unleashing Creative Possibilities

Alongside AI-assisted development, generative AI has emerged as a new and exciting technology. 

With 57% of developers actively involved or interested in generative AI, curiosity and excitement abound. While AI-assisted development still leads in adoption at 17%, generative AI projects attract 14% of engaged developers.

The Many Uses of Generative AI

Developers use generative AI in three main ways: 

  • as a helpful tool for their development process
  • by integrating it into projects through APIs
  • or even by creating the models themselves.

Ongoing investigations are exploring these usage patterns to uncover more insights into this groundbreaking technology.

Challenges and Opportunities

Although generative AI is gaining high engagement, there are factors that affect its adoption among developers.

Some developers may be hesitant to rely solely on generative models for critical or security-conscious tasks. 

However, there is a growing adoption of generative AI for visual assets in software development, which reduces the risks of errors and security vulnerabilities.

Overcoming Challenges

Developers who work on generative AI models face the challenge of needing a large amount of training data. 

However, certain tools offer the ability to fine-tune pre-trained models for specific tasks, making this challenge easier to overcome. As developers become more familiar with assistive and generative AI technologies, we can expect a surge in their adoption, leading to innovation and creativity.

Leadership’s Role

Interestingly, leaders in C-suite and other leadership positions show higher engagement rates with emerging technologies. 

About 49% and 50% of those who approve tool expenses or budgets are actively involved in AI-assisted development. 

This trend suggests that the revolution in AI-assisted development is driven by leaders who recognize its potential.

Looking Ahead: The Changing Landscape:

When we take a broader view, we see a cyclical pattern in the adoption and interest in emerging technologies. Developer interest has dropped by 5% overall, while adoption has increased by 4 percentage points. 

This contrast indicates a dynamic shift in developer preferences, marking a change from previous trends.

In summary, AI-assisted development is rapidly evolving and attracting developers’ attention. Generative AI opens up exciting possibilities, and leadership engagement plays a crucial role in driving its growth. Cryptocurrencies continue to be intriguing, and the landscape of emerging technologies is constantly shifting. 

Did you find this article interesting? Download the full free report to learn about: 

  • The rest of the technologies that capture the developers’ imagination
  • The Role of female coders in software development
  • An update on language communities
  • How well-paid developers feel
  • What makes a high-quality API
  • An Overview of embedded software development

Shift-Left: The Crucial Role of Security in Early-Stage Software Development

Security threats in software development evolve at lightning speed in today’s digital age. With the average cost of a security breach in a hybrid cloud environment hovering at a staggering $3.6 million, it’s crucial for organisations to prioritize software security. 

This is why we recently partnered with Cisco; to uncover developers’ exposure to API security exploits, their outlook on security, and how they use automation tools to detect and remediate threats. We did so by exploring the findings from two global surveys that targeted enterprise developers and created the “Developers and Shift-Left Security” public report.

How is our report unravelling?

1. Security is a key priority for enterprise developers

Security threats are on the rise, with our survey data proving it; in fact, a whopping 58% of enterprise developers have had to tackle at least one API exploit in the past year alone. And to make matters worse, nearly half of them have experienced multiple API exploits during that time.

As modern applications increasingly rely on microservices, securing the APIs that connect these services becomes even more crucial. But with developers juggling multiple APIs, it can be a challenge to stay on top of security. That’s why it’s essential to prioritise security from the very beginning of development to avoid wasting time and effort on reworking code and dealing with exploits later on.

When it comes to security breaches, it’s best to prevent them altogether. But if they do occur, organizations must be prepared to act quickly.

Shockingly, our survey found that only one-third of enterprise developers can resolve API exploits within one day of a breach occurring.

By treating security as a top priority from the start of the development lifecycle, organizations can increase preparedness and avoid costly mistakes down the road.

2. How do enterprise developers address security?

The philosophy behind shift-left security is all about putting security at the forefront right from the start. It’s like having a VIP seat reserved for security at the decision-making table! 

By addressing security concerns early on in the development process, you can save a ton of money compared to dealing with security issues during deployment or after a security breach. In fact, our data shows that many organizations are already investing significant effort in identifying security vulnerabilities during the early stages of development, and as a result, have implemented additional security measures.

When do enterprise developers address security?

3. Automation makes things faster and less error-prone than manual operations.

We asked developers whether they use automated approaches to security, such as scanning tools or automated fixes. 

The most likely group of developers to adopt automated security approaches are key decision-makers and team leads who influence, manage, or set the strategy for their teams’ purchase initiatives (90%). 

This means that many developers still don’t use automation tools for security. However, it’s crucial for developers to use the best tools available to ensure they produce secure code.

In conclusion, APIs are crucial for modern software systems, but security exploits are a common occurrence.

A shift-left approach is vital for enhancing application security from the earliest stages of development.

 While more than half of enterprise developers are already shifting left, less experienced developers are lagging behind. To support this approach, automation is essential, with two-thirds of developers using automated security tools. 

However, developers motivated by gaining experience are less likely to use automation, so organizations need to balance the need for learning with the importance of using the best security tools available. 

Interested in the full data and graphs? Download the full report for free.

Adapting to Change: The Evolution of Data Management for Digital Native Companies in Turbulent Times

With the ongoing effects of the recent global pandemic and the European energy crisis, companies have had to adapt to changing environments both internally and externally. The ability to respond quickly to these challenges has become a defining characteristic of successful businesses. 

We recently partnered with Aiven to explore how digital native companies have evolved their data management practices in response to these challenges. 

The “2023 state of data management solutions for digital natives” report offers insights into the evolving data management landscape and the strategies used by companies to thrive in today’s business world. 

We define “fast growth” as the approach of adapting quickly to change and innovating, which is crucial for companies that want to expand. 

The data presented are based on a Q3 2022 survey of nearly 500 IT professionals at digital native companies worldwide.

What was happening in the past?

Firstly we’ll see which systems companies stopped using and which ones they plan to use in the future.

We found that when adopting a new data management solution, professionals must consider all options. Replacements occur when other products offer better benefits, not because the replaced system failed.

Data model fit is crucial when choosing a product, while pricing is essential when replacing one, especially for small businesses. Large enterprises prioritize technical support. 

Fast-growing companies prioritize service availability and disaster recovery capabilities, with 43% prioritizing this when adopting a data management tool. 

Inadequate backup/snapshot functionality is a common reason for replacing a tool, with 19% of fast-growing companies citing it. Conservative-growth companies are less likely to replace tools based on this feature.

While data model suitability is at the forefront of reasons for adopting data management tools, pricing is often the primary factor when it comes to finding alternative solutions. 

What is happening now?

What our analysis shows, for now, is that fast-growing companies prefer fully-managed services, while conservative-growth companies lean towards self-managed solutions, except for search technologies.

Interesting highlights:

  • On average, companies with an eye for scaling up are 16% more likely to use fully-managed services and are highly focused on search technologies and event streaming/message queue systems.
  • Faster-growing companies tend to be more likely to adopt open-source search technologies, with OpenSearch emerging as the most popular search technology among them.
  • 43% of those who work for companies with fast-growth business models prioritise service availability and disaster recovery capabilities when adopting data management products.

What does the future of management systems look like?

56% of respondents are looking to adopt at least one new system in the near future. 

Relational databases currently have the lead in adoption (78% of respondents), but the demand for streaming data is increasing with the reliance on artificial intelligence, and event streaming and message queues are on track to become the second most popular data management system type among digital native companies.

In terms of fully-managed services, security and performance are the most likely features to grow in importance, while pricing and cost optimization are the least likely. 

Fast-growing companies are more likely to adopt open-source data management products, while conservative growth counterparts are more concerned with scalability. 

Sustainable practices are becoming more important when selecting a DBaaS vendor, with a higher likelihood of prioritizing reducing environmental footprint over-optimizing costs.

Adoption of data management tools?

We dedicated a special section of our report to measure adoption. We look at 9 data management tool categories and see what % of the respondents are currently using or planning to use each data management system type. 

Does this align with your goals? Download the full free report to access all insights here.

A word from Aiven

Aiven’s cloud data platform helps your business reach its highest potential by making your data work for you. It provides fully managed open-source data infrastructure on all major clouds, helping developers focus on what they do best: innovate and create without worrying about the limitations of technology. We like to think that Aiven is not only a cloud data platform but also an extension of your team. We are dedicated to helping you to succeed by removing barriers and finding the right solutions – with the help of the best data technology there is.

About SlashData

SlashData has been surveying developers for more than 17 years. We talk to 30,000+ developers globally, on an annual basis. Leading tech brands rely on our insights for their developer-facing strategy. Leverage the rich data and our deep insights to segment, grow and engage your developer community by addressing their needs – directly. 

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

Developer Program Leaders survey is now live! Have your say and access more results like the ones in this article.

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.

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.

China and the rest of East Asia developer market

In this article, we share a chapter from the latest State of the Developer Nation report, which anyone can access. We focus our attention on some of the key differences between developers in East Asia, including the Greater China region, and the rest of the world. Understanding these differences provides valuable insights that can help shape the strategy for developer engagement programs.

For this analysis, we split the Greater China area from the rest of East Asia to provide more regional granularity. In terms of relative size, we find that almost a fifth (18%) of the global developer population is located in either the Greater China region (9%) or the rest of East Asia (9%). Breaking down East Asia into countries, we see that more than half of the developers here are spread across two countries: Indonesia (32%) and Japan (21%). 

When comparing developers across regions, we can see that just over a third (34%) of developers in the Greater China region have six or more years of experience, which is notably less than developers globally (43%). Furthermore, the Greater China region has a much smaller concentration (4% vs 22% globally) of highly-experienced developers (16+ years). With generally lower levels of experience in the Greater China area, aspiring developers may find starting a career here less competitive than developers in regions with higher levels of experience.

The Greater China area has a comparatively low concentration of highly experienced developers

State of the Developer Nation Q1 2022

East Asian developers outside China have similar levels of experience to the rest of the global developer population. Both groups have a little more than a third (34%) of their developers with 11+ years of software development experience. However, East Asia’s data are largely propped up by Japan. The developer community in Japan tends to be highly experienced, with almost six in ten developers (59%) having 16+ years of experience. No other country has a higher concentration of developers with this level of experience. With such a high concentration of highly skilled developers, we can expect some differences in behaviour, which we’ll highlight in the last section of this chapter.  

More than 50% of Chinese Developers have learned how to code via undergraduate degrees in computing

State of the Developer Nation Q1 2022

The journey to coding mastery lacks a clearly defined path. Developers typically state they’ve used more than two learning methods on average to learn how to code. In general, the self-taught method is the most popular among developers globally, with more than 60% using this method. However, our data shows that the proportion of self-taught developers fluctuates significantly across regions.

In the Greater China area, the most popular method for developers to learn how to code is via an undergraduate degree in computing, with 50% having used this method. This is significantly higher than developers in other regions (41% – 42%). We generally see a higher concentration of professional developers in Greater China (83%) than we do in the rest of the world (70%). It could be that the job market in Greater China more often requires a degree in computing or engineering, which would also explain why self-teaching is used less often in this region.

Developers in the rest of East Asia, however, tend to follow the learning trends of developers in other regions. Here, we see the self-taught method is the most popular method (61%), followed by an undergraduate degree in software engineering (41%). Analysing the data at a country level, we see developers in Indonesia are more diverse learners. Developers in this country stated that they used three methods on average when learning to code. Indonesian developers are more likely to learn via self-teaching, online courses, and developer boot camps than any other developers in East Asia. This is quite different from their peers in Japan who are the least likely to use online courses and bootcamps to learn how to code. Instead, developers in Japan are most likely to use the self-taught (63%) and on-the-job training (45%) methods when learning to code. 

Developers in the Greater China area are half as likely to have a Stack Overflow account than developers globally

State of the Developer Nation Q1 2022

Next, we explore how developers interact with the popular online community, Stack Overflow, to understand their engagement levels with programming support. Stack Overflow has become a standard support community for many developers, with more than eight in ten (85%) of the general developer population reporting they’ve used or visited this popular question and answer site. 

Our focus on developers in East Asia and the Greater China area shows Stack Overflow’s popularity falls below the global average. Developers in these regions are around three times less likely to visit Stack Overflow than developers in other regions. Developers in the Greater China area are the least engaged, with only 19% having an account, and only 11% having earned at least one badge. Developers in this region have other home-grown Q&A site alternatives, such as, which could be contributing to the lower adoption of Stack Overflow.

When looking closely at the rest of East Asia, we again see that developers in Japan are skewing the perception of this region. Developers in Japan have even less activity on Stack Overflow than developers in the Greater China area. Here, only a little more than a third (36%) stated they use Stack Overflow. Furthermore, only about 5% have an account. Like developers in the Greater China area, Our data does show usage of Stack Overflow increases among Japanese developers who have gained experience in software development, indicating that less experienced developers are using other platforms for support. Like China, Japan has other home-grown options like where developers can field programming support from their peers, which may be the place new Japanese programmers visit more often to get answers to their questions.

That’s just one chapter from the State of the Developer Nation report. There are 5 more chapters you can access. Want more? Download the full report!