Mobile Developer Ranks Reach 12M, to Top 14M by 2020

The population of developers writing mobile applications has grown to 12 million and is expected to reach 14 million by 2020.

mobile app development

The number of software developers building mobile applications reached 12 million in 2016 and is expected to surpass 14 million by 2020, according to a recent Evans Data survey.

The report, titled "Evans Data's Global Development Population and Demographics Study," found that the number of developers writing for mobile devices has increased by more than five times since Evans Data began measuring developer participation in mobile development in 2006. Back then just over 2 million developers were targeting mobile, the company said.

However now, with 12 million developers focusing on mobile, more than half of the estimated total worldwide developer population of 21 million is creating mobile apps, Evans Data said.

"Mobile development has really become ubiquitous" said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data, in a statement. "Mobile devices are everywhere, but while most modern applications support mobile devices, not all developers are working on the client target side. Some are server or back-end oriented or are concentrating more on the application logic or more and more on newer machine learning implementations, so watching the number of mobile developers move from just under two million 10 years ago to 12 million today just provides a reflection of the use of mobile devices today."

The Evans Data study also estimates current software developer populations across four major regions and 40 countries. Now in its 20th edition, the study also delves into data on the numbers of developers forecast to adopt technologies now and in the future.

For instance, the Evans Data study showed that the number of mobile developers who target Android first is 5.9 million versus 2.8 million who target iOS as a first platform. Most developers target multiple mobile platforms, so secondary platform targets differ and often include competing platforms, Evans Data said.

Broken down by regions, the study showed that 2.2 million developers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region target Android first and only just over 500,000 developers in the region target iOS first. However, in North America iOS is king—more than 200,000 North American developers target iOS first ahead of Android.

In addition, the study showed that the APAC region is the fastest growing region for developers. Evans Data projects that the expanding number of developers in India and China will keep APAC's developer population the highest globally for the next several years.

Meanwhile, in something of a coup in terms of beefing up its in-house developer chops, Evans Data recently hired developer relations guru David Intersimone—also known as "David I"—as vice president of Developer Communities. In that role, Intersimone is responsible for Evans Data's DevRelate online academy and community center for developer relations professionals.

Intersimone has spent 43 years in the industry in various developer, development management and evangelist roles—many of them at Borland and Embarcadero. During his career, Intersimone has made an art of interacting with developer communities, delivering thousands of articles, videos and blog posts.

"The combination of Evans Data's years of developer research and David's wealth of experience in developer program best practices will ensure that every company can successfully grow the adoption of their products, services and platforms" Garvin said in a statement.

Garvin said at DevRelate that developer relations professionals can learn the basics and explore advanced techniques for creating and growing a developer program through online courses, workshops, videos and assessments based on more than 15 years of developer research. Intersimone will honcho all of this.

In his new role, Intersimone said he hopes to immediately start helping global companies that are reaching out to developers to enhance their current business successes and create new business opportunities.

"Providing developer program assessments and workshops that are driven by Evans Data's wealth of developer research data will ensure that every company can be successful in their developer outreach," Intersimone said in a statement.