More Than 5.4M Developers Now Working in the Cloud: Study

A recent Evans Data study indicated that there are now more than 5.4 million software developers using cloud-based development environments.

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The number of software developers actively developing in the cloud has reached more than 5.4 million as of this year, according to a recent study by Evans Data Corp.

Evans Data, which provides market intelligence on a variety of developer-related issues including overall population and popular tools and methodologies, also found that the number of cloud-based developers has grown by 375 percent since the company began tracking that data in 2009. Back then, only around 1.2 million developers were using the cloud as their primary development platform, Evans Data said.

"Developers are embracing cloud development platforms not only because of the cost factor but also the ease of scaling." said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data, in a statement. "But the availability of tools that have become prevalent across cloud platforms is certainly also a driving factor."

Among other developments, the industry witnessed evidence of the growing popularity of cloud-based development over the summer when Amazon Web Services (AWS) acquired Cloud9, a cloud-based development environment that supports more than 40 programming languages.

AWS enjoys a solid lead in the cloud computing space. Yet, the company is feeling pressure from Microsoft's Azure, which is backed by Microsoft's strong tooling and long-term relationship with developers. Indeed, a Goldman Sachs report from earlier this year said CIOs surveyed indicated that Microsoft's Azure could soon overtake AWS for the top spot among cloud providers.

Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, said AWS has a great installed base of users and a growing set of services for developers. Yet, they have not historically offered much in the way of authoring or developer collaboration tools, so the acquisition of Cloud9 is a great addition, assuming it is something AWS intends to invest in and build on, he noted.

"Their key rivals have much more mindshare with developers and much greater experience in providing development tools, so it is great to see this happen," Hilwa said.

Meanwhile, the Evans Data study—titled the "Global Development Population and Demographics Study"—indicated the emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Latin American regions are showing the fastest growth. With 1.8 million developers, the APAC region has more developers than any other region developing in the cloud, the study showed. In addition, another 2.2 million developers in the region said they have plans to begin developing in a cloud environment within six months.

For its part, the Latin American region has the smallest number of developers working in the cloud, but it has the largest projected change in terms of the number of developers who plan to be working in the cloud within six months, the study showed.

Moreover, Evans Data noted that of the total 21 million developers worldwide, cloud adoption as a development environment is slightly outpacing deployments.

Earlier this month, Evans Data reported that the number of software developers building mobile applications reached 12 million in 2016 and is expected to surpass 14 million by 2020.

The company 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 Evans Data's Garvin 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."