How Has COVID-19 Impacted Software Developers?

Software development has seen greater demand for services and increased productivity since the beginning of the pandemic — allowing businesses to reach new heights.
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Many software developers believe the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t impacted the way they work or study. In fact, according to a Statista survey, 37% of developers say the pandemic hasn’t affected their work, and 43% said that it hasn’t changed how they study. Still, between a quarter and a third of those who responded said there was a significant impact.

Clearly, there are mixed perceptions of the pandemic’s effect on the field of software development — and on all industries. Technology has played a critical role in weathering the storm, and it’s continuing to be important as we undergo the long process of emerging from it. How are professionals adapting? How are they moving forward? Here’s what we know about software development during COVID-19.

An Increase in the Need for Digital Transformation

The Future of Remote Work and Software Development, a report by Accelerated Strategies Group (ASG), compiled perspectives from 347 industry leaders across the globe. These leaders revealed how their software teams are functioning during the pandemic. 

One important finding: digital transformation has emerged as a key priority for 63% of respondents. 

This probably comes as no surprise, given the evolving needs of many businesses as they search for new ways of delivering products and services during an exceptionally challenging time. But it also means more opportunities for software developers around the world. These professionals are playing a pivotal role in helping businesses incorporate new technologies to heighten their operations and adapt to a new landscape.  

More Demand for Services

Along with the need for digital transformation comes greater demand for additional technological services. Businesses are seeking out new ways of delivering their products and services and operating internally, too. As many organizations worldwide shifted their operations to remote settings, they have increasingly turned to software developers and IT professionals to help them with this challenge. 

Perhaps because of this, in many cases, technology professionals saw fewer layoffs, furloughs, and hiring freezes than many other industries did. That’s not to say the demand remained consistent with pre-pandemic needs, but many businesses across sectors have prioritized digital services, meaning that the demand for technology professionals has remained high.

In fact, a report by Randstad found that software development roles increased by 8% in the early months of the pandemic.

Different Types of Services

We have also seen a range of needs change. Consumers are increasingly relying on digital services of all types — from remote banking to grocery delivery — for day-to-day tasks they may have previously conducted in person.

Moreover, businesses are conducting a variety of internal procedures remotely, too. For example, 67% of organizations said they were spending more on web conferencing software, according to a Statista survey.

Changes in Delivery Models

Companies that employ software developers are also reassessing their models for building and delivering software. Over half of respondents to the ASG survey said that they are increasing their focus on DevOps practices and methodologies. Meanwhile, 52.25% said that they have emphasized cloud migration as a result of the pandemic.

It’s likely that we will continue to see software developers experiment with new ways of crafting and executing their products.

Greater Productivity

A great debate rages on as to whether working remotely promotes productivity or causes it to suffer. There has been a considerable amount of research across industries to provide evidence supporting the arguments.

Iftekhar Ahmed, an informatics professor, sought to study how the pandemic was affecting software development projects. In collaboration with Microsoft Research, Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), Federal University Rural of Pernambuco (UFRPE), and Singapore Management University, Ahmed conducted research on productivity, overall well-being, and project quality. Reviewing 100 GitHub projects, A Deep Dive on the Impact of COVID-19 in Software Development found that 60% had improved productivity, while 40% decreased productivity.

Meanwhile, 59.49% of respondents to the ASG survey reported an increase in software development team productivity, with 42% saying it was easier to turn around projects quickly. 

The Bottom Line: Moving Forward in a Post-Pandemic World

The software development and global technology industry, overall, has seen some improvements during the pandemic. The transition to remote work across industries has meant an escalated need for qualified and highly skilled professionals in the field. Some businesses are bringing in full-time IT employees to assist them with the myriad issues and needs they are encountering.

Others, meanwhile, are turning to outsourcing firms and external professionals to help them address the existing gaps. Either way, it’s clear that the necessity for software professionals is at an all-time high. As the pandemic persists, this need isn’t going away anytime soon. That means the technology industry is seeing greater demand and profit.

The evidence also shows that software teams are working more productively remotely — a win-win for businesses, software development firms, and technology professionals alike. 

The Future of Software Development

What does this mean for the future? The pandemic rages on, and many businesses are continuing to conduct their operations largely remotely. 

In a post-pandemic world, we are more than likely to see the software industry continue to grow, even as it encounters new challenges. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and technology will play a pivotal role, not in returning the world to normal but in revolutionizing the way we tackle our responsibilities. 

In order to capitalize on the growth of software development services, businesses should stay abreast of trends and goings-on in the industry. This will prove essential in adapting to this new normal and staying afloat in a competitive, ever-changing landscape.

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