How Many Software Developers Are There in the World?

In 2021 there are 26.9 million software developers — with 4.3 million of them in North America — a number that is expected to grow to 28.7 million in 2024.
September 2, 2021
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The explosive growth in technology currently underway requires top engineers to power it. Many companies have trouble hiring these professionals because they’re so in demand. However, the number of developers is increasing. According to the last available report from Evans Data Corporation, there are 26.9 million software developers in 2021 — with 4.3 million of them in North America — a number that is expected to grow to 28.7 million in 2024. 

The U.S. has the largest number of developers, with a higher percentage in Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, Massachusetts, Colorado, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Delaware, and California. Yet, the Asia Pacific and Latin America regions are expected to show the strongest growth in the next few years, and India is expected to overtake the U.S. by 2024. 

Europe boasts a large number of software developers as well, with the highest numbers in Germany, the U.K., France, Russia, and the Netherlands. All these numbers help us understand global needs for developers, how those needs are being met, and where in the world that assistance is coming from. 

Here we explore those considerations, including expected growth, most popular technology types, and other interesting facts.

Developer Titles and Technology 

Note that many of the statistics include not just people writing code, but also positions like the following:

  • Electrical engineers, who design, develop, test, and manufacture electrical equipment 
  • Hardware engineers, who design, develop, test, and manufacture computer components
  • CAD developers, who use computer applications to design manufacturing components
  • Statisticians, who use statistical methods to solve business problems
  • Economists, who study the development, distribution, and use of goods and services
  • Mathematicians, who analyze data and apply mathematical models to solve business problems
  • Technical writers, who create instructions and diagrams for how-to and instruction guides  

Various development languages attract higher or lower numbers of developers. Of course, there may be crossover as some developers are adept at multiple languages. Here are a few numbers reflecting the most recently available data:

  • JavaScript: 13.8 million
  • Python: 10.1 million
  • Java: 9.4 million
  • C/C++: 7.3 million
  • C#: 6.5 million
  • PHP: 6.3 million
  • Visual development tools: 3.3 million
  • Kotlin: 2.6 million
  • Swift: 2.5 million
  • Others: 7.8 million

The Number Is Growing 

As the demand for software developers grows, the number of professionals trained for this work will grow as well. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts, “Employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.” 

For anyone paying attention to business news, it’s no surprise that the need for software development skills is increasing. Consider these trends, which represent only a small portion of the expanding world of technology that we live in every day: 

  • Work from home (WFH) arrangements. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to send all, or at least some, of their employees home to work. Of these businesses, many have discovered the benefits of a WFH system. Developers are needed to ensure such organizations have the tools they need to perform their important work effectively and efficiently without being physically proximate. 
  • Data analytics. Companies that understand the importance of customer experience (CX) are finding ways to leverage data to find out how to best serve their customers. Developers are needed to organize and analyze information to ensure business leaders are getting the highest quality insights. 
  • Gaming. The gaming industry, including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications, is huge and keeps growing by the minute. That means that talented developers proficient in gaming programming are in demand. 
  • Mobile. Companies that don’t understand how much time their customers spend on their mobile devices are missing out on opportunities to reach them. Businesses that do get it are taking advantage of developers who can help them create mobile-friendly apps to engage customers. 
  • Smart homes and cities. The Internet of Things (IoT) includes any object with a sensor, an internet connection, and the software that manages it. The possibilities of this technology are nearly endless. Smart homes and cities are 2 areas where developers are needed to ensure ordinary things can become transformed into highly useful data-driven and interconnected objects. 
  • Much more. A wide variety of industries, including retail, manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, transportation, and energy utilities require specialized software to ensure smooth operations and a high level of CX. Developers are needed to create proprietary programs to help these industries succeed. 

Other Interesting Developer Statistics 

Some other interesting facts about developers include the following:

  • The average age is mid-to-late 30s, depending on the region. 
  • The majority of software developers are men, and men typically start writing code at an earlier age than women. 
  • Less than half of software engineers are white, while the remainder are South and East Asian, Hispanic, Black, and Arab. 
  • A majority of software engineers are married, a surprising statistic for those who believe the standard stereotype of developers being lonely and socially awkward. 
  • Most software developers have at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Experienced software developers make upwards of $100,000 per year. Freelance developers may charge up to $300 per hour.
  • Many developers work in advanced technologies like big data, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), edge computing, cloud-based environments, e-commerce, and the Internet of Things (IoT). 

Meeting Development Needs

One of the big take-aways for businesses considering the number of developers in the world is where in the world they actually are. Companies may not realize that if their development needs can’t be met in their local area — because there are too few of them available or because they are too expensive — these needs can be taken care of by providers in other regions. 

In particular, U.S. companies may find that affordable, high-quality U.S.-based developers are hard to find. Yet, there is a whole region nearby that can provide high-quality, English-speaking developers who work in U.S. time zones: Latin America.

BairesDev, located in Latin America, offers nearshore development services for a wide range of needs on a temporary or permanent basis. BairesDev specializes in matching the perfect teams to each company’s needs. Companies looking for this kind of help are wise to at least consider this option.

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