How many developers are there in the world and what do you use to write programs?

We often get asked how many developers there are working in the world. This sounds like a simple question and at the same time the term “developer” does not fully convey the spectrum of how a developer self describes who they are and what they do.  If I refined a developer to become “professional developer” would that create a clearer definition as someone who gets paid for programming? Is having the professional developer moniker mean that you have a related job title, use a specific number of programming languages, spend a specific amount of time developing, know a wide range of development tools, platforms, frameworks, libraries and architectures? Depending on who you talk with, there are many additional titles and terms we use to talk about who and what a developer is.

A Developer by any other Name

There are many ways to talk about who writes programs for a living and for fun. When Evans Data (EDC) works with our clients, we are often helping them to understand how many professional developers there are in the world and how this number is growing. The research results are published in the EDC Global Developer Population and Demographic Study and also appear in EDC press releases, infographics and presentations:


EDC research shows that there are approximately 22 million professional developers in the world today. At this year’s Apple World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC 2017) Tim Cook announced that Apple has 16 million registered developers for their devices and platforms (up 3 million from the previous year).


What Developer Title do you Use?

Here are a few (of many) ways to define someone that builds software for a company, for customers and for themselves:

  • Professional Developer
  • Application Developer
  • Systems Developer
  • Programmer
  • Software Engineer
  • Hacker
  • Maker
  • Coder
  • Hobbyist
  • Situational Developer
  • Occupational Developer
  • Citizen Developer

Do you refer to yourself by a different title or description?

Post a comment or send me an email with your job title and how you self-describe what you do when you are creating applications and systems. You can also submit blog posts to appear on DevNet.

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David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99

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