Stack Overflow Survey 2016: Implications for application delivery

Interpreting the Stack Overflow 2016 Developer Survey results from an application delivery perspective

Stack Overflow recently announced the results of their annual developer survey. This year, over 50,000 developers in 170+ countries answered 45 questions ranging from the programming language they use the most to whether they preferred Star Wars or Star Trek, and everything in between. Maybe that is why they call it “the most comprehensive developer survey ever conducted.”

The survey provides insights into popular technologies, diversity, compensation, and sci-fi preferences. You can go ahead and get your geek on with the survey results here. But in this post, we will interpret the results from an application delivery perspective, focusing on the technologies and challenges.

Front (end) and center

First things first, JavaScript overtook Java as the most popular tag on Stack Overflow. In fact, all the front-end technologies have gained popular ground. With consumers demanding engaging experiences across different devices, front-end and mobile technologies will only grow more popular. I'll go out on a limb here and make a prediction that next year Android will overtake Java to become the second most popular tag on Stack Overflow.

The rise and rise of AngularJS

AngularJS now seems to be the go-to web application development framework. In just a few years, its popularity has skyrocketed and it appears to be the dominant JavaScript framework out there. The Stack Overflow survey results corroborate this fact as AngularJS appears multiple times in the top technology combinations preferred by front-end developers.  It also figures prominently in the technology combinations of full-stack and back-end developers. Even among developers who are not developing with the language or technology, AngularJS is one of the top 3 technologies that they would most want to work with.

Looking back, WaveMaker made a prescient choice by rebuilding its RAD Platform a couple of years ago using AngularJS. For those who are new to WaveMaker, versions prior to Studio 7 were based on the Dojo framework.

Challenges to application delivery

Amidst the rapid technological changes, the challenges to application delivery remain and continue to put pressure on IT to deliver applications at the speed of business. As per the Stack Overflow survey, developers cited the following challenges at work:

Sounds familiar isn't it? One way to broadly categorize these gripes would be under:

  • Processes and communication: It is clear that developers would prefer it if the requirements were clearly defined and documented, expectations were reasonable and processes were more efficient. It is not surprising that one in six projects have a cost overrun of 200% and a schedule overrun of almost 70% according to an HBR study. One of the solutions is to align business and IT by creating an engaging environment at every stage of application delivery so that they can work more closely. Some of the leading companies are now turning to Rapid Application Development to reduce the friction points in delivering successful enterprise applications.
  • Resources and technologies: CIOs are under pressure from the demands of business requirements that cannot be handled by the limited staff strength. Also, IT managers continue to grapple with the lack of resources for the technologies that in demand. A case in point is the demand for front-end and mobile development resources. According to the survey results, salaries in the range of $95,000 to $105,000 are not uncommon for mobile and front-end developers. Similar problems exist with legacy technologies for which resources are difficult to find and retain. Consequently, it puts a lot of pressure on the already thin operating margin and budget. Hence, enterprises are now evaluating modern RAD platforms that are open and extensible. For instance, the WaveMaker RAD Platform requires 80% lesser coding required compared to traditional software development because of intuitive visual development. Also, the generated application and code can be customized by semi-skilled front-end developers with ease. As far as mobile is concerned, more companies are choosing hybrid mobile app development over native to avoid hiring resources with specific skills for iOS, Android, and Windows separately.

Do share what, according to you, are the challenges and solutions in the comments section.