Developers have always exercised more influence over all things IT than generally acknowledged. But now it looks like the reach of that influence is starting to extend well into business and society itself. A new survey of 1,000 software developers in the U.S. published today by Chef, providers of an open source framework for automating the management of IT, finds that 94 percent of the developers surveyed expect to be a revolutionary influence in major segments of the economy during the next five years. Additionally, 63 percent feel a talented software developer has more power to change society than a talented public speaker.
The economic influence of software developers is rising in almost direct proportion to the scope and reach of the APIs that make the applications they develop more accessible than ever. In fact, an argument could be made that there is a direct corollary between the number of integration points and the value of the application, which is essentially a variant of a Metcalfe's Law that stipulates that the value of a network is square to the number of nodes that make up the network.
Revealed at the #ChefConf 2014 event, the Chef survey found that 91 percent of developers feel they are the most valued employees within their organizations and 86 percent of them say their skill sets are more valued today than five years ago. Not surprisingly, it follows that 69 percent of the developers surveyed described their jobs as being “recession proof.” More surprisingly, 84 percent said they are getting paid what they are worth today even though 66 percent say they expect to receive a raise in the next 12 months. In fact, 56 percent says they expect to become millionaires at some point in their lives.
Contrary to popular opinion, 97 percent of the developers surveyed say they enjoy a positive working relationship with IT operations; event though 80 percent of them says outsourcing has had a net positive impact of the quality of work produced by their companies.
Soo Choi, director of customer experience for Chef, says that the rise of APIs at the infrastructure level has clearly given developers more control over the IT environment. The degree to which developers want direct control over that environment varies. In some organizations, for example, traditional IT operations teams are acquiring development skills specifically to manage the IT infrastructure environment.
By almost and measure, developers are clearly exercising more influence than ever; especially when it comes to telling business how best to apply software. The Chef survey, for example, finds that 93 percent of them feel empowered to make suggestions to changes in business processes.
Most striking of all the survey results, however, is how content developers appear to be. The survey finds that average software developer plans to stay at their current company for nine years, which would suggest that the image of the developer as malcontent may have more to do with perception than actual reality.