The top challenges for developers may sound familiar. Tied for first place, at 29 percent, were "doing more with less staff" and "keeping up with new technologies/changing skill requirements." A notch below at 28 percent was the perennial "scope creep/uncontrolled growth in project requirements."
The generation gap emerged again in the fourth choice of "not enough time to complete tasks": 33 percent of developers over 35 years old chose that objection as the top challenge, as opposed to 14 percent of those under 35. Either younger developers work faster or they're less likely to object to long hours, feeding the cliché that software development is a young person's game.
Life on the edge
According to our survey, freeing up developer time was the most frequently chosen benefit of devops, which enables greater developer empowerment throughout the dev, test, and deployment cycle. The second choice was a three-way tie: More positive interactions with the operations team, accelerated time to production, and the ability to improve existing products.
Our respondents see the value of devops in shortening the development cycle, improving software quality, and getting along with operations.
The top four skills developers felt they needed to acquire reflected a solid understanding of current trends: cloud APIs, data analytics, security issues, and mobile technology. Mobile was ranked as the No. 1 skill needed to succeed among developers under 35.
Developers see cloud, analytics, security, and mobile skills as important to career advancement.
Half of the developers surveyed said they were proficient on the Android platform, while 41 percent were proficient on iOS. About one-third indicated they weren't proficient in any native mobile platform, a skills gap that increased with age.
A growing influence
Phone interviews were conducted as part of our survey, and many responses pointed to the rising influence of developers in the organization. One respondent spoke for many, saying, "A good chunk of my time is spent talking with department leaders about their developer needs. Sometimes I need to go to senior management to make the case for a new solution."
In the past, such access was less prevalent. Stuck in the waterfall era, developers awaited the arrival of requirements documents and often worked in isolation from the business. Today, with the growing recognition that every company is a software company, developers are becoming equal partners in choosing technologies and hammering out solutions that meet strategic business goals.
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