Asia/Pacific to Surpass North America in 2005 for Largest Share of Professional Developers Worldwide, Says IDC

FRAMINGHAM, MA – FEBRUARY 20, 2003 – According to IDC, the number of professional developers worldwide will increase to 13.3 million by 2006 from 7.8 million in 2001. While North America remained the region with the most developers worldwide in 2001, IDC forecasts that will change in 2005 when Asia/Pacific will become the region with the most developers. Growth is expected to be much stronger in Asia/Pacific than in North America over the next five years, particularly in the world's largest countries, China and India.


"The growth in the number of worldwide developers has been affected dramatically by the economic downturn and actually caused a decline in the number of employed professional developers in North America from 2000 to 2001", says Stephen Hendrick, Group Vice President for IDC's Application Development and Deployment research. "This comes as no surprise since the economic downturn has resulted in extensive layoffs among IT workers."

In 2001 Asia/Pacific overtook Western Europe for the number 2 position with 1.7 million developers. The remaining three regions – Eastern Europe, the Middle East/Africa, and Latin America – accounted for a combined 1.8 million developers, or 23.4% of the total.

According to IDC, the 10 countries in the world with the most developers are the United States, China, India, Russia, Japan, Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Italy which represents 64.2% of total developers. IDC believes that companies seeking to target professional developers can cover the majority of the market by addressing these 10 countries.

In terms of individual languages being used by developers in North America, C/C++ (as well as the newer Microsoft language, C#) still dominates with 29% of the total. Java continues to gain ground, surpassing Visual Basic to become the second most popular individual language with 18.1% of the total. IDC also found that many developers are still using older 3GL languages, such as Fortran and RPG, scripting languages such as JavaScript and Perl, and 4GL languages, such as PowerBuilder and Progress, as their primary languages.

IDC defines a professional developer as a paid professional who uses application development tools to build applications and must be employed in order to be counted. Included are individuals in the following professions: computer programmers and system analysts, computer engineers, database administrators, computer programmer aides, other computer scientists, numerical tool and process control programmers, operations, network, and systems research analysts.

The IDC 2002 Worldwide Professional Developer Model study (IDC #28510) provides a detailed model of the number of professional developers in 191 countries and six geographic regions and includes the primary languages in use by developers in 2001 in North America: C/C++/C#, Java, Visual Basic, HTML, and COBOL. Finally, the study addresses trends in the growth of these programming languages in the near future, based on survey data collected by

IDC in 2002.

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About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC’s customers comprise the world’s leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world’s leading IT media, research, and exposition company.


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