IDC Expects Growth of the Number of Worldwide Professional Developers to Slow

FRAMINGHAM, MASS., MARCH 2, 2000 — In the midst of a worldwide IT skills shortage, IDC today released findings that could compound the problem. Growth of the number of worldwide professional developers will temper beginning this year and slow even further through 2003. Last year, the number of professional developers worldwide increased 11.5%. IDC says growth will slow to 9.6% in 2000, and by 2003, it will be under 6%.

"Our forecast for worldwide professional developers shows declining annual growth due to the stability of the population in developed countries, the already high penetration of IT professionals in these developed countries, the complexity of adopting IT in underdeveloped countries, and increasing productivity of professional developers," said Stephen Hendrick, Vice President of IDC's Application Development and Deployment research.

IDC expects the number of developers will increase the fastest in the Asia/Pacific region where despite the complexities of moving to a highly industrialized economy, there is tremendous demand for IT. "The less developed status of this region enables it to enjoy a more rapid uptake of IT, which, combined with its large populations, will significantly increase its ranks of professional developers," Hendrick said.

IDC also revealed that Visual Basic, which is the most widely used developer's language, will be overtaken by HTML in 2002. Component-based development, Java, and Internet RAD, however, will be the fastest-growing languages.

"Java has temporarily stolen the spotlight from all other programming languages. It derives its competitive advantage from ease of use and Web integration across all platforms," Hendrick said. "Organizations that don't want to be left behind on the World Wide Web are hiring developers at large salaries to enhance their Web pages with this wonder language."

IDC's new report The 1999 IDC Worldwide Professional Developer Model (IDC #B21268) is a detailed model of the number of professional developers in 195 countries and professional developer seats for 13 language classes and 5 geographic regions. The report forecasts the number of worldwide professional developers by geographic region and country; developer seats by language; COBOL; C and C++; other 3GL; Java; Smalltalk; Visual Basic; 4GL; 4GL, 3GL, and Internet RAD; CBD; HTML; and other language developer seat by geographic region through 2003. It also discusses key macroeconomic trends in each region. To order a copy of the report, contact Cheryl Toffel at 1-800-343-4952, ext. 4389 or at For more information on IDC's Components, Objects, and Development Environments research program, contact Pat Duhl at 949-442-4038 or at

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, relevant, and high-impact data and insight on information technology to help organizations make sound business and technology decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide IT markets and technology trends and analyzes IT products and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 42 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research, and exposition company.

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