The bros get it - software developers see a future in data

Toni Sekinah, research analyst and features editor, DataIQ

A survey of software developers from four different countries has revealed that many see data and analytics as key to career development. And if they can crack statistics, companies stand to benefit from this new career trend.

Five hundred developers from large IT companies in the US, UK, France and Germany were questioned about their motivations and behaviours. The survey found that, while Java and JavaScript are the most popular languages that developers would want to learn in the next in the next five years (56% want to learn each of these), 35% named Python and 30% said SQL, both key languages for data and analytics. This suggests that approximately a third of developers see the data space an important area into which their career could develop.

Bill Curtis, SVP and chief scientist, CAST softwareBill Curtis, SVP and chief scientist at CAST Software, which carried out the survey, told DataIQ that analytics is a hot area. He said: “Data and analytics is looking like one of the hot jobs out there to a lot of developers, so that’s of great interest to them. The most popular languages are still Java and JavaScript, but Python has certainly risen up the last several years dramatically.”

Curtis, with decades of experience in software and academia, said he has noticed a trend of movement into the data and analytics field. He explained: “A number of people perceive that to be an area of IT that is going to be wide open - where there’s going to be a lot of jobs – while other areas are closing down. So, we’re going to start seeing a migration of people learning the techniques, learning the languages, and, hopefully, some of them learn statistics.”

Curtis’ concern about the understanding of statistics stems from surveys he was involved with in the past. Companies that were perceived to be good at analytics were called up and interviewed and he was disturbed by some of the responses. “Many really didn’t have deep data analysis skills, especially advanced statistical knowledge,” he said.

For those developers looking to move into data and analytics in the future, Curtis would advise them to solidify their understanding of the basics. “One of the things we need to see is people moving to data analytics with a background in data. Not just data management, but also statistical techniques for doing data analytics,” he advised.

The survey was carried out by Coleman Parkes on behalf of CAST, a US-based software analytics company. From the US and the UK, there were 150 respondents from each country, with 100 respondents from both France and Germany.

Knowledge-based content manager, DataIQ
Toni is the senior features editor responsible for the origination of DataIQ's interviews, articles and blogs.