SlashData has released the 13th edition of its Developer Economics report – Developer Economics: State of the Developer Nation Q3 2017 – highlighting the current trends in the mobile developer realm. The report analyses those trends using polls of more than 21,200 respondents from no fewer than 157 countries which took place between April and June. With respect to mobile developers specifically, the poll and subsequent analysis discovered several key focal points. First, developers have apparently moved to become “key stakeholders” with regards to company decisions about technology. That shouldn’t be altogether surprising since developers will be making primary use of any new technology introduced, but the numbers may be at least a bit surprising. As many as 87% of developers in leadership roles and two-thirds of “front-line coders” are involved in purchasing decisions when it comes to new technology. 77 percent of developers, meanwhile, responded to say that they play a pivotal role in the tools specifically used in their jobs. That includes the fact that nearly a third of all developers will purchase their own tools for personal use and then introduce them into their workspace if the opportunity arrives and the tool is deemd useful enough.
Tied into that is SlashData’s second discovery that as much as 48 percent of all developers said they are working on or have worked on developing games, but only 17 percent of those call themselves professional game developers. That seems to suggest that game development is a primary proving ground for technologies before they are approved by developers, but also that mobile development leads the initiative by far. In fact, for smartphone development, 64 percent of all game developers target the platform, with the number of professional game developers targeting mobile at 74 percent. Breaking that down further, 85 percent of all game developers are targeting Android, followed by iOS at 59 percent. Tablets have drawn in 4 percent more professionals than development for desktop, while VR, including VR for mobile, has already surpassed console game development by two percentage points.
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Platforms that are were chosen by developers also seems to be directly tied to tribalism in one form or another. When selecting a platform for developing applications, professionals prefer Microsoft to Apple at 58 percent as compared to 42 percent. However, when mobile development is addressed specifically, that trend shifts to Apple’s favor at 52 percent. Developers on that front also prefer to develop for Google, as compared to Amazon, at a rate of 74 percent to 26 percent, respectively. Beyond that, Developers seem to have a preference for the platform they personally use and that bias is strengthened by the fact that developers often team up to work with others who share their preferences, which may be attributable to the fact that developers already have their preferred platforms and have more experience with their tools of choice.