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Comprehensive survey on types of SW developed?

Has there ever been a comprehensive survey on the types of software developed?

A topic below asks if web development makes up the majority of software development, while in an earlier thread a poster said that the vast majority of software development is done on embedded systems.

Has anyone ever done a study identifying all the different 'categories' (for lack of a better term) of software development and what percent each comprises of the overall software industry?

Monday, June 9, 2003

Why would you care?

I'm not being facetious - seriously, what does it matter? So 90% of all sofware development is in the heavy trucking industry; does that affect your next job or project?


Monday, June 9, 2003

Why would you not care?

The kind of program I write makes a difference to me.  I would rather work on games like I do now than write some HR app for a trucking firm.  I can't believe anyone could be totally indifferent to the end product they're producing.

Monday, June 9, 2003

Philo: of course it could/would

P Lioi
Monday, June 9, 2003

I think a more interesting and just as applicable question is how much movement is there between these types?

That is, I doubt you see chemical engineers turn to be electical engineers, but I suspect it's not so strange at all for, oh I dunno, a web app guy to go to write a COTS word processor. Or something suitably random like that.


Mike Swieton
Monday, June 9, 2003

Philo, obviously you've seen through my charade. Yes, it's true - I'm asking this question only to annoy you!!

Monday, June 9, 2003

How does the popularity of other types of software impact the type of software that *you* are developing?  If everyone else writes code in Objective-C for embedded systems, how does that impact the code *you're* writing?

Philo prompts me to ask a different question:  How would you react if you discovered that 90% of software development is in an industry you're totally uninterested in?

Brent P. Newhall
Monday, June 9, 2003

I am also somewhat interested in the types of languages used.  From the impression I get on the web there are barely any C/C++ programmers left out there.  But I would bet that there are still more of those than programmers in other languages, they're just not as vocal for some reason.

What kind of publications write stuff like this?  (including the first question, what types of software are developed)

Monday, June 9, 2003


Your's is an interesting question too.  But I'm curious because the software industry doesn't seem to know a lot about itself - at least compared to other professions.

Imagine I was a law student posing the same question about the legal profession to law forum. Do you think the first response I would get is "why do you care?". More likely I would get a run down on the different specialities and be given a rough estimate of the relative weight of each specialty. Even if no one had a good answer on the forum I be surprised if a study didn't exist on the subject.

But if I were to search and search and search and find that no such study had been done on the software profession, I somehow wouldn't be surprised.

If I found such a study, would it impact my career path?  Probably not.  But it would be an interesting read.

Monday, June 9, 2003

Nick - I wasn't trying to be difficult or a smartass, I was asking a relevant question (which was much improved on by other posters)

In fact, your law student analogy is perfect - if a law student were to ask in a legal forum "which area of law has the largest practice area?" then, speaking as the moderator of the largest law school forum on the 'net for five years, I can tell you the majority response would in fact be "you really shouldn't worry about it"

The idea is that if you want to be *happy* in what you do (which is really the best way to be successful in what you do), then you should "follow your heart" - do what interests you. And what interests you is completely uncoupled from "what's everyone else doing?"

Another problem with the question is "what do you plan to use the results for?" Let's say 95% of all software supports building construction. From this do you divine that there's no market for anything but building construction software? Or that there's a wide-open market for something outside building construction software?

To me (and I'm just another Code-slinging Joe), the salient questions are:
- What architectures are people using? (see the "anyone writing anything but web apps" thread)
- What languages are people using? (Is there still growth in the C++ field?)
- What is the existing competition in [x] field? (If I write a *good* multiplayer online game, what's my competition?)

Things like that.

This is meant as a constructively critical observation based solely on my opinions, not any attempt to slam, annoy, or pronouce What Is In Software. :-)


Monday, June 9, 2003

I read something like this last year, in Software Development Magazine ( ).

Go to their site, and click on the salary survey link. The site requires registration.

They have all the results of their salary survey, including the years 2000, 2001, 2002.

The answers for "what type of applications do you develop?" question, for 2002, are:

64% Client/server
54% Internet/web
39% Database management
25% E-commerce
25% N-tier
23% Software systems
22% real-time/embedded
20% Application service provider
19% Communications
13% Manufacturing
13% ERP
12% Network software
11% other
7% Mobile / wearable systems
4% open-source / free software
2% games and multimedia

Go to the site to read more - it's very interesting!

John K.
Monday, June 9, 2003

[what interests you is completely uncoupled from "what's everyone else doing?"]

That isn't possible. We get all our ideas about what might interest us from observing other people.

I think it was a very reasonable question. There might be some kind of software development that I never heard of, that I might want to try. And naturally I want to know how much of a demand there is for what I know how to do.

Even if it had been plain old curiosity, I can understand why the question would be asked.

The Real PC
Monday, June 9, 2003

>you should "follow your heart" - do what interests you.

If I don't know what the possibilities are, how can I know what interests me? Maybe something I've never run into is really interesting but I never realized it existed?

No list would be truly comprehensive, but they're a good start.

Monday, June 9, 2003

I think the question is very valid.

More important than what is actually happening now, is what the trends are. How different is the software being developend year on year?

Who/what is driving the type of software being developed??

You can try and couple this data with the skills that developers are acquiring at the moment to try and find a niche for yourself.

Basic strategic management.

You want to get in on the ground floor of a wave that is about to take off, and that has the least competition (or least number of people prepared for or targeting it).

That's were the money is to be made.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Philo, I didn't think you were trying to be a smartass (although I certainly was in my reply :-P), but I did think your response was tangential to my actual question and made a false presumption of my motivation for the question.

I made the legal profession analogy because I knew that you were a lawyer from your previous posts, and I know that such employment stats exist for the legal field because I've seen them.

I used to pore over NFL and NBA stats. They didn't lead me to wealth, power, great sex, or total world domination, but they were interesting. That's all. The same goes for software employment stats and trends - marginally useful but interesting.

The SD stats are interesting, and there were a few surprises (to me, at least).  However, because it was a survey, I doubt the results are that accurate.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

So did anyone look at that survey?  I was surprised.  All the salaries look extremely high to me!  And I live in the bay area, where the salaries are supposed to be the highest because of the cost of living.

the AVERAGE salary in the bay area for "staff" was listed at $102k and for "management" $116k.  This seems way out of whack to me, and I'm sure would be news to many of my co-workers!!

I would have though the average would be around $75k-80k for your average software developer.

What does everyone else think?

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Okay I looked at some other graphs on the site, and a lot of them are basically a normal distribution centered around $65,000.  Whatever... I guess maybe Bill Gates answered the survey and threw the averages off.

I guess it goes to show that these things to really mean that much.  The numbers don't really paint any sort of interesting/coherent picture.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

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