The creative talent of independent software developers has helped to make the smartphone and media tablet into a global phenomena. International Data Corporation (IDC) has released new estimates for the worldwide software developer, plus the closely related Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skilled worker population.
The numbers of software developers and ICT-skilled workers in the world are important for a variety of resource allocation and investment decisions -- and because they are the gating factors to addressable market calculations for many software and IT services providers.
So, how big is the current talent pool? Heading into 2014, IDC believes that there are 18.5 million software developers in the world, of which 11 million are professional software developers and 7.5 million are hobbyist developers.
According to the IDC assessment, there are 29 million ICT-skilled workers in the world -- including professional software developers and 18 million operations and management skilled workers.
"Our country-by-country analysis of 90 of the most developed countries in the world, representing 97 percent of the world's GDP, is unique in the industry as it provides the only bottom-up model of the world's developer and ICT-skilled workers," said Al Hilwa, Program Director, Application Development Software at IDC.
There analysis shows that the United States accounts for 19 percent of worldwide software developers, both professional and hobbyists, followed by China with 10 percent and India with 9.8 percent.
The United States also accounts for 22 percent of worldwide ICT-skilled workers, followed by India with 10.4 percent and China with 7.6 percent.
While the numbers of both developers and ICT-skilled workers are expected to grow over the next few years, shifts in how IT is being delivered through cloud services will favor the growth in developers over other ICT-skilled workers.
Additionally, the population of hobbyist software developers is rapidly changing and the growth of this segment is being boosted by the mobile device revolution.