There are 18.5 million software developers in the world – but which country has the most?

The shift to the cloud is likely to favour developers over other types of tech workers, according to research.
There are 18.5 million software developers in the world - of which 11 million are professionals and 7.5 million are hobbyists.

According to calculations by research firm IDC, there are 29 million 'ICT-skilled' workers in the world, including professional software developers and 18 million IT workers in operations and management.

The analyst said that worldwide the US accounts for 19 percent of software developers (both professional and hobbyists), followed by China with 10 percent, and offshore outsourcing powerhouse India with 9.8 percent.

The US also accounts for 22 percent of ICT-skilled workers worldwide, followed by India with 10.4 percent and China with 7.6 percent.

Slicing the numbers slightly differently, Asia-Pacific accounts for 36 percent of all ICT-skilled workers in the world, followed by the Americas with 33 percent and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) with 31 percent.

Asia-Pacific also accounts for 37 percent of the professional developers in the world, followed by the Americas with 33 percent and EMEA with 30 percent. Asia-Pacific is also home to 36 percent of all software developers in the world, followed by EMEA with 34 percent and the Americas with 30 percent.

But when it comes to hobbyists, EMEA leads with 39 percent, followed by Asia-Pacific with 34 percent and the Americas with 27 percent.

That's still a pretty small number of people with IT skills compared to the roughly seven billion people living on the planet, of course. IDC's analysis covers 90 countries accounting for 97 percent of the world's GDP.

Al Hilwa, IDC's application development software programme director said the numbers of both developers and ICT-skilled workers are expected to grow over the next few years, but shifts in how IT is being delivered through cloud services will favour growth in developers over other ICT-skilled workers. Also, the number of hobbyist developers is on the rise thanks to the emerging app economy.

According to UK professional e-skills, more than 1.5m people are employed in the IT and telecoms workforce: 863,000 of them work in the IT and telecoms industry itself and 674,000 work as IT or telecoms professionals in other industries. It estimates that half a million new entrants are required to fill tech skills roles in the UK over the next five years.


Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of


Is this number just reflecting the code monkeys or real IT workers who can also analyse a problem and come up with a sensible solution before they start to jump on the keyboard?


Just wait until the machines take over....that number will decrease very quickly. We can slow this process by not submitting our resumes to any job postings on CL by a company called Cyberdyne. 

Just trust me on this one....I've seen into the future, so to speak.   


IDC's analysis covers 90 countries accounting for 97 percent of the world's GDP.

Steve,  One pieve of missing info then is what is the population of those 90 countries?  You mention 18.5 million and 29 million are a small part of the 7 billion people in the world but what percentage of people in the 90 countries so the 18.5 and 29 represent?


@maj37 A better and more meaningful breakdown would have discounted children and retired people, since they wouldn't enter into the active working generations. Also of importance would have been the employment/unemployment breakdowns  A country with high unemployment isn't going to have many IT or software workers. 


@maj37And the figures are meaningless without taking GDP per head into account.

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