Poll measures developers' impact on the GDP at $3 trillion
- Access to developers has surpassed access to capital as a leading business constraint. Developers are "force-multipliers" that, when applied effectively in business, are the most important factor impacting success and can collectively boost GDP by $3 trillion in the next decade, according to a Stripe and Harris Poll of more than 1,000 developers and more than 1,000 C-suite executives.
- Most companies are growing their developer headcount year-over-year, but reaping benefits is more a factor of quality than quantity. Greater market demand than supply is a continuous problem, but unless developers are leveraged efficiently, innovation and growth are stymied.
- The economic costs of developer inefficiency are high, estimated to annually cause a $300 billion loss to global GDP and a $85 billion opportunity cost to companies. Business costs are largely incurred as developers dedicate more than 17 hours a week on average to technical debt and bad code.
The survey pinpointed developers as "the world's most precious resource."
It's frequently said that "data is the new oil," but data is only as good as the talented developers, engineers and scientists whose hands it is in. Perhaps "software engineers are the new OPEC" is the next iteration.
Properly using this finite resource comes down to leadership and management. Executive buy-in, interdepartmental communication and training are well documented pillars of effective digital transformation.
Hiring leaders with technical backgrounds is crucial, whether in the C-suite or as top lieutenants, according to Stripe CFO Will Gaybrick in a CNBC commentary piece Thursday. Including software developers into decision-making processes will also help mitigate the problems of wasted developer time and technical debt.
Software and data assets are increasingly important to business success. Though intangible and difficult to measure by traditional economic principles, these resources are also more scalable, easy to produce and able to synergize with many other business assets, according to Bill Gates in a recent blog post.
The economy has restructured over the last several decades to rest on a foundation primarily built of these intangible assets, and software engineers and developers are the front-line workers building this invisible infrastructure.
For many companies outside of the technology vertical, such as manufacturing, or outside the borders of Silicon Valley or tech hubs, attracting the necessary talent to build up these resources is often even harder. They have to fight perceptions of being "not sexy" or tech-savvy.
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