The mystery of how many developers there are in the world: is it 100 million, or more like 16 million?

Finding an estimate of how many developers there are in the world is difficult. Oh, there’s plenty of people making estimates, but those estimates vary so much that the estimates are suspicious.

For example:

  1. Microsoft/GitHub recently said they now have 100 million developers using GitHub.

  2. “We estimate that, as of Q1 2023, there are 35.6 million active software developers in the world,” says Slashdata (who the CNCF uses for surveys).

  3. Evans Data (by way of Statista) estimated that 25.6 million in 2021 and forecast 27.7 million in 2023.

  4. In 2022, IDC said: “worldwide professional developer census, which IDC places at just under 16 million in 2022.” This is up from 11 million in their estimate for 2014.

Those spreads are pretty bonkers, huh!

Out of those, I’d trust IDC the most. This isn’t exactly apple-to-apples: IDC’s numbers are for paid developers, not just “hobbyists.” That’s fine, though, because when I’m interested in this number, I’m usually wearing my “pay the bills” hat and am only interested in professional developers.

If I could find the breakout between pro and hobbyists in the Evans data, I’d probably go with the Evans data. I usually go with IDC on any IT estimates, but Evans specialize in developers and have for years.

If you look back at IDC’s 2014 estimate, as summarized in The Register then you can get a sense for the hobbyiests: “11 million working as software developers and a further 7.5 million ‘hobbyist’ [as] developers.” So if we take those percentages, it’s 40%/60% between hobbyists and pros. Applied to the 2022 estimate, that’d get you, like, 26.6 million developers total. And, then, that lines up well enough with Evans' too.

(You could make an argument that since 2014 interest in programming has risen, access to computers and education has gone up, etc., etc., and say that the hobbyist share has grown, but, whatever: I’m a round numbers, “smells about right” kind of person once things get into the tens of millions.)

So, if I was going to use something, I’d say “around 16 million professional developers, probably something like 26 million total developers if you include people doing unpaid farting around.”

If you’re interested in things like how many developers there are world-wide, you’ll like my newsletter. It comes out several times a week with little bits like the above (sometimes longer, sure), links I’ve found, and shameless self-promotion for stuff I’ve made and have coming up. Subscribe! Tell your friends! Subscribe your children and partners! Does your pet lizard have an email address? Why assume it would not be interested? Get THAT LIZARD subscribed!

I’ve got what I hope will be a podcast-y type version of a webinar series I just wrapped up. I don’t know: something like a after show special where we talk about the series?

It’ll be live next week, on July 19th at 3pm Amsterdam time (check you local listings).

We did a good job in the series talking about how cloud native apps and thinking gives banks and other financial organizations new capabilities, how it changes, for the better, how you do security and compliance, and how to start thinking about modernizing all those legacy applications.

Get a reminder to watch it

You can watch it in LinkedIn, or YouTube if you prefer that. Come with some questions! We didn’t get any during the webinar series.


Midjourney: martin brusek's eugene haidet, in the style of animated shapes, classic composition, fluxus, anamorphic art, musical academia, group f/64, cartoon mis-en-scene.

Relative to your interests

  • Security Team Culture Matters - Being in security should be a happy job. // “Security and risk teams are more motivated and purpose-driven than others. As a 25-year cybersecurity veteran, this totally checks out for me. Almost everyone I know in [IT security] is mission- and purpose-driven. They took on this job to protect others!”

  • Deploying the Swift Method to Modernize a Singapore Government Legacy System - Good description of what it feels like to be stuck in the legacy trap: “The [Singapore] government agency in this case study faced a similar issue with a legacy system that supported critical business processes, integrated with other business-critical applications, and was developed and maintained by third-party vendors. Over time, the codebase had become highly coupled within different business domains and contexts, making it difficult for developers to work on. This situation led to product development squads being slowed down by dependencies on the support team for this legacy system. The development squads also lacked confidence to make changes to this system themselves—given the low automated test coverage—and faced uncertainty about what they would be able to deliver for their own work streams independently.” You can see the original talk this is based on here.

More: The importance of on-premises applications and infrastructure; Managing negative emotions and cultivating happiness; VMware Tanzu and VMware Aria adapting to multi-cloud industry trends; Potential discussion on DevOps trends; WE CAN VIRAL IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE.


Talks I’ll be giving, places I’ll be, things I’ll be doing, etc.

July 19th Improving FinTech with cloud native think, speaking. July 19th Stop Tech Debt and Start Using Faster, More Secure Paths to Production. August 21st to 24th SpringOne & VMware Explore US, in Las Vegas. Sep 6th to 7th DevOpsDays Des Moines, speaking. Sep 13th, stackconf, Berlin. Sep 14th to 15th SREday, London, speaking Sep 18th to 19th SHIFT in Zadar, speaking. Oct 3rd Enterprise DevOps Techron, Utrecht, speaking

Midjourney: martin brusek's eugene haidet, in the style of animated shapes, classic composition, fluxus, anamorphic art, musical academia, group f/64, cartoon mis-en-scene.


Now that summarizing is working again in ChatGPT, I thought I’d try putting in a list of things I asked it to summerize, but did not bookmark to list an official link. That’s what the “More” paragraph is in the links section above. It’s like that Matt Levine/Harper’s style of mashing it all together. An “official link” means I’ve extracted some quote and/or added a comment of my own, bookmarked it, posted it to my blog and Mastodon, and probably promoted it on some other social holes. These ones are from the cutting room floor.,, @cote,,