The growth in the number of software developers will slow each year for the next couple of years, contributing to an already problematic worldwide IT skills shortage, according to market researcher IDC.
Last year, the number of developers worldwide increased 11.5 per cent, but this year that rate will drop to 9.6 per cent, according to the Massachusetts-based firm. By 2003, the rate will drop to under 6 per cent, IDC said.
The growth rate of developers will slow in developed countries because they already have so many IT professionals and their productivity is increasing, according to IDC. In less developed countries, the difficulty of adopting IT will minimise the number of developers, the company said.
But some regions may sustain higher growth rates for developers. In the Asia-Pacific, there is a tremendous demand for IT because the region has a large population which is moving towards an industrialised economy, IDC said. Whatever the trend for the rest of the world, the developer growth rate for the Asia-Pacific should be among the fastest, the company said.
As for the most popular languages used by developers, IDC said that a change is due soon. Visual Basic is currently the most widely used developer language, but it will be overtaken by HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) by 2002, according to IDC. The fastest growing development environments will be component-based tools, Java and internet rapid application development tools, IDC said.