Economy hits developer growth projections

Analyst revises numbers downward in light of sour conditions, with recovery to original projections not expected until 2012

Population growth figures for software developers have been revised downward by an analyst firm because of the current state of the economy.

The recently published Evans Data 2009 Global Developer Population and Demographics Study found that the population trend in 2009 will represent a break from previous projections, the company said. This is the first time in the more than four year that Evans has been doing the report that it lowered projections.

"[For] 2009, we had estimated previously that there would be about 15.2 million developers [worldwide]," said Evans CEO John Andrews on Monday afternoon. "We revised that estimate down by about 600,000."

Still, the number of developers is growing, albeit at a lower rate. Evans earlier had expected growth to be 7.4 percent this year. "In our new forecast, we're expecting [growth to be] 4.3 percent," Andrews said.

Figures are based on a variety of sources accessed by Evans, such as developer census information and  IT and communications spending rates. Evans also surveys developers to gain a demographic profile.

A measure of recovery is projected for 2010 and 2011, but full recovery prior to forecasted levels is not expected until 2012.

Most notable effects of the economic downturn can be seen in industrialized economies in places, such as North America, Japan, and western Europe, with growth projections reduced 78 percent. The impact on the rest of the world will be less severe but there still is a decrease of 35 percent from last year's forecast.

Meanwhile, the developer population of India and China is expected to grow 22 percent from 2009 to 2001. The Europe-Middle East-Africa regional has the largest developer population, with 5.6 million, according to the study. Fifteen countries comprise more than two-thirds of the global developer population.

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