The modern developer’s rise to power

‘‘When I was a developer, I had no budget and I couldn’t buy a pencil, when pencils were popular. I couldn’t buy anything. Whatever central IT had ordered, that’s what showed up on my desk.’’

Well, that was the state of affairs back in the 1980s and 1990s according to Peter Levine – the software developer who is today one of the most influential venture capitalists in the world! So, how did developers go from being powerless employees to becoming key stakeholders when it comes to making any technology decision in a company?

According to Levine, one of the most important factors which influenced this great power shift was the infiltration of software into every part of our economy. We couldn’t agree more! It made developers the key innovators and lead buyers. And soon tool vendors and startups recognised this trend and deliberately began selling to developers as the first wedge point into an organisation.

Here’s data that shows us just how influential modern developers actually are.

Influence of developers

What we find most interesting is the fact that more than a third of developers (incl. 38% of front-line developers) acquire tools for their personal use. This means they have a small budget to spend. In aggregate, this by itself is an important market. But most importantly, it is they who introduce the tool to an organisation for personal use or at a small scale, becoming passionate tool evangelists. Targeting these individual developers therefore becomes an effective strategy for enterprise sales.

This is indeed an era where we no longer need to woo the purchasing department, but need to shift our sales and marketing focus on the developers who will use our tools on the floor. So in the coming years, there isn’t a shadow of doubt, that the realm of the developer’s influence will only magnify.


A big thank you to SlashData for driving the Developer Economics global survey to gather this amazing data for us. It’s data like this that helps us track the ever-evolving world of software developer trends.

1 Comment

  1. Understand the “Why” Back when I started developing, the closest thing to StackOverflow was computer magazines with source code you could manually type into your terminal to get the programs running.

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