Developers Are Gaining Clout, and We Need to Pay Attention

I’ve been watching the ascent of developers for quite some time. A few years ago, I wrote an open letter to developers in which I noted their power and collective influence over the direction of technology across industries. As creators of our digital future, developers hold incredible power—and with that power comes great responsibility.

Developers now directly influence technology decisions within their organizations. They have achieved widespread recognition for their expertise and, as such, have frequently acquired a broader role in their company’s digital trajectory.

While developers have always been first and foremost in feature and functionality development at the Cloud Foundry Foundation, we’re starting to see this approach bubble to the surface across the business landscape and in other open source communities. Cloud-native technologies often focus on operators, but it’s just as important to empower developers.

If our goal is, as it should be, to enable developers to be more productive and give them the freedom to create more applications to production as quickly as possible, a developer’s workflow needs to be seamless and intuitive.

Developers Need Widespread Support

The long-tail impact of developers gaining a seat at the table and influencing technology decisions is a positive shift that demands widespread support. It’s critical that we recognize the important role developers play today and give them accompanying responsibilities to meet our common goals.

Think about who is creating the software that’s changing how organizations operate and interact with customers: It’s the developers. Developers, above anyone else, know the technologies that make them most productive and impactful. Putting them in the driver’s seat is paramount because we all benefit when they are given space and time to be as productive as possible.

Enterprises of all shapes and sizes are taking notice and shifting strategies as a result. Indeed, a significant majority of organizations are empowering developers with the freedom to choose the tools they use. In our most recent research, we found that 59% of respondents said their company is giving development teams more authority to choose their tools.

Perceptions Are Evolving

It’s no coincidence that this change is happening when software development becomes more critical for companies across all industries. Organizations realize the biggest hurdle to improving application development productivity is culture. More than a third (37%) of survey respondents feel that way today. We’ve been tracking this sentiment since 2016 and only a quarter of respondents felt that way then.

Just three years ago, 39% of respondents said technology was the biggest hurdle for their organizations to overcome. That number has dropped to 29% today.

That’s quite the inverse from 2016, and it indicates the levels at which software development is becoming a greater priority for businesses. As such, it’s increasingly common for organizations to give developers resources and influence to shape the direction of their business.

Let’s not become complacent. We all need to double down on giving developers the best possible experience. It’s the developers who are driving transformational change in our organizations. The more power we give them to do so, the better off we will be as a result.

Abby Kearns

Abby Kearns

With nearly twenty years in the tech world, Abby Kearns is a true veteran of the industry. Her lengthy career has spanned product marketing, product management and consulting across Fortune 500 companies and startups alike. As Executive Director of Cloud Foundry Foundation, Abby helms the ecosystem of developers, users and applications running on Cloud Foundry, and works closely with the Board to drive the Foundation’s vision and grow the open source project. Prior to Cloud Foundry Foundation, Abby focused on Pivotal Cloud Foundry as part of the Product Management team at Pivotal. She spent eight years at Verizon where she led Product Management and Product Marketing teams dedicated to the early days of cloud services. In her free time, Abby enjoys indulging in food and wine, and spending time with her husband and son.

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