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IDC: Asia/Pacific to Supplant North America as Developer Powerhouse

Huge growth in the number of application developers in China and India will lead the Asia/Pacific past North America by 2005 as the region with the most developers, according to recently published research from analyst firm IDC.

"China is where we are projecting the biggest growth in developers," said Stephen Hendrick, vice president for IDC's Application Development and Deployment research.

"China doesn't have much of a penetration of developers to begin with, and there are vast opportunities inside of China for many different kinds of industries to leverage technology to gain competitive advantage," Hendrick said. "China is certainly ramping up and obviously wants to become a major force in terms of being able to consume and take advantage of IT assets."

The Asia/Pacific region, which also includes Japan, overtook Western Europe for the number 2 position in terms of professional developers per region in 2001, the most recent year for which IDC has final data.

Conversely, the number of employed developers in the North America region (United States and Canada) declined from 2000 to 2001. "This comes as no surprise since the economic downturn has resulted in extensive layoffs among IT workers," Hendrick said.

Worldwide, IDC predicts an increase from 7.8 million professional developers in 2001 to 13.3 million by 2006.

In North America, a plurality of developers uses Microsoft's C/C++/C# languages -- 29 percent, according to IDC. But Java, at 18 percent, leapfrogged Microsoft's Visual Basic language for the number 2 spot this time.

Hendrick attributes Java's gain partly to the language coming around at the right time. Younger than Visual Basic, Java arrived just as the application server market exploded But Hendrick adds, "Java also has a component model, reflected in Java Beans and Enterprise Java Beans, that really helps distinguish Java as a very attractive and useful development language."

The survey points to a bright future for Java because of a question asking developers what languages they intend to learn. "Java has a pretty good penetration, but what was really interesting was that if somebody didn't know Java it ended up being high on their list," Hendrick said.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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