3 Surprising Reasons Developers are Multilingual – and What That Means to You

Our recent Developer Media Tech Trends study shows interest in all major technologies and tools, suggesting that developers’ continuing need to master and use many different technologies. Find out why and how this trend affects you as a marketer.

Mastering multiple tools and languages is no day at the beach.
Mastering multiple tools and languages is no day at the beach.

One of the biggest trends we’ve seen over the last few years is developers’ reliance on multiple tools and technologies instead of just one “stack” or toolset. The days of developers focusing on only one set of technologies are over. Today’s world demands that developers use many different technologies, including many different programing languages, to get the job done. They’re having to develop for multiple platforms, devices and use cases. And that demands a broad variety of tools.

In our recent Developer Media Tech Trends study we released a couple of weeks ago, we found that major languages and technologies all show growth. Not only is there a plethora of languages and tools, but developers intend to continue working with many languages. Again, no longer can they use only one language most of the time; instead, they must use and master many.

Here are three reasons why developers are multilingual — reasons that just might surprise you:

  1. Despite dominance by a few major players, in our phone interviews with developers, they told us that they’re no longer trusting their livelihoods and careers to just one vendor. Instead, they like to have some alternative skills just in case. Turns out market volatility and the shifting fortunes of tech companies has a real effect on developer loyalty.
  2. The relative ease and straightforward syntax of Web-birthed languages like PHP and Ruby make it easier for developers to pick up a new language suitable for particular tasks. Learning these relatively lightweight languages is not a major hurdle — which sheds some light on why JavaScript is the #1 most-used/planned language in our survey for 2014.
  3. The complexity of today’s technology landscape affects developers’ tool and language choice. Here’s why:

    • While in the early days of computing there weren’t nearly as many legacy systems in place, today there is realistically 40 years of legacy software to maintain — meaning that languages from COBOL to Visual Basic need to remain in developers’ arsenals for years
    • On the opposite side of that same coin, current, new and emerging platforms demand different languages and tools. While leading IDEs are trying to be all-embracing, developers still must master many more technologies and their interrelationships than ever.

What’s the implication for marketers? Simple: today’s developer is complex. It’s not straightforward to target developers because they can be working on one kind of technology today and another tomorrow — or three this afternoon. It means that unless your solution it designed for only a very small subset of developers, filling your marketing funnel with results from broad outreach can be the most effective approach.

Want to hear more? Drop me a line.

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