The Year The Earth Stood Still

When COVID-19 hit in 2020, it would be an understatement to say the world was caught off guard. Every aspect of our lives has been affected by the pandemic — especially how we work and conduct business. In general, many of the major impacts of COVID are related to isolation and social distancing, especially in the work environment. Many industries, including tech companies and higher education, quickly adjusted to the conditions enforced by the pandemic. However, isolation created social interaction challenges even where adaptation was successful.

Software development is a unique profession in that much of the work can be done remotely by individuals, somewhat autonomously. According to a recent survey of 19,000 developers by SlashData, 25% of those surveyed felt that COVID has had no effect on the way they work. Call it an obsession or a labor of love, software development relies on individual efforts. These efforts are parts of smaller projects, which come together to create a product or service. To a certain degree, physical social distancing and workspace isolation with online interconnectivity are part of the norm for a software developer, even in a group setting, whether working in an office or cubicle farm. The nature of software development lends itself to collaborating remotely.

The Macro View of COVID and Employment

COVID negatively affected the economy and hiring practices with layoffs in retail, food service, and other service-related industries, but the developer community was better positioned to handle the pandemic than most because of a shift to digital delivery of information and commerce. Perhaps some of the biggest impacts of COVID for developers have been the rapid shifting of business priorities in the companies they work for, as well as the suspension of conferences and trade shows where socio-business interaction takes place.

COVID created a significant demand for software development when software for communication and commerce suddenly became essential. Online traffic increased exponentially. Demand for IT and related services to support the demand became a hiring boom for the industry, and created more options for developers. The digital transformation accelerated and became a digital tsunami — businesses couldn’t change fast enough to respond to the demand for online services.


Unemployment in the IT industry did not change dramatically during the pandemic, rising only 2.2%. Hiring has rebounded during the past few months of recovery. Because of the virtual nature of digital business, more entrepreneurs are being created, each with a need for software development for apps and services.

The post-pandemic world will continue to thrive on e-commerce products and services, offering more opportunities and options for software developers. As one example, the easing of COVID restrictions has launched overwhelming demand for travel and related services. Travel depends on software, and commerce depends on software. (There is a pattern here.) Such industries will accelerate despite the pandemic.

To a large extent, the COVID pandemic did not negatively affect the software development community — from a business perspective. Many people have lost loved ones to this virus, irrespective of profession. It would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that we have all been personally affected by the pandemic. From a professional perspective, however, software development resources will remain in high demand for the foreseeable future. More opportunities mean that developers have more leverage in employment choices and setting their plans for the future.



SlashData State of the Developer Nation Survey — 20th Edition

IT employment