What application developers really want

A fresh reader survey of nearly 500 developers reveals high aspirations and time-honored challenges

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Please indicate the top challenges you feel the developer community is facing

Total

Proper communication of business requirements

67%

Availability of experienced talented developers

47%

Appropriate development frameworks, and/or environments

39%

Compensation

38%

Workloads

37%

Training resources

36%

Offshoring/outsourcing

34%

Obtaining application testing tools, methodologies, and/or resources

29%

Other challenge

3%

Incomplete or garbled business requirements are the bane of enterprise application development, so no wonder the respondents picked "proper communication" of those requirements as the biggest obstacle. Tools for creating prototypes and programming methodologies that encourage business/developer collaboration just seem to get better year after year. But collaboration also takes sustained effort -- and demands that stakeholders take the time to nail down business processes and decide what they really want. Unfortunately, that part never seems to get easier, especially when a recession reduces staff.

Speaking of the downturn, it may seem puzzling that nearly half of respondents lamented the lack of "experienced, talented developers" when so many are looking for work. But it has always been this way. There may be a large pool of unemployed developers, but not that many who can hack EJBs, sling Python code -- or meet the specific needs of any individual environment.

Overall, the survey results suggest that developers have a clear sense of their importance to the IT organization and the business as a whole. But in today's market, the threat of outsourcing means programming skills alone aren't enough to ensure success. Those who can bridge the gap between IT and business always rise to the top.

This article, "What application developers really want," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter and on your mobile device at infoworldmobile.com.

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