What’s stopping developers boosting GDP by $3 trillion? Other developers…

Software developers could raise global GDP by $3 trillion over the next decade – if they weren’t having to spend so much time unpicking the mistakes other devs have made in the past.

The claim came in a study by payments company Stripe, which said a shortage of software development talent is now more likely to keep company execs awake at night than a shortage of capital according to the survey.

Researchers found that 55 per cent of companies recognised access to software developers as a constraint on their business, topped only by access to talent in general (55 per cent) and regulation (54 per cent).

When it came to threats “to the success of your business”, access to developers was cited by 61 per cent of respondents. The top answer was a data security breach – at 66 per cent – followed by increased regulation and disruption from the technology industry, both of which irked 62 per cent of respondents.

Asd for what it is that developers actually can positively do for a company, 71 per cent of respondents cited “bringing products to market faster”, while 70 per cent said “increasing sales”. Differentiating products and services versus competitors was cited by 69 per cent, while internal reporting and visibility clocked up 65 per cent.

So execs – and developers – clearly think software engineers could make a massive impact on their companies. But what’s holding them back? The (previous) work of other software engineers it would seem.

While the average working week for a developer was 41.1 hours, approximately 3.8 hours a week was spent grappling with bad code, and another 13.5 hours was spent dealing with technical debt, maintenance and other dev headaches. Needless to say this figure was considered excessive by 59 per cent of respondents.

The economic impact of dealing with bad code alone was around $85bn annually the study claimed.

Overall, respondents felt their developers were 68.4 per cent as productive as they could be. This 31.6 per cent efficiency loss means translated into a $300bn hit to GDPR annually. Not bad for a community of 18 million people.

Thus, while execs might feel that scarcity of developers is the key problem, the reports authors suggested that “businesses need to better leverage their existing software talent”. How do you do that? We’ll leave that to the experts to decide.