July 2015

Volume 30 Number 7

Editor's Note - Who we are

By Michael Desmond | July 2015

Michael DesmondIn May we completed our biannual survey of MSDN Magazine subscribers. This is the third such survey we’ve conducted since 2011, and the results provide a valuable picture of the evolving MSDN Magazine readership.

For instance, did you know that MSDN Magazine readers are getting younger? It’s true. This year, 31 percent of respondents report having 20 or more years of experience in the industry, versus 37.7 percent in 2013 and 36 percent in 2011. At the same time, the percentage of subscribers with less than 10 years of experience has risen, from 22 percent in 2011 and 2013 to 26.4 percent this year.

We also asked developers what initiatives are important to them, and found two areas that produced the biggest gains. Agile development is up sharply since 2011, from 53 percent of respondents to 64.4 percent this year. Cloud development is also up big, earning a nod from 39.9 percent of respondents, up from 29 percent in 2011 and 36.6 percent in 2013. Another significant gainer: application lifecycle management, which was identified by 41.7 percent of respondents this year, versus 35 percent in 2011 and 40.2 percent in 2013. Two other initiatives—security and mobile/wireless development—also saw gains.

A pair of initiatives lost the most ground over the last four years. The Rich Client Applications - BI/Database/Information Worker category fell from a 33 percent response rate in 2011 to just 19.2 percent in 2015. GUI design and usability development also tailed off, from 62 percent in 2011 to 49.8 percent in 2015.

In terms of language use, C# remains king. It was identified as the primary programming language of 70.1 percent of respondents, up from 65.5 percent in 2013. C++ rebounded this year to capture the loyalty of nearly 10 percent of respondents, from just 6.1 percent in 2013. But Visual Basic usage shows persistent decline. The percentage of readers using the language has dropped over each of the last three surveys, from 17 percent to 12.3 percent to just 8.6 percent in 2015. The only other languages to gain more than 2 percent of responses were Java and JavaScript, with both at just a shade less than 3 percent.

When looking at Microsoft technologies that developers either have or plan to invest in within the next 12 months, the clear trend is toward cloud adoption. Microsoft Azure was cited by 36 percent of respondents, up from 28.4 percent in 2013, while Azure SQL Database was cited by 23.4 percent this year, from 18.8 percent two years earlier. Not coincidentally, planned usage of SQL Server is dropping, from 82 percent in 2011 to 78.5 percent in 2013, to 73.7 percent this year.

2015 is very much a year in transition. Usage of technologies like SharePoint, ASP.NET and especially Silverlight waned, while uptake of Windows Runtime remains steady. Of interest: Survey respondents report declining uptake of Windows Phone, from 21.3 percent two years ago to 16.1 percent in 2015. That will be a figure to watch, especially as Microsoft’s Universal Windows apps strategy begins to flatten barriers to entry in the Windows Phone space.

This year, we decided to ask our readers where they go for help and guidance with development projects. No surprise, MSDN Magazine subscribers favored MSDN.com as a primary source of insight, with three-quarters of all respondents listing it. The StackOverflow site was a close second, identified by 64 percent of respondents. The next-most-cited sources were Google (19 percent), W3Schools (17 percent) and Pluralsight (14 percent).

Over the past four years we’ve seen Microsoft adapt to a world defined by mobile, cloud and Web development. I look forward to seeing how our readership continues to adapt in the years to come.

Michael Desmond is the Editor-in-Chief of MSDN Magazine.