40+ Software Industry Facts Everyone Should Know

The software industry is wide and vast, and can easily be described by this Statista definition:

“The software industry consists of the development, distribution, and maintenance of software. It can be broadly divided into application software, system infrastructure software, software-as-a-service (SaaS), operating systems, database and analytics software.”

This “broadly divided” industry, however, is boiled down even further into sectors like artificial intelligence, programming, engineering, data – you get the point. That’s why staying up to date on the latest industry and market facts is crucial to understanding the field.

If you’re ready to see how the industry’s been fairing, then keep reading for over 40 software industry statistics. We’ll cover a few useful facts, then move on to how the current market looks, industry-leading companies, job-related stats, diversity and inclusion stats, and current salary trends.

Mind-Blowing Facts & Statistics

As we learned above, the software industry is anything but simple, encompassing a wide variety of sectors within itself.

Because of this, there’s actually an impressive amount of data showing the software industry influences fields far outside the realm of technology. Software also carries a long history dating back centuries and breaks stereotypical gender norms way before its time.

Overall, these conjoining factors help paint the picture of the modern-day software industry and what you can expect moving forward.

  1. The world’s first programmer was a woman named Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician and writer, and is credited with publishing the first computer algorithm.
Graphic of Ada Lovelace
  1. According to HOPL, there are nearly 9,000 programming languages, some dating back all the way to the 18th century.
  1. Research dating back to 1991 has proven that learning how to code has definite cognitive benefits, like heavily reducing the development of degenerative diseases such as dementia.
  1. On average, there are 5 open job positions per one developer, showing a huge demand for workers in this market.
  1. From data collected at the end of 2020, 70% of coding jobs are in fields not related to technology.
  1. According to Microsoft, digital transformation is happening at such a rate that we can expect over 500 million new applications to be developed in the next five years, most of which will use cloud-native approaches.

Current Software Industry Facts

According to Statista, the software industry is broken down into application software, system infrastructure software, SaaS, operating systems, and database and analytics software.

Application software is loosely understood as any program designed for end-users, so Microsoft Office and Google Chrome are under the umbrella of application software. On the other hand, system infrastructure software and SaaS allude to enterprise software and business cloud-based services.

Operating systems are simply low-level software that manage hardware, and database and analytics software is just that, software that manages and analyzes data.

When measuring the current industry, however, it’s usually done through more specific sectors, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data. These sectors are also often intertwined, with cloud-based services using AI technology and business platforms being used to collect data.

One thing that is apparent though is that most, if not all, of these sectors are thriving.

  1. If the SaaS market remains strong, Statista predicts SaaS spending will reach $138.3 billion in 2022.
  1. Global spending on big data and business analytics (BDA) solutions are expected to jump 10.1% from 2020 to $215.7 billion in 2021.
  1. The business intelligence and analytics software market is forecasted to increase from $14.9 billion in 2019 to $17.6 billion in 2024.
  1. Market research from IDC expects the global AI market to reach half a trillion US dollars by 2024.
  1. Global revenue for the AI market, which includes software, hardware, and services, earned $281.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to earn $327.5 billion by the end of 2021.
  1. In 2021, IT expenditures on enterprise software are projected to jump 13.2% from 2020, with a total value of $599 billion.

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Leading Software Companies

Most leading software companies are names that have been around for ages, some even before the turn of the 21st century. 

There are a couple of reasons for this. One being they had a hand creating the software industry that we see today. Innovation led by IBM, Apple, and Microsoft helped drive technology into the crucial asset it is now.

Second, once a brand is known it’s incredibly hard for other smaller companies to compete. According to Gartner, 78% of businesses prefer to work with brands they already know or have worked with. Essentially this creates an environment that favors and supports already leading brands and companies.

A graphic edited to show tech companies logos.

Plus, these companies often produce software for multiple sectors.

For example, Amazon has Amazon Web Services (AWS), cloud platforms, and tech stacks, and Oracle, an established cloud platform, also owns and maintains the Java programming language.

This creates the powerful tech giants that we see today and their impressive market performance.

  1. Oracle, one of the largest market value tech companies in the world, grew from $22 billion to over $40 billion within the fiscal year of 2021, making this its most successful year.
  1. Apple surpassed Google and Amazon as the most valuable brand in the world with a valuation of $263.4 billion after increasing brand value by 87% last year. Next in line is Amazon, with a value of $254.2 billion.
  1. Microsoft had the largest revenue of any software and programming company, with a revenue of $143 billion. For scale, Oracle and SAP in second and third place only earned $39.1 billion and $31.1 billion, respectively.
  1. In June of 2021, Microsoft hit an astonishing $2 trillion valuation following the release of Windows 11.
  1. IBM has led the AI market race since 2018 by 10.3% and a value of $3,070 million, followed by Google with an 8.2% market share and Microsoft with 7.6%.
  1. Adobe achieved a quarterly revenue record of $3.91 billion in Q1 of the 2021 fiscal year, boasting a 26% year-over-year growth

Working in the Industry

If you work in the software industry, then some of these statistics should come as no surprise. With consumers favoring well-known and established brands, it makes sense that certain tools, programming languages, and platforms become industry staples.

Working in software, however, is changing drastically with the onslaught of online tech courses and the gig economy changing traditional learning and working methods.

  1. Git continues to be a monumental tool for developers with over 90% of professionals using the tool.
  1. According to HackerRank, full-stack developers on average know 4-6 main programming languages and frameworks.
  1. WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system, currently hosts 26% of today’s internet.
  1. The most common developer type globally is a full-stack developer.
  1. In a survey of 909 developers, California housed the most programmers at 14%, followed by Florida with 9% and New York with 7%.
An illustrated graphic showcasing software developers.
  1. Senior executives and managers tend to have the most years of coding experience, while data scientists and machine learning engineers tend to have on average less coding experience than an academic researcher, according to the 2021 Stack Overflow Developer Survey.
  1. 60% of Stack Overflow’s Developer survey respondents learned coding via online resources.
  1. JavaScript ranks as the most popular programming language for the ninth year in a row, with 68.62% of professional developers using it.
  1. For cloud platforms, AWS takes a far lead as the most widely used platform at 54.22%, Google Cloud Platform comes in second at 31.05%.
  1. According to WP engine, HTML was voted the easiest language to learn by 13.3% of programmers, followed by Python with 9%.
  1. Between 2020 and 2021, Stack Overflow saw an increase in developers moving to freelance roles. In the same survey, full-time developers saw a 2% decrease from 83% last year to 81% in 2021.

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Current Diversity & Inclusion Facts

The software industry seriously falls short in terms of diversity and inclusion. Even with female figureheads in its history, women and minorities are continually unrepresented in the field.

However, efforts are being made to change this with dozens of non-profits working exclusively to make the software and technology industry more diverse as a whole.

We also argue that with the development of online learning and freelancing, people who previously didn’t have access to learning the necessary skills to work in the software industry now have the opportunity to do so, and we hope to see this boost diversity and inclusion.

  1. In WP engine’s survey, nearly 70% of programmers identified as male, and 31% identified as female. This showed a decrease in female programmers from 2020.
  1. According to Stack Overflow, 48% of professional developers are aged 25-34 years old.
  1. In a global survey, only 1% of respondents identified as transgender, and only half of them were professional developers.
  1. In the same global survey, 86.5% of professional developers identified as heterosexual, 2.21% as gay or lesbian, and 5.5% preferred not to say.
  1. The most common ethnicity of software engineers is White at 53%, followed by Asian at 31.2% and Hispanic or Latino at 7.2%.
  1. People who identify as indigenous are the smallest minority, with only 0.69% of professional developers identifying as such.
  1. In BIMA’s Tech Inclusivity & Diversity Report, they found 52% of tech workers have suffered from anxiety or depression at some point. 

Trending Salary Statistics

It’s no secret that the tech industry boasts some of the highest-paying roles, comparable to that of traditional institutions like finance and business, with senior developers and managers earning upwards of $150k depending on their location and additional certifications.

On top of being a developer or engineer, understanding and using specific web frameworks and databases, like SQL or Node.js, can significantly increase your salary.

The pandemic also only helped this with IT salaries rising 3.6% in 2020, some states even seeing increases of up to 13.8% despite the pandemic. And the industry is forecasted to continue on this upward trend.

Overall, the job market for the tech industry continues to flow in workers’ favor, as the supply of developers and engineers fails to meet the demand of the workforce, increasing salary rates.

  1. Software engineers earn the highest salary in San Francisco, CA at $142,000 and Detroit earns the least with $88,000. However, Seattle is considered to have the best wage to living costs ratio.
  1. Overall, engineering managers, SREs, DevOps specialists, and data engineers tend to earn the highest salaries, earning $95,976, $94,996, $70,264, and $68,034, respectively. These prices go even higher in the US.
  1. Clojure became the highest-paid programming language in 2021, with companies paying developers nearly $14k more than the next leading language.
  1. Dart, a client development-focused programming language, pays the least with a median salary of $32,986, according to the Stack Overflow Developer survey.
  1. Data scientists and machine learning specialists are the 7th most paid roles but on average have the fewest years of experience, while designers typically have over 10 years of experience and are paid the least.
Results of the salaries studies in the 2021 Stack Overflow survey
  1. Even as a student in the US you can earn up to $70,000 a year as a developer.

The Future Outlook of the Software Industry

You don’t have to be psychic to know that the software industry will hold just as much sway in the future as it does now. Potentially even more so with the insatiable demand to push boundaries and create new limits.

Product innovation aside though, everything is becoming increasingly more digital, with companies shifting workforces online and from home, relying on the daily use of software whether they work in the industry or not.

The market also shows nothing but positive growth as consumers and investors continue to invest in software developments because of how vital it is to our world.

However, we will say that for the software industry to continue this road of growth, new developments will need to stay client-focused, business-centered, and open to changes. Following this architecture will be crucial for the industry to stay on top.

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