A new class of developer is emerging—the enterprise developer. These are developers who have the new skills that are needed to take their enterprise into the post-digital industrialization age. They program core business applications onto a new class of cloud and network infrastructure—digital factories, if you like—to enable a re-imagining of their business offerings and the unlocking of new customer value.

In a post on this blog last month, Stephen Spiker of the Application Developers Alliance dived into the findings of the alliance’s “Investment in Enterprise Developers is the Best Risk Management System” report, which surveyed 100 self-declared enterprise developers.

Stephen looked at issues of security and competence and whether companies truly understand their enterprise developers. But who exactly are these developers? Well, the report has answers on that, too:

The day-to-day work of enterprise developers


  • The most common description of their day-to-day work is “full-stack developer,” with most of them spending at least a quarter of their time doing something other than coding and almost a third saying that designing, writing, and testing code occupies 25 percent or less of their time.
  • 80 percent of respondents had prior experience developing consumer-facing applications.
  • Most enterprise developers work with Java, JavaScript, HTML5, and SQL. Overall, the large variety of programming languages they work with highlights a challenge companies face when looking for people with specific skill sets, and building up and retaining them once they are hired.
  • Four out of five work on either a Windows or a Mac operating system, with Windows being slightly more common. One in four works with Linux, and only 4 percent do so exclusively.
  • Fewer than one in five works on mobile platforms (Android or iOS) exclusively—and those that do are almost all working for small companies with fewer than 100 employees.

Under-investment in enterprise developers

If we are right that the demand for top-class enterprise developers is set to accelerate, and that their role in transforming the companies they work for will be increasingly pivotal, then we are currently looking at a significant under-investment in the growth and support of that talent.

The companies that succeed in this age of digital industrialization and talent scarcity will be those that achieve the virtuous cycle of investing in their developer community, while daring to put them to work on high-impact opportunities using modern tools and infrastructure. Having the ability to build something impactful, put it into the environment and have people use it, and do this quickly and sustainably is highly motivating for developers.

And if you want to get a funny take on the awkward emergence of this relatively new enterprise developer persona, these excellent short videos from GE get it just right.

Get access to the full ADA report here:



Digital Industrialization

Hans Haenlein

Hans is Director, Innovation and leads the Product Discovery Team in San Jose, California, driving customer insight into the front end of product development and championing world class user experience design throughout the development process. Previously, he headed up the Innova Squad at Ericsson, using design thinking methods to facilitate innovation across the IP and Broadband division. His background in mechanical design engineering, CAD/CAM model-making and rapid tool-making brought him from London to California in 1998 when he joined innovation firm IDEO. While there, he led multidisciplinary teams to deliver product and service innovation, business strategy, and innovation capabilities for global companies in numerous verticals, before joining Ericsson in 2011. He holds an honors bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brunel University in the UK and a foundation certificate in Art and Design from Kingston Polytechnic, also in the UK.

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