At the recent Motorola Enterprise Appforum 2014, now owned by Zebra technologies, the usual sea of middle-aged men in suits was interspersed with many younger faces.
It’s no secret that when someone says “software developer” people, sometimes incorrectly, picture a particular type of person, much the same as if someone says “beautician” or “accountant”.
But the surge of BYOD and use of mobile devices inside and outside of the enterprise has meant that software development isn’t all about business systems – it can include mobile, tablet and other device applications, as well as user-facing and externally-facing software.
These changes mean the traditional ‘dev’ label is growing to include a younger audience of entrepreneurs as well as older experience coders.
According to James Pemberton, EMEA ISV & developer programs from Zebra, the team has been making an effort to draw in a more diverse range of developers by targeting events such as Droidcon and Appsworld for Enteprise.
Pemberton points out that as development moves away from Windows into Android, and as consumer and enterprise technologies merge, the developer ecosystem has grown.
“People coming into our space are not from a mobile or .net background.” Pemberton says.
“Take that to one step further, with the internet of things and zebra combination, suddenly our market for developer programmes, developer engagement is expanding hugely.”
Pemberton’s job is to draw new and old crowds of developer’s into the ecosystem to take advantage of the wide ranges of skills out there.
“In the last year or so we’ve had a new influx of developers joining who are coming from the kind of web based android background, so probably of the ones who joined most recently, you could say 90-100% of those are from that new world rather than the old world,” Pemberton explains.
“It’s basically incremental growth.”
But there were still few women in the crowd. A recent survey by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) found the proportion of female engineers across all industries stands at just six percent, a figure that has not increased since 2008.
Pemberton explains that Zebra had been working with Google developer groups to connect with women in the industry, and has so far seen positive feedback.
Even though it’s only a few 20-somethings in t-shirts at a developer’s convention, it still provides hope that with a different attitude, things can and will change.