Friday, January 5, 2007

Where have all the programmers gone?

At the start of 2007, I thought I'd take a moment to look at Google statistics in Google Trends to review the search patterns for the term Java over the past year. There was concern at the beginning of 2006 that we were witnessing the end of the Java era. Based on the year-end graphs, it's not looking good for Java -- the pattern is showing a dramatic drop in early 2006 that has never recovered.

So where are all the Java programmers going? Maybe everybody is discovering the language/framework Ruby on Rails? According to the graph...Ruby is not picking up a lot of programmers (although Ruby is holding steady)

How about DotNet. Maybe Microsoft programmers are picking up all the lost Java souls? According to the, DotNet is also in decline.

And actually -- all major language are in decline...




So the question remains...where have all the programmers gone? I spent a grand total of 15 minutes trying various keywords, and the trend was universal. After much head-scratching - I think I've found them!

Here's my theory...let's start by taking a look at the location of the top 10 "java" search regions...

1. India
2. Poland
3. Singapore
4. Romania
5. Czech Republic
6. Hong Kong
7. Slovakia
8. Slovenia
9. Columbia
10. Indonesia

And for completeness, here is the list of top 10 DotNet search regions. The countries are different, but the areas of the world are similar:

1. India
2. Singapore
3. South Africa
4. Pakistan
5. Viet Nam
6. Slovenia
7. Malaysia
8. Hong Kong
9. Japan
10. Czech Republic

Are you concerned too? Not a single country with english-as-a-first-language in the top 10 Google Search Regions for the word "Java", "DotNet" or ".Net". My theory is that the programmers haven't left -- it's just that the bulk of programmers are now all overseas, and simply performing searches in their native languages. One limitation of Google Trends is that it is only for the english-language at this time.

Any evidence to support this theory? Let's take a closer look at Ruby -- what is interesting about Ruby is that it shows the least amount of decline of all the programming languages.

Top 10 regions for Ruby searches:

1. New Zealand
2. Ireland
3. Australia
4. United Kingdom
5. United States
6. Canada
7. Japan
8. Singapore
9. Philippines
10. Morocco

A large portion of the Ruby programmers are in english-speaking countries. Therefore the Google search patterns support the notion of a healthy english-speaking programming community.

Welcome to 2007 -- where it appears that English, and United States has lost its technology dominance in the eyes of the Internet world.

So where have all the programmers gone? Overseas

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