International Data Corporation (IDC) announced the results of a really interesting research project recently, where it has surveyed 2,500 developers around the globe. The IDC team commenting on the report saying that:

“Developers are increasingly regarded as visionaries and architects of digital transformation as opposed to executors of a pre-defined plan delivered by centralized IT leadership.”

Developers Wield Enormous Influence in the Age of Kubernetes, Containers, and Cloud, According to a New IDC Study

Some of the stats include:

  • developers’ familiarity with technologies like containers and microservices
  • developers increasingly want to use open source tools


A Fascinating Development

Matt Ingenthron, Senior Director of Engineering at Couchbase is responsible for the team that drives all of our server-side SDK engineering as well as the award-winning Autonomous Operator.  He responds to the IDC article:

“We’ve been seeing developers’ roles changing and increasing over the years, driving digital transformation and many of its underlying dependencies like containers, orchestration and even NoSQL databases.  Technology selection is critical to the success of many digital transformation projects, and often developers are setting that direction. They adopt tech designed to support their agile development needs with DevOps patterns in mind.  In fact, when we recently asked the leaders of digital transformation what the roadblocks to new projects were, the chief reason was that it was too complex to adopt new technologies. We have seen great success when the right people select technology ready for contemporary, continuous development and deployment.”

Huw Owen, Head of EMEA & APJ at Couchbase also remarks:

“We’ve been seeing the role of the developer changing immeasurably over the years, and it’s great to see this being recognized in this latest IDC study. Developers are at the front end of driving innovation at some of the most digitally advanced organizations today, like Sky, BT, and Doddle, who have executed successful digital transformation projects from the ground up within the last two years. We run events for our customers, where hundreds of developers are turning up to learn the latest technologies and use-cases that will ultimately change the business trajectory of their companies. We see this every day, and IDC’s report is fantastic validation.”

From my perspective this is a fascinating development. We just witnessed an engineering leader and a sales leader speaking in agreement (joking, of course…but not totally).  The same reality is being clearly perceived across our organization.  


Reason 1 – “Digital Concrete”

The first reason we are witnessing the rising tide of developer influence is because today’s digital transformers really are in a challenging phase of evolution, largely because of:

  1. Aging technologies in production and their internal limitations, AND
  2. The aggregate of their iterative integrations.

These 2 things have resulted in the prevailing ‘digital concrete’ effect – exorbitant costs associated with even the most minor end-user feature enhancements due to the inherent cascade effects through aging and inflexible technologies.


Reason 2 – Developers Drive Containers

Second, it is developers who are equipped to re-think existing digital approaches against current and upcoming technical paradigms (the cloud, for example).  Just as automobiles do not run on natively on railroads, micro-service applications do not run natively on bare-metal but in Containers.  

  • Containers are driven by code.  
  • Developers write code.  
  • Developers are employed by prospective customers to facilitate digital transformation.  

As a result, it’s pretty straightforward to me why Matt and Huw are both expressing a mutual observation, each in terms of their respective positions.

“…if IT decision makers aren’t making the decisions any longer, who is calling the shots?  The answer is developers. Developers are the most-important constituency in technology.” – Stephen O’Grady, “The New Kingmakers


Driving More Developer Alignment

IDC report is clear validation that Couchbase is not alone with the particular need to maximize developer alignment.  But, what is ‘developer alignment’ really?  Developer Advocacy and Developer Evangelism are not yet universally well-understood disciplines. Ask anyone what Developer Advocacy is and you will most likely get a different answer.  It largely depends on who you work for, what technology you represent, and your organization’s symbiotic alignment with developers and their ecosystem.  I’ve been working on my answer to this question relative to Couchbase since I took the Director of Developer Advocacy role 14 months ago…but that is a subject for another time.

So, I’m eager to see how we adjust to meet the rising tide of developer influence.  I’m enthusiastic about fostering more symbiosis between Couchbase and our ecosystem developers.  If you would like to share a thought we would love to hear it. Please feel free to:

  • comment here
  • message me directly @bl_bryant on Twitter
  • Post an issue on the Couchbase forums

I will also mention that, in line with the recently-launched Couchbase Server 6.5, we have enabled self-registration on our problem tracking system.  This means that any developer has the ability to begin reporting bugs directly to Couchbase engineering with zero friction.  


Come See Us!

In addition to our own very popular ‘NoSQL Summits’, our team is going to be present at a number of events this fall, including several sponsored trade show expos and speaking slots:

  • International Conference on Very Large Databases, Los Angeles
  • All Things Open, Raleigh, NC
  • Oracle OpenWorld, San Francisco
  • Mobile World Congress, Los Angeles
  • QCon, San Francisco
  • Kubecon North America, San Diego


Posted by Benjamin Bryant, Director of Developer Advocacy, Couchbase

Benjamin is the Director of Developer Advocacy at Couchbase. Benjamin and his team attract and inspire developers to embrace the Couchbase ecosystem, expand our collective technical influence globally, and bring more mind-share to bear on our solutions. He has a broad technical background of over 22 years, including over 10 years experience in distributed object storage, SQL databases, and performance architecture and engineering in software, hardware, and networking. He has been with Couchbase since March, 2014 and working with customers on SQL++ for JSON (N1QL) since 2015.

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