The Top Challenge for Developers is...


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Most developers will tell you that they have more work than they can get done. They will tell you they lack the information they need. They will tell you they have users that challenge them in many ways. The list of challenges a developer faces can get very long. We created a list of some of the top challenges and asked, “What is your top challenge as a developer?”

We got over 3,000 responses. Of those, 393 stated that they were not a developer. That still left over 2,600 responses that were from developers. The choices were:

  • Supporting multiple platforms
  • Old Tools
  • Unrealistic time lines
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Lack of clear direction
  • Poor testing/QA
  • Scope Creep
  • Lack of training
  • Missing requirements
  • Poor architecture

From these ten choices, there was a clear winner; however, none of the choices ran away with the results. Simply put, different developers face different top challenges. The results from lowest to greatest were:

Top Dev Challenges

As you can see, lack of knowledge ranked number one with one out of five votes. If you add to this lack of training, then you jump to a third of the developers in total. Ranking second was lack of clear direction at 13%. Combine that with scope creep and missing requirements and you are above 29% of the responses that seemed tied to lack of information around the project definition.

What is also interesting form the survey are some of the comments that were provided. Numerous people who stated that it was all of the items on the list, not just one! Some of the other valid comments that we will consider adding the next time we do this survey include:

  • Micro-management
  • Poorly designed legacy code
  • Lack of motivation / procrastination
  • Not enough potatoes at hand
  • Poor practical examples
  • Lack of Documentation
  • Nothing

Only one person actually commented about potatoes, and I’m not sure who that is a developer challenge. The others, however, we stated by several people.

Did you agree with the top challenge? Are there other challenges you think should have been included in the list? Comment and tell us what you think!

The Data:


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  • nobody knows my sorrow

    Posted by Aaron Stanley King on 07/01/2015 10:06am

    It seems like a lot of development teams today are so close to the bleeding edge and have such short release cycles that documentation and training are secondary. If budget could be given to let the architecture be written down and finalized, time could be saved by developers unsure of how to code. If training could be given to developers instead of making them learn Angular the night before they release code, then the code would pass review. It seems not that there are too many things going on to keep a developer happy, we like too many. Its that those things are moving targets and come into view so gas to surprise us. IMHO

  • The Top Challenge for Developers is...

    Posted by Mohit Jain on 05/05/2015 08:23am

    Lack of training and sometimes the poor documentation also impacts the performance of developer.

  • Lack of Knowledge -- Reverse engineering financial applications

    Posted by Pf on 04/26/2015 07:28am

    One common cause of problem is to estimate effort/lead time fixing or inheriting legacy enterprise applications. Especially financial applications, and in today's Agile environment many applications are poorly documented, I think they use the word *Tactical* - when teams are asked to develop something quickly and deliver apparent business values ASAP. Last year we found ourselves in the unfortunate position to migrate a data warehouse - problem very similar to what's described here in article by Gridwizard (SQL profiling with a little IQ, automatic data flow tracing). Basically most of it in SQL layer. Unforunately, we didn't have better tool/methodology at the time when we need to deal with it. https://gridwizard.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/reverse-engineering-data-flow-in-a-data-platform-with-thousands-of-tables

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