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  • Writer's pictureSlashData Team

From Code To Consumer Magic - The Software Developers Behind Our Everyday Electronic Devices

In this post, taken out of SlashData’s public report “The State of the Developer Nation”, we dive into the world of consumer electronics and explore the profiles of developers who target different types of applications in this space. We focus on comparing their experience levels and their involvement across other sectors.

What developers are working on 

Today, the number of Internet of Things (IoT) connections (15B in 2023) outnumbers humans and is forecasted to nearly double by 2030. A subset of this space, consumer electronics

(CE), is focused on devices that are targeted towards consumers and often individual use. Examples of CE devices range from home security devices such as digital door locks to cameras and fitness trackers.

4.4M Developers are involved in Consumer Electronics projects

As of Q3 2023, we estimate that there are 4.4M developers who work on CE projects, making up 11% of the total developer population. In our latest Developer Nation survey, we asked developers who are involved in this space about the CE categories that they are targeting with their applications. In first place, 28% report that they are working on software for security and access products such as door locks and CCTV systems. This is closely followed by communication devices (26%), network equipment (26%), energy appliances (25%), and entertainment systems (23%). These categories stand out far above the rest, with the next most popular category – home appliances – being targeted by 18% of the developers in the CE space.

The many similarities and differences between the top CE categories are reflected in the profiles of the developers who target them with their applications. One of the most interesting aspects to consider is how experience in software development impacts the projects that these developers take on.

Developers’ experience

We find that those who target energy appliances have the highest level of experience in CE projects*. More specifically, these developers have an average of 3.9 years of experience

in this space, which is significantly higher than that of their counterparts who are not involved in energy appliances (3.1 years). This indicates that the specific challenges encountered in this category are more likely to require specialised knowledge of the CE space than across other categories. Having experience with other CE devices can be highly beneficial for development, as energy appliances need to integrate with other household systems and the energy grid. The projects that the developers who are targeting this category are much more likely than average to be smart (59% vs 43%) and have an app (49% vs 35%).

Developers who target security and access products are highly experienced in general software development.

Interestingly, developers who target security and access products have significantly more experience in software development (4.9 years) than in CE (3.4 years). This corresponds to the most significant gap between experience levels in these two groups. It indicates that working on security and access products is more likely than average to require experience in other development areas beyond CE.

With above-average experience in software development, CE developers are involved in other areas of software development. The largest overlap comes from those involved

in the industrial IoT (IIoT) development sector (43%). In particular, 56% of those involved in energy appliances also work on IIoT projects and are the most likely to do so. Using this as an example, a household energy management device only needs to manage the energy usage of one household, while an equivalent IIoT system may need to consider an

entire manufacturing plant. While there are differences in scale, these two systems share the essence of what they are designed to do. This showcases the close relationship between these two sectors in the broader IoT ecosystem.

Security and access

On closer inspection of the overlap with IIoT, we see that only 28% of those who work on software targeted at entertainment systems are involved in IIoT projects. This is significantly below that of any other target category in the CE space. Instead, they are the most likely to develop games (36%) and have an above-average representation in the mobile sector (40%). Similar to the case of energy appliances and IIoT, there is a natural overlap between devices aimed at entertainment systems and these two sectors. For example, developers who develop software for smart speakers may also work on accompanying mobile applications.

Developers leverage data science to enhance security and access products.

Another interesting example can be seen among developers who target security and access products. We find that 32% of them are also involved in data science, which is significantly above average across the other categories (20%). This suggests that data from security devices is analysed in detail to improve the functionality of security and access products. For instance, advanced analytics can be used to detect suspicious access patterns in digital door locks and alert both users and authorities of potential intruders.

* We measure this by comparing the median number of years that the developers within each category have worked on software projects. Medians are estimated from grouped frequency data.

This article is part of the developer insights offered in the State of the Developer Nation 25th Edition. You can access the full report which covers:

1. Language communities - An update

2. Creating A Sense Of Community - How Developers Interact And Engage With Their Peers

3. How Generative Ai Will Affect Developers' Work

4. Web3 Unveiled - Exploring The Diverse Landscape Of Web3 Development Projects

5. From Code To Consumer Magic - The Software Developers Behind Our Everyday Electronic Devices

6. What Are People Building In AR/VR?

Want to dive deeper into developer data on consumer electronics, IoT or Industrial IoT? Let’s talk

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