There was good news and bad news on the jobs front for software developers in 2015.
The good news: The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the number of software developer jobs had increased by 132,000 in 2014, to 1.235 million. And compensation seemed to be on the rise as well. The bonuses that employers pay to the developers they want to keep increased by a total of 9% in 2013 and 2014, according to Foote Partners, an IT labor research firm. That's about double the rate of increase in bonuses for all IT skills.
The bad news: That rising tide isn't lifting the boats of all application programmers. A survey by IT research firm Computer Economics found that programmers made up just under 20% of enterprise IT staffs this year, compared to just over 22% in 2012. That's not a big decline, but it reverses what was once an upward course.
The downturn could be due in part to the fact that IT shops have less of a need for programmers as they drop in-house systems in favor of software-as-a-service offerings, said John Longwell, vice president of research at Computer Economics.
However, while the number of programming jobs may be declining in enterprise IT shops, there might be new opportunities at providers of hosted services, many of them startups. But it may not be easy to move from an enterprise IT department to a vendor, especially one that's likely to be a startup -- though as the cartoon in the June issue of our digital magazine suggested, employers that are making the move to SaaS might try to put a different kind of spin on the situation.