#AskaDev: Why They See Their Influence Growing

We ask developers why they've come to command the driver's seat for tool and solution purchases.

Data shows that roughly 38% of developers directly approve or authorize tool and technology expenditures while another 37% are responsible for identifying tech and tools (Evans Data Corp.). Clearly, the era of the business making all tech selections is over. How do developers view this development? We asked them.

The agile approach to development has trickled down to the way tools and technology are selected says John Vester, senior architect and practice lead for CleanSlate Technology Group. He added, “Since developers are typically housed with QA and product owners, they are part of the high-level view from IT, which may result in them being more influential in buying decisions.’’

For Frank Eaves, who works for us here at Devada, developers are a key resource as more products and services involve increasingly complex technology. “There are very few products that I interact with daily that don’t have some form of technology in them. With the Internet of Things coming on fast, this is only going to accelerate.

“Developers and their insight into technology and how to use it, are becoming more and more involved in how a company is run and how it spends money. As technology has become more and more of a business focus, it is only logical that when a company spends its money, those decisions will be influenced by developers.’’

The Role of Open Source and Free-to-Trial Kits

Jo Stichbury has written on the topic and believes open source is a critical driver in developers having more authority. She’s also a former C/C++ developer and the current leader of DZone’s Performance and AI zones.

We’ll let her explain.

“Developers are involved in technology selection because of the increasing availability of open source code and free-to-trial software development kits and platforms. Developers can choose what to use without having to go through their procurement team for budget. This gives them control of the process by which software enters their organization, even if the adoption ultimately has cost implications.

“You can see this with cloud providers. A development team may select and adopt a free trial of a cloud platform during the development and testing phases. The team lead can instantly license, provision, and use tools that previously would have required evaluation and authorization. Delays and paperwork are avoided, and the team can swiftly get on with experimentation and innovation. When they later need to scale up to production, the costs kick in, but because they’ve committed the time and built a dependency around the platform, it’s unlikely that any ‘bean counter’ will ask them to reverse the decision and use something else.

“I also think there’s much more emphasis on a product’s reputation since it’s so easy to disseminate information online. If you need a tool, as a software developer, you’ll research the area by reading blog posts, checking out webinars and visiting the websites and developer communities of likely candidates. Developers value the opinions of others like them and will look at feedback on a product before committing. If people are still struggling with the same issues they were experiencing a couple of years back, it sends a message: The company isn’t listening. I’ll go elsewhere.”

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