U.S. News recently released its annual list of top jobs, and in first place: software developer. It’s no surprise. Salaries average more than $90,000 and there will be more than one million software job openings by 2020, according to the Department of Labor.
Globally, the success of most businesses depends on software developers. Large or small, domestic or foreign, software enables most things we do in business today. Developers have also had an impact on our lexicon and pop culture. The creation and popularity of “hackathons,” events where many people collaborate on a software or hardware project intensively, is one example. The use of hackathons has spread to so many different industries in recent years that there are hackathons even in areas like fashion, education and fundraising. Another example is the impact of “apps” (software applications) on everyday life. Between mobile and the web, there is now an app for everything.
Finally, there’s the “cloud.” Clouds used to be just large visible masses of condensed water vapor floating in the atmosphere. Now the “cloud” is a way for everyone from large companies to individual consumers to access all sorts of software via the Internet.
The really good news for Philadelphia is that we have a strong developer community, though it is underrated. As a result, in 2006 we at Chariot Solutions created the Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise conference (ETE), hosted each spring in Philadelphia. The success of this conference is confirmation of the strength of the development community here. Since 2006, thousands of technologists — not just locally, but even worldwide — have attended ETE. (Mayor Nutter has shown his support before)
More than 500 of them will descend on the Society Hill Sheraton this month for the 9th anniversary of the conference. The speakers represent companies heralded for innovation: HBO, Netflix, Twitter, Rent The Runway, Gilt and Code for America. They will talk about the technologies, open source projects and techniques that run their enterprises and about trends of importance to developers in the future.
This year, appreciation for the importance of emerging technology, open source software, and developers will not be confined to conference rooms. The City and Mayor Michael Nutter will proclaim April 22, 2014 Day of the Developer in Philadelphia in appreciation for what the community contributes to our economy and society. It will also kick off The Year of the Developer, which is a continuous year-long celebration.
Throughout ‘The Year of the Developer,’ we are encouraging all corporations, small businesses, nonprofits, government entities and schools in the Philadelphia region to support people who create the technology that most of us use every day. Here are some ways you can participate: donate your time or money to an organization that trains software developers, talk to a young person about it as a viable career path, mentor a developer looking to advance in your business or attend one of the many events around Philadelphia that bring together these talented knowledge workers.
It takes great technologists to build our economy, but it takes willing leaders in business, politics and education to grow, support and nurture them. We know we have a strong and vibrant developer community in Philadelphia. It is time to let the rest of the world know, too.