Brave Developers: New Skills key for Success in an Expanding UK App Economy

“Coding – the new Latin”

reads the headline of a recent BBC campaign to encourage a greater focus on skills in software development starting at school and right the way through to university. A major goal of this campaign is to boost the potential of the UK as a global hub for video games and special effects industries.

New research released by our UK Developer and Platform Group today shows how coding is only one side of the dilemma facing the wider UK applications and software development sector. On the plus side, those with development skills are very much needed: 78% of developers in this survey have found demand for their skills has grown massively in the past few years.

The areas in which their skills are needed have become increasingly widespread and diverse. Demand for applications and software in the traditional desktop computing market remains strong at 79%, but 73% of developers are also working across web, and 49% in mobile environments. The diversity of these environments probably explains why 86% of developers report that the skills needed to build software and apps today is massively different from five to 10 years ago.

Unfortunately, for those aspiring to build a web or app business, the opportunity for success might not be so attractive. The responses suggest that only half of new applications and software today actually deliver a reasonable Return on Investment (ROI).

According to Philip Oliver from Made in Creative UK, an organisation that champions the UK applications and software sector, urgent action is needed to address challenges such as these. “Creating apps is a massive global business opportunity. Here in the UK, we have a great position, but complacency will quickly see others around the world take these opportunities from us.”

More broadly, the research reveals that there are significant opportunities but equally big challenges that need to be overcome. In the face of such uncertainty, ‘Brave Developers’ are forging a path ahead and see significant possibilities for growth and prosperity. In fact, ‘Brave Development’ encapsulates the past two decades of expansion in the developer workforce, which has brought significant value to the UK economy in terms of skills, jobs and a thriving startup sector.

In support of ‘Brave Development’ we recently announced two key initiatives for UK developers and start-ups including:

  • The Microsoft Ventures Accelerator: This 12 week programme is designed to help high-potential startups grow their business through a combination of 1:1 mentoring, technical assistance and access to resources designed for startups striving to break new ground in cloud, internet, mobile or gaming.
  • Greenshoots: A programme jointly developed by Microsoft and Creative England, to support early stage startup game studios with bringing new and exciting game titles to the Windows platforms.

Members of my team will also be at the Apps World show in Earls Court this week (22 to 23rd October) providing talks and presentations on how developers can improve their chances for success in the UK App Economy.

More information can be found at: or follow us on Twitter: @Apps_World

The World of UK Developers
The World of UK Developers

October 21, 2013