Is Microsoft’s .NET Ecosystem on the Decline?

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 1.17.47 PM

Fifteen years ago, Microsoft created C# as part of its .NET initiative. It’s built into Visual Studio, the company’s Integrated Development Environment (IDE), and used to develop programs for Windows (in addition to a host of websites and applications). Its popularity is unquestionable—but is that popularity starting to wane?

In a posting that recently attracted some buzz online, .NET developer Justin Angel argued that the .NET ecosystem is headed for collapse—and that could take interest in C# along with it. “The Microsoft developer ecosystem is experiencing plummeting employment opportunities and declining community interest,” he wrote. “Sure, you’ll always be able to find a job working in C# (like you would with COBOL), but you’ll miss out on customer reach and risk falling behind the technology curve.”

Angel claims he pulled data from that shows job trends for C# on the decline. Data from the TIOBE developer interest index mirrors that trend, he said, with “C# developer interest down approximately 60% down back to 2006-2008 levels.”

Based on that data and the suggested downward trend, Angel concludes that the reach of Microsoft’s developer ecosystem has eroded “due to the rise of non-Microsoft Web frameworks and mobile platforms” such as iOS and Android. Microsoft’s own habit of rolling out new technologies, he added, has also cooled developer interest in those platforms—anybody who invested massive amounts of time in learning Silverlight, for example, probably grew frustrated when Microsoft largely abandoned that framework in favor of Universal apps.

Angel being a former program manager for Silverlight just makes the posting more interesting—this is clearly someone who believed enough in Microsoft’s ecosystem and strategy to work for the company. Now he’s learning Java and poring through the Android source code.

But is C# really on the decline?

Not at the moment: According to Dice’s data, the popularity of C# has risen over the past several years; it ranks No. 26 on Dice’s ranking of most-searched terms. Meanwhile, “.NET” ranks No. 7 among most-searched terms on Dice, followed by “.NET developer” at No. 10 (searches without a location filter).

As Angel stated in his posting, C# and the .NET ecosystem aren’t going anywhere soon: Despite Microsoft’s weak position in mobile, Windows continues to dominate the traditional PC arena. And certainly employers still seem very interested in hiring people with the right combination of skills for that ecosystem. But any signs of long-term instability are worth keeping an eye on.

6 Responses to “Is Microsoft’s .NET Ecosystem on the Decline?”

  1. Bayer White

    Not arguing with the stats because they might be correct as I have not seen them, however you can take almost any stats and make them what you want. This might just show there clearly there are other technologies that are now available for doing development, but I would not go as far to say that companies are ditching Microsoft.NET. In my region, .NET is still sexy and as long as you have the skills, you will have multiple job offers.

  2. unaligned

    Seems to me MS is trying to address this by out-sourcing the .Net core, and opening both it and VS up to be run on any OS.

    Seems they’re realizing people have gotten sick of paying ridiculous licensing fees to build and run applications.

  3. Doesn’t the next version of .net run on win, OS X, iOS, Android, and Linux? How can you make predictions when so much is about to change this year?


  4. “Angel being a former program manager for Silverlight”… “anybody who invested massive amounts of time in learning Silverlight, for example, probably grew frustrated when Microsoft largely abandoned that framework in favor of Universal apps”

    — is this guy a troll ? If he really is a Silverlight PM, then he would know that Silverlight skills (XAML,.Net) translate directly to “Universal Apps”.