How many developers out there are freelancers, as opposed to affiliated with a particular company? According to a global survey of developers (PDF) conducted by research firm IDC, and commissioned by the Application Developers Alliance, roughly a third of those who build software fall into this particular category.
Specifically, some 19 percent of respondents said they were unaffiliated with any particular organization, although they earned money freelancing for companies; another 12 percent were not only free agents, but spent their time working on their own ideas.
That sizable percentage of unaffiliated developers “would have been unlikely even 5 years ago,” the report added. “We believe that mobile devices and the app economy are important factors contributing to this growth, though the rise of gaming, and the higher level of freelancing in the economy in general are also contributing factors.”
Of those developers who work for organizations, some 24 percent reported having between 100-999 employees at their company; another 21 percent said they worked alongside 1,000-4,9999 people, while 12 percent worked with 5,000-49,000 people. A full 9 percent reported working for organizations with 50,000 or more employees.
Despite a large number of developers working for giant companies, however, more than a third reported working in small teams of 5 or fewer developers, while 26 percent said they were the sole developer on most projects. Only 15 percent said they worked on teams of more than 16 developers.
It’s always been said that developers are independent-minded. This newest data seems to back that fact up.