Productivity Gains in Software Engineering

Posted on June 29, 2009  Comments (2)

Great post: Productivity gains in software engineering are powering innovation

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, today’s business industry workers are on average 30% more productive than their 1998 counterparts (productivity growth of roughly 2.6% per year).

The most dramatic gains, however, have occurred within software development.

Software engineers today are about 200-400% more productive than software engineers were 10 years ago because of open source software, better programming tools, common libraries, easier access to information, better education, and other factors. This means that one engineer today can do what 3-5 people did in 1999!

In my 15 years of software development, I’ve seen 5x-10x productivity gains in engineers. Which could mean that the productivity of a well-trained engineer doubles every five years. (note that this Law is much harder to prove than Moore’s Law – but potentially just as profound). That would mean that the productivity of an engineer is growing at roughly 14.9% per year! That’s fast … really fast … much faster than the 2.6% yearly gains the population as a whole is making.

What do you think? I definitely see a huge improvement of productivity in web application software development myself.

Related: 10x Productivity Difference in Software DevelopmentIs Productivity Growth BadThe Software Developer Labor MarketMyths of Manufacturing Productivity

2 Responses to “Productivity Gains in Software Engineering”

  1. Encino
    July 1st, 2009 @ 2:07 am

    Increases in productivity have been astounding. There is still much to come too, in my opinion, because the tools and development environments are always getting better. How much longer will we even need keyboards? voice recognition should not be too far away and then we won’t even have to remember exact syntax.

  2. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Controlled Experiments for Software Solutions
    August 17th, 2009 @ 9:19 pm

    […] Statistics for Experimenters – articles on design of experiments – Designed Experiments – Productivity Gains in Software Engineering by guestpost   Tags: Research, Students, Technology, quote   Permalink to: […]

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