Mark
By , Content Developer at GoodFirms

Software frames the premise of numerous cutting-edge gadgets, such as personal computers, smartphones, tablets, Internet of Things, and network systems, on which we depend on so vigorously in our regular day to day existences.

While the consumer software industry is itself a multi-billion dollar industry, B2B software have raised modern market giants of several industries. There are thousands of commercial off-the-shelf software available to cater the service needs, yet businesses usually prefer custom software development. Concurrently, software development companies around the world are geared to match the all-time high software demand; especially mobile apps for Gen Z and automation tools for changing world businesses.

About Survey

We surveyed 150+ software development companies as well as industry experts to scrutinize the industry essentials, identify the latest trends, and produce market insights. Our activity was primarily aimed for agencies as well as freelance developers to harness the knowledge of the best practices in the market. While aiding seekers of software development services with industrial factors to consider for researching a wise partner.

The survey is furnished with experiences and prospects from participant companies whose expertise over developing software draw leads for tech-trends. These companies, hailed from countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Belarus, India, Ukraine, and Russia, added the socio-economic versatility to the survey.

Following are the names of the top software development companies, listed at GoodFirms, that were adequately liberal and specific to share their knowledge in this comprehensive survey:

Software development research overview

The Detailed Findings

At a fundamental level, software development is writing and maintaining the source code. While a broader scope includes stages from idea generation to final product manifestation; which founds the current institution of software development. This rises requirements for sophisticated models and tools. While industry faces problems of its own, several methodologies have been developed with time to cause an effective and efficient software development.

The survey discovered the best of insights such as time, cost, challenges, methods, languages used, tools employed, popular frameworks, software projects in demand, popular tech-trends and development automation to update developers with the latest happenings of the market. Here is the detailed research by GoodFirms with bona fide stats:

1. What is the average time taken to develop and deliver a custom software?

Generally, typical software development activities include identification of needs, planning, designing, development, testing, and deployment. An intriguing fact emerged when the participant companies responded with a range of time-period they usually take to tailor a software. Interestingly, many companies offer a regular software maintenance and support to their clients for a long time.

Depending on the type, requirement, and technology used for the project, each project takes a range of time period from one to nine months.Whereas most of the surveyed firms are attuned to deliver custom software in an average time period of 4.5 months. Below are the unique facts mined from the survey data:

Software development research time-taken

  • 7.70% of the developers can deliver a typical software with basic features in a time less than 2 months.
  • 38.50%, a larger chunk, of the agencies deliver a software in a time period of 2 - 4 months.
  • 61.60% of the development companies established a common average developing time period of 4 - 6 months.
  • 10.81% of the software firms deliver fine software with maintenance and support, in a time span of more than 6 months.

2. How much a typical software development cost?

The price range, from the received information, for software development projects ranged from $3000 to $120,000. Also, survey contributors retorted to the question that the general pricing for project proposal varies on key factors like base technology and integrated features along with several underlying factors such as resources engaged, quality of code, scope and duration of a project, experience, and brand recognition.

Considering vast factors affecting the pricing, the average cost of developing custom software, with basic features and offering a median utility, comes around $36000. Also, a few companies provide extended support, maintenance and even timely upgradations for some fees. The figures obtained from the companies are as following:

Software development research research-cost

  • 46.20% of the development firms proclaimed that they offer a basic software development at a price under $20,000 mark.
  • 61.60% - a majority of companies offers software projects of general utility at a price range of $20,000 to $40,000.
  • Whereas, 38.50% of the IT firms charge around $40,000 - $60,000 for a sophisticated software project.
  • Lastly, 23.10% of the participant companies cater software development at a price over $60,000.

3. What are the major challenges faced by software development companies?

Software development research major-challenges

Adjusting to the changing trends and demands of the market, clients often tend to revise the software features and requirements in wake of new ideas. 53.80% of the participant companies concurred that adapting and meeting to these changing client requirements poses the biggest challenge for the developer team. This scope creep leads to project’s feature creep, which requires a new development or a redevelopment. This delays the scheduled milestones as well as incur budget outruns.

Furthermore, around 17.70% of the respondent companies expressed that a continuous performance and load testing management is one of the major challenges faced by the development team. While continuous performance management is imperative for flawless software, the strategies and operations pose a major challenge to cope and maintain.

Every software project is unique and demands an equally unique set of tools, technology, and skills. And thus, another 13.10% of IT companies find it challenging to build a befitting team for an incoming client project. Industry leaders tend to take a considerable time period and dynamic filtrations to build a solid team, which they can proclaim for any project needs. But before that, finding and hiring right developers who comprehend the project is a test.

Some of the companies, about 8.90%, faces challenges related to perceiving client requirements. These participants relayed that sometimes clients aren’t enough sure about their requirements. Or rarely a cultural or geographical difference becomes a roadblock in comprehending certain stipulations.

Integrating different systems and technologies offers plenty of challenges for a few more, almost 6.50% of the surveyed developer companies. While businesses choose to develop a custom software as it offers flexibility in terms of integration; it remains one of the most complex tasks to integrate a wide range of business systems and technologies like accounting, CRM, website, workflow management, inventory management among many others.

4. What are the top Software Development Methodologies employed by the software companies?

Typically, if determined rationally, an apt approach to software development could enhance the software at several phases of development with limited resources and economic budget. During the brief history of software, around six decades, a few dozen development models have been realized, efficiently adapted and evolved to a successor.

Software development research methodology

The most recent innovation in the sector is, plausibly, Agile Software Development, which garners a wide implementation from 61.50% of the surveyed companies. The model typically employs increments, iterations, and evolutions. While interacting with the participants, the reasons for such conviction were clear -

  • Efficient team collaboration - to bring flexibility in engagement.
  • Regular client involvement - encouraging transparency in the development phase and evolution of solutions.
  • Suitable for adapting to changing client requirements - which poses one of the biggest challenges for developer teams.

Scrum - an Agile-adapted framework - is aimed at the enhanced association and a better client involvement. A considerable chunk of software firms, around 23.10%, uses Scrum or the adapted versions for the reasons such as:

  • Enhanced team collaborations - with daily scrum meetings and software continuous integration.
  • Viable client involvement - with scrum masters keeping them in the loop with updates and documentation.
  • Best results - providing client-satisfaction and performance optimized solutions.

The most primitive on the list - Waterfall is still considered by a few, 9.60% to be precise, project leaders. According to participant firms, they practice Waterfall for certain areas of engineering design and development as it gives a rapid progress with a linear and sequential approach.

Other 5.80% of developer companies approach the development with combinations of several well-developed methods in order to get maximum outcomes and reinforced services. These types of approach inspire the next generation of Software Development Processes.

5. Which programming languages do most developers prefer?

With changing Software demands, Programming Languages can develop, ascend to acclaim, and after that blur away over the span of a couple of years. At GoodFirms, we perceived five vogue languages of our times - Java, PHP, Python, Javascript, and C#. When enquired about the preferences, developers induced the following stats:

programming languages prefer by most developers

  • With majority of 77%, developers have audibly declared their first preference for PHP.
  • Much celebrated, 69.30% of the computer programmers still prefer frameworks written in high-level JavaScript.
  • 53.90%, considerably favored, of the developers asserted that C# is being employed for software development.
  • With the limited demand, just 41.30% of developers employ Java for certain software projects.
  • While 35.70% of the agencies still prefer to use the oldest programming languages on the list - Python.
  • Moreover, 11.40% of the developers use other languages.

With a little over three-quarter percentile, PHP - a general-purpose server-side scripting language - helms the majority of the software development projects. Top PHP development companies connects this popularity with versatile applications of the language. While JavaScript is employed by top JavaScript developers for the preference of a high level, dynamic, and interpreted programming language.

Comprehending the surging preferences of these two web-scripting languages for software development, GoodFirms research infers the trending current of software-online integration.

While traditional neat languages, like C#, Java, and Python, are still widely used for software and mobile app development, their utility have waned gradually. The reasonable argument is that the trendy technologies entail much more than just a desktop application.

6. What are the most widely used programming and testing tools?

Various development tools offer support and supplementary functionality, of variable scope and scale, to the programming languages. Choosing a software development tool is analogous to choosing a hardware tool; one has to be considerate of flexibility as well as constraints of the project.

When surveyed, the developers revealed a range of various tools they engage in a typical software development. With availability and popularity of multitudinous tools, we scrutinized every tool and labeled them as, either Programming Tool or Testing Tool. The stats are as below:

Widely used programming and testing tools

  • About 46.20% of the participant developers utilize Microsoft’s Visual Studio for their projects.
  • While 38.50%  of the programmers code and assemble software on Sublime Text.
  • About 23.10% of the participants state that they employ GitHub for web-hosting software development.
  • More of 15.40% of developers employs WebStorm and about 7.70% of them develop on Ruby by Rails.
  • While these are just five of the total thirteen tools mentioned by participants out of an ocean of available tools online, here are some of the honorary mentions (Other 69.30% of them): NodeJS, Bitbucket, Jenkins, NetBeans, PhpStorm, Postman, and Docker among a few thousand others.

The huge popularity of tools such as Visual Studio, Sublime Text, WebStorm and Ruby by Rails implies developers’ tendency to practice an Integrated Development Environment rather than a variety of discrete tools.

Widely used testing tools

  • Popularly, Selenium - a software-testing framework - is employed by a majority i.e 38.50% of the testers given the generic adaptability and flexibility of the tool.
  • Apache JMeter is popular among 30.80% of the participant for load and performance testing.
  • Also, Agile Load is employed by 23.10% of the surveyed firms for optimizing and automating the testing process.
  • Each of Redmine and Appium engages 15.40% chunk of programmers for testing practices.
  • With honorary mentions (Others; Which combine 46.2% of developers) of Jira, TestLink, Nmap, IronWASP, BrowserStack, and Gatling, there are hundreds of testing tools available in the market.

At various stages and platforms, developers have implied the importance of an automated as well as continuous performance testing. This is reflected with the current popularity of tools like Selenium, Agile Load and Appium.

7. Top Popular Frameworks:

Frameworks are aimed at the one-size-fits-all solution for developers; so that programmers and designers can focus their time and efforts to fulfill client software requirements instead of developing the basic and tedious working frame for the software. For GoodFirms’ software development research, we discoursed with the participant firms regarding the comprehensive usefulness and adaptive convenience of some of the most common software frameworks viz. .NET, CakePHP, Ruby on Rails, CodeIgniter, Laravel, and Django. When queried about the utility and general suitability, two out of mentioned seven frameworks emerged the most popular, employed by more than half of the survey takers. Following are the stats:

Top Popular Frameworks

  • Laravel has been declared as the most popular by the developers with a staggering approval of 61.60%.
  • Coming a long way, .Net has a rich history plus a current popularity of 53.90% among designers and programmers.
  • Among the top runner-up frameworks are Ruby on Rails (30.80%) and CodeIgniter (23.10%).
  • While frameworks like CakePHP (15.40%), Django (9.50%), and React (7.40%) are also employed by the developers.

MIT licensed Laravel is one of the most articulated frameworks and even have dedicated Laravel development companies for ease of developing software. One of the most modern frameworks, it employs the best practices of latest PHP and comes handy to developers for building any kind of web applications.

While .Net has been the oldest and has multiplied its applicability with growing variety of digital products like cutting-edge software, mobile applications, websites, and E-commerce among dozen others. According to top .Net developers, this versatility and discreet revamping have been the main reasons for its sustained popularity for years.

8. Generally, what kind of software projects do IT companies receive?

According to a certain theory of the expansion of the software industry, computer programming would, very sooner, dominate each industry and every sector and at the same time would create many more. Every year many existing technologies and services are digitized while substantial are enhanced and created with generic as well as dedicated software. To comprehend the present demands of the market, participants were asked to exhibit the kinds of software projects they receive from clients. Fathoming the utility of these projects, the hot software categories are:

Software development research in-demand-software

  • With 84.70%, a huge mass of the surveyed companies from software industry develops Enterprise Applications for the clients. This includes a vast range of software tools fulfilling dozen corporate needs from personal tasking and team management to project management and IT services management.
  • Considering the craze of these proven tools, 53.90% of the participant agencies receive software projects for business process automation. According to developers, clients ask for ranging software from Stock Management Software to Computerized Maintenance Management System.
  • Around 38.50% of the developers produce back-end software and front-end web/app for E-Commerce owners, which include setting up an online store and developing supplementary software like inventory management, shipping, order management, etc.
  • With every industry mogul going behind data, 30.80% of the software developers implied that they receive projects for Big Data and analysis.
  • About 15.40% of agencies stated that they provide Customer Relationship Management software of several designs like chatbots, marketing automation tools, content management system, etc.
  • Digitization comes naturally to the education sector; around 7.70% users help their clients in building, managing, and maintaining educational software.

9. Top Trends for Software Industry in 2018:

Being a tech-driven industry, the software development has always been the centre of technology trends. Built for computer programming, it quickly adapted to website development for dot-com companies and mobile app development with advent of smartphones and gadgets. With new technologies at the bay, software industry is set to adapt once again.

When participant agencies were surveyed, the following trends for software industry in 2018 were jotted down:

Top Trends for Software Industry in 2018

  • A majority of industry, about 69.20%, recognised that their client software demands are AI powered. Majority of artificial intelligence developers engages in development of business automation tools, chatbots, smart assistants and machine learning techniques.
  • Around 56% of the service providers concurred with the promising future of Blockchain Technology. Promoters of top blockchain development companies have demonstrated prototypes for the future socio-economic institutes; this would include a more transparent system and a smoother functioning.
  • Yet another 47% of industry chiefs staks their focus on Internet of Things. Assimilating day to day life of humans, gadgets are embodied to become smart assistants which keeps IoT app development companies on edge to upgrade and enhance user experience.
  • Runner Ups include Big Data (31%), Cloud Computing (28.70%), AR/VR (26.50%) and Cyber Security (24%) with several others.

10. How will AI impact Software Development?

Artificial Intelligence has a great role to play for software industry - accorded every three out of four surveyed experts. But how? A billion dollar question, when asked to industry experts garnered mixed replies. Breaking down experts’ vision for the sector, AI would be having an impact on largely two fronts: External & Internal - as they have put in variable semantic arrays. Externally, the efforts would be to make AI-powered software focusing more on applicability. While internally, the tedious coding efforts would be eased with the help of AI-assistance focusing on utility. Encompassing all the views, here are the two ways Software Development is going to change -

AI Software:

The AI-powered software is hot in the market. With an increasing need for automation, artificial intelligence provides a far more reliable solution. With innovative applications and blooming ideas, artificial intelligence developers offers a range of research for software industry to cater a greater good service.

Business Intelligence assists businesses for decision-making while Business Process Automation enables self-executing business processes. Overall it enhances customer experience with quality and quantity. Here, developers use AI to serve better functionality and create more responsive applications for users. Here is a range of artificial intelligence software available in the market which offers a state-of-the-art machine learning facility for everyone to aid their efforts.

Such demands would have a market-oriented impact on the software development. Flexible development approaches, programming languages which are versatile and adaptive, apt developing tools, and highly skilled resources would hike up the basis of the development.

AI making Software:

AI is revolutionizing all industry functions and Software Development has not remained untouched either. With AI-assisted software development, the roles and skill-requirement for developers would change for a greater empowerment over the processes and the products.

One of the most gasping roles of AI is for problem-solving. Traditional software development consumes great time and resources employed at figuring out problems, and then shrewd algorithms. With machine learning, one just needs to identify a set of cases and enter a collected range of data to the automation modules. Such modules could swiftly reckon important criteria and attributes of software, with dependency much valuable than even humans.

Deep learning techniques would not only quicken the development methodologies but also assist developers at several stages of development and testing. Smart programming assistants are aimed at helping developers with real-time software coding and planning - equipped with a range of functions from to-do listing to code troubleshooting. While automated testing software would ease the difficulty of undetermined ecosystems to spot and rectify bugs and other issues.

Also, many firms dreaded that an advent of self-writing software would be catastrophic for the industry. While visionary firms see it as an opportunity to automate supplementary and tedious software prerequisites so that developers can focus on innovation and utility on the application front.

Conclusion

Custom software remains popular among businesses with large operations, as it provides flexible, integrated, and adaptive solutions. While a typical software development costs time and resources, it pays off on a long run with smooth and evolving business undertaking. Also, most of the companies provide support and upgrades for a much lesser price for a very long time.

An apropos method commands the intricate tasks of software development which ensures a timely, cost-effective as well as overwhelming software delivery. With this, plying felicitous programming techniques and tools directly affects the quality of software.

Given the greater-good impact AI is bringing to the software development industry, it is exciting to see what the industry is going to evolve to, which it is sure to.

One of the main aim of the above research was to provide service seekers with key industrial factors for their software development projects. Setting several occupational standards for the IT sector, GoodFirms is here to assist you with a list of Top Software Development Companies who maintains high working standards with proven portfolios.

GoodFirms