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How many programmers are there in the world?

by Breck Yunits

May 29, 2019 โ€” There are around 7.574 billion people in the world. How many of them are programmers?

The answer, of course, depends on how you define "programmer". But before I define "programmer" and share my estimates, let's look at what some other sources say.

What do other people say?

GitHub - 36 million developer accounts

As of May 2019 GitHub had 36 million developer accounts. Now, some of these are inactive, some are duplicates, and some are owned by people who signed up for GitHub but aren't programmers. I myself have at least 2 GitHub accounts. Some programmers aren't on GitHub--though I'm finding that to be increasingly rare.

If we guess that 30% of GitHub accounts are for non-programmers and 20% are duplicates, and that 90% of programmers have a GitHub account, we get an estimate of 20 million programmers in the world.

Evans Data Corporation

Evans Data Corporation estimated there were 23 million developers in 2018.

International Data Corporation

IDC says "there were 22.30 million software developers in the world at the outset of 2018".

Daxx created some nice visualizations of both the IDC and Evans data.

What do I say?

I will define a programmer as someone who edits a text document in a programming language at least once a week, on average, in an IDE or text editor.

My early guess: there were between 10 and 30 million programmers in 2018.

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