Development deep dive: how many software engineers in the US?

Even though the US currently holds the record for the highest number of working software engineers worldwide, global shifts in the labour market are set to change this. As the IT industry expands globally, the number of specialists working in the field from abroad rises exponentially. According to various reports, the number of software engineers worldwide is around 26.9 million.  By 2024 this number is poised to grow to 28.7 million. And, from 2001 to 2017, there was an increase in software developers in America alone by an astounding 135%. 

But one question remains, how many software engineers in the US are there? Let’s take a look at the numbers…

The number of available US software engineers

According to a global developer population and demographic study, the US has the highest number of software developers worldwide, with more than 4.4 million. Of this, around 680,000 are software engineers with specific knowledge of software engineering for designing, developing, maintaining, testing, and computer science evaluation purposes.

The vast majority of US engineers are most concentrated in the Washington DC region (6.46%), followed by Virginia and Maryland, closely behind, with 4.43% and 4.41%. While high concentrations of engineers reside in specific states there are some cities like Seattle, WA, that stand out as the best cities in the US to live and work if you are a software engineer. This is an effect of the massive concentration of big tech companies such as Microsoft, Salesforce, Adobe, and DocuSign that drive the industry. 

The United States has over 687,000 software engineers

Within software engineering fields we have seen certain jobs like computer programmers in the US decline by an astounding 60% between 2000 and today. Luckily for the programmers themselves, despite this wages have continued to increase by 47%. Since a software engineer’s minimum average salary in the US is now around $45,000, the average maximum wage can reach a whopping $248,000 per year. This is great for engineers but can be troubling for companies that want to keep pace with the competition in a fierce seller’s market for development talent.

Causes for an increase in demand for software engineers

There is currently an increase in the demand for software engineers, partly due to the rapid advent of tech advancements and the limited life span of code that requires timely upgrades and changes. Engineers also typically have a very short tenure, averaging less than a year. 

There are 26.9 million software engineers worldwide

Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic prompted an increase in digital transformation drives. While everyone from automakers to banks were slowly becoming software centric, this diversification was hastened by a changing landscape. The pandemic also saw a sudden shift occur from offline to online work, resulting in the implementation of various new tools. Not only is there a demand for more and more creative software, but projects are increasing in complexity. Most things get built many times, and new platforms are released, requiring even more skilled software engineers.

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Whenever a software program is released, another development team builds a similar program to complete it. Search engines, e-commerce platforms, messaging apps, and e-commerce platforms are a few factors contributing to the high demand for software engineers. So, how many software engineers in the US actually have the necessary skills to meet this demand?

Finding a solution to a lack of educated software engineers

While your organisation might be asking itself how many software engineers in the US are readily available to assist you it might be worth considering offshoring.  As the number of qualified US engineers decreases we see that the total number of software engineers worldwide increases. The  global number of software developers will likely surpass the 27.7 million mark by 2023 and 28.7 million by 2024. And experts even believe that tech economies like India will overtake the US’s number of software developers by 2023.

India will overtake the US in number of software developers by 2023

This is remarkable when you consider that back in 2017, India had only around 2.75 million available software engineers. But by 2023, this number will skyrocket to 5.2 million. As an industry, software engineering is one of the leading ones in the world, bringing higher revenues to countries where it’s developing.

Problems with software development in the US

The field of software engineering is unfortunately not diverse enough in the US or the West in general. For one it’s not an industry that is inviting to Generation-Z. Software engineering in America is most attractive to those between 30 and 34, with the average age being 43.1 years old. What’s more, 78% of software engineers are male while women only make up around 22%. 

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Data from 2017 recorded the number of Computer Science US graduates was less than 50,000. This is tragic considering that the same year there were more than 500,000 job openings. With the number of positions that need filling, opportunities are plentiful but sadly there are less than 30,000 Computer Science students who graduate each year. At that rate, it will take eight years to fill the open positions available today. 

How many software engineers in the US are needed?

The employment rate amongst software engineers is 87%. Meaning there are five jobs for every software engineer. Currently, with 1,365,500 job openings, there is a massive supply and demand problem. Over the next decade, approximately 21% of software developers are guaranteed employment. The problem is that the average time it takes to hire a software engineer is 35 days. Modern organisations have neither the time nor budget to have efficient and fast screening processes. Teaming up with an offshore partner could provide a solution to this issue.

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The demand for engineers with the right skills is expected to grow 22% by 2029
US Bureau of Labor Statistics

After all, lengthy and inefficient screening processes are often considered a factor in the worldwide software engineer shortage. 78% of software engineers report that they change jobs for higher compensation, but software engineers may also change jobs for a variety of other reasons, such as to gain new experiences, improve their work-life balance, and face new challenges. It’s not unusual for engineers to leave their jobs for the same reasons as other workers. They can, however, switch positions more frequently and efficiently due to such favourable market conditions.

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What to consider before collaborating with an offshore partner

Hopefully, this article has given you a clear understanding of how many software engineers in the US currently exist and whether there is enough local talent to meet your local talent needs. If not, offshoring presents itself as a sustainable, long-term solution. All you need is to connect with a partner who understands you and the market best. To identify the best partner for you, it’s important to review case studies and testimonials. Before deciding, make sure that your partner is also able to choose candidates, verify tech skills, and keep developers engaged over time.

The number of software engineers in the United States is large, but there’s still a lack of skills due to the sheer amount of transformation projects.
India is set to overtake the number of developers in the country by 2023, and with a higher calibre of software talent available.
Partnering with an offshore development partner means you can leverage these top-tier skills and augment them into your existing US engineering setup.

Get in touch with us, at The Scalers, if you’re looking to build an engineering team offshore to fill the skills gaps in your business. Your enquiry will be reviewed by one of our senior executives, and we’ll help you confidently move forward in achieving your aims.