Developer experience in 2022 -- why will it be so important?

Developer team

In the past, companies have all had a solid focus on customer experience. They built a better, more efficient experience for those they sell to. With this in mind companies saw a rise in sales and loyalty. They realized keeping the customer happy was the key to being competitive in the market.

In parallel companies were also working with their employees to better improve and invest in their experience. They quickly realized that without happy employees they could not keep their customers happy. It looks like developer experience will be going through a similar shift in priority. They are now more and more becoming the focus of cloud providers and technology companies. These companies are investing and building tools to help developers work better, faster, and more efficiently.

Open source database company Percona’s Senior Vice President Product Donnie Berkholz tells us: "The reason for this change in focus is that enterprises want their developers to be more productive and happier about how they work, but they also want to manage and control their own destinies around technology. They want to provide the same level of speed and efficiency around getting things set up, but across their IT stacks. For companies running private clouds, this is about getting parity with competitors that fully commit to public cloud".

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Berkholz goes on to say: "Developer-experience investments will be about making that self-service approach to building applications work and work quickly. The result should be that developers at those more traditional companies can get the same benefits that those at other companies using cloud-native approaches do. The hope is that these implementations help developers be more productive, and that they are happy to stay at those companies rather than move to other roles."

The cloud-based machine data analytics company Sumo Logic’s Principal Product Manager and Open Source Ambassador Frank Reno says: "Developers are one of the reasons that open source is growing so much and so quickly. Developers want to be in a community where they can work with others, and they can collaborate in a larger group and be part of something a bit bigger. Especially during these times of COVID-19 where we're not as close as we used to be. So, anything we can do to cultivate a better experience, whether for that individual developer or a group of developers, goes a long way. Every vendor and every customer should recognize the importance of the developer."

But how do you do this? DataStax’s Vice President Strategy Bryan Kirschner tells us: "Every developer will be able to tap tools and code from the collective innovation that open source offers to build modern data-driven applications that deliver differentiated and engaging experiences to fuel revenue growth. This will be done by creating a culture of innersource (bringing open source culture and tools into the enterprise) to develop faster, reduce project backlogs and create more utopian developer environments. Serverless database technology combined with modern APIs and streaming technologies will equal an open stack that will play a huge part in making this a reality as they will ease infrastructure team burdens (managing multiple data center instances, multi-cloud providers and multiple streaming projects for example)."

Sumo Logic’s Reno points to how developers need more help around using data themselves as part of this process. He cites the OpenTelemetry project for observability as a good example of where developers are looking to get more out of the data they have, and where they can use this to their advantage. He says: "Open source and OpenTelemetry are driving the observability industry together, but at the end of the day, it's all about the developer experience. Companies building any kind of tooling for developers needs to remember that the developer is the key asset to focus on. You need to make them successful, give them a delightful experience and remove all friction. This way they can move fast and focus on what they need."

With developers being such an integral part of the open source community -- and with them building the applications that companies now rely on to do business -- it is no wonder that they are being prioritized going forward. Companies must remember that building tools, making systems more efficient, quicker, and easier to use, must be done with the developer in mind. After all, they are the key asset.

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