The BlueOptima Global Benchmark Q4 2020 report has highlighted a growing trend: Eastern Europe is becoming the most cost-effective and high-quality software development region. But why is this a growing trend in the industry?
The BlueOptima Global Benchmark (BGB) is a report published quarterly, highlighting different trends in the software development industry. Each report uses data on the performance of hundreds of thousands of software engineers in dozens of countries.
By sampling 2% of the global enterprise software developer population, it has become a leading software developer productivity report, and an important read for professionals trying to keep up with the latest trends.
The Q4 BGB report has provided analysis on the productivity, quality, and cost-effectiveness of software developers. This article will highlight some of the key trends discovered in the report such as the production of maintainable code in different regions globally.
Are Eastern European Developers More Cost-Effective?
The BGB report has highlighted several key trends related to software developers and technologies. The stand-out discovery in the Q4 report is that software developer productivity is highest amongst Eastern European developers.
The Eastern European population, which contains 8% of the global developer population, were consistently the most productive developers from Q1 to Q4 of 2020. They also delivered the most maintainable code across 2020, which is important for the growth and success of tech businesses.
While there are many explanations for these trends, a common explanation is the cultural differences between Eastern Europe and other regions such as Western Europe and North America.
There is an increased emphasis on technology and mathematics studies in this region, as well as an educational system that is more focused on specific skills and vocational training. While the western education system arguably creates more-rounded students, this does not translate to better code.
According to Wired, startups in the UK have noticed some of these trends, and are increasingly hiring developers from Eastern Europe. This exodus of jobs is not only seen in the UK but across many of Europe’s biggest cities.
The BlueOptima Global Benchmark report goes further to highlight the leading factors of certain countries in the region.
According to the BGB Q4 report, the top 5 Eastern European countries in terms of cost and code quality are Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine.
The efficiency of the Eastern European group is largely dominated by the huge Russian software developer population, comprising 41% of developers in the region. Despite this, the other countries mentioned also have highly efficient developers, comparable to Russia.
Ukraine is particularly interesting. Despite having 73% fewer enterprise software developers than Russia, Ukrainian software developers are producing some of the most maintainable code in the world, whilst also doing it at competitive prices.
The highly-skilled developers from this country are leading the way on key statistics for measuring productivity, such as BlueOptima’s BCE metric. This is all while productivity and code maintainability has taken a hit globally in Q4.
Principles of Maintainable Code
Developers from different regions are producing differing qualities of code. This is having an impact on maintainable code. But why should you care about it?
Maintainable code can have a huge impact on a business. Just as a well-written report can have a positive impact on understanding, efficiency, and sales, maintainable code can improve software developer productivity.
When code is maintainable, it means it is easier for developers to add new features to the software. If each function in the code has a clear input, output, and purpose, it will be easier to use with other functions. There will also be fewer bugs when adding new code as the existing functionality is already predictable.
By contrast, code that is not maintainable will be difficult to read for anyone who did not write it.
This can be a big problem for large teams, or for businesses that are recruiting new developers. These developers will need to waste a lot of time reading and understanding the code, instead of working on new features.
Experienced engineer Robert C. Martin introduced five key principles for maintainable code, known as SOLID:
- Single responsibility, each class (or function) should have a single responsibility
- Open-closed, each class should be open for extension but closed for modification
- Liskov substitution, children classes should perform all tasks that parent classes do
- Interface segregation, do not depend on code that you do not use
- Dependency inversion, depend on abstractions and not concretions
These principles are now studied by many software developers all over the world. Simply put, different sections of code should each have a single purpose. Each section can be extended, but the core purpose should not change. Different sections of the code should also not need code which it is not going to use.
If you want maintainable code, then your whole software development team should understand these principles. If they don’t, then it can only be beneficial to train them on these principles.
Delving Into The BlueOptima Global Benchmark
The BlueOptima Global Benchmark (BGB) Q4 report has highlighted some geographical trends within the software development industry. One of these trends is the increased productivity, quality, and cost-effectiveness of Eastern European developers.
There are many possible explanations for these consistent trends, including differences in the education of developers. Businesses are now looking to understand these trends further to use them to their advantage; some companies have even begun to move operations to Eastern Europe.
One of the key reasons is that software developers in this region are producing maintainable code.
Maintainable code is essential for growing tech businesses as it reduces the effort required to add new features or fix bugs. Developers are using principles such as SOLID to keep their code maintainable.
However, the key takeaway is that business leaders need to be keeping up with, and understanding, these new trends if they want their business to thrive.
To receive analysis on software developer productivity, and improve how you develop software compared to your peers, check out the BlueOptima Global Benchmark.
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