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Developers Say Time Constraints, Poor Testing Top Project Challenges

In a new survey from Embarcadero Technologies, more than half (52 percent) of application developers say they don't have enough time to complete their work and nearly a third (31 percent) said poor unit and system testing is their top challenge.

Conducted in May 2010, the 606 participants included developers, analysts, and architects. The full report, which includes questions on Windows 7 development, can be found here (no registration required).

Thirty percent of respondents said they must deal with insufficient or no requirements. Other complaints include "deficient planning, slow tools and technologies, and scope creep," according to Embarcadero. Though communication is often a problem on projects, few developers said it was a problem for them.

The survey revealed that coding takes up most of a developer's day, according to 37 percent of respondents. "Designing, analyzing and debugging were also mentioned frequently," the company noted. That's in sharp contrast to how developers want to spend their day. Many lamented "about time constraints impacting their ability to focus on their own professional development," and nearly six in 10 software developers wished for "more time to learn new programming languages and technologies or to keep their skills up to date." More than a third (36 percent) wanted more time for testing, and about 33 percent "would add documentation to notes and code if they had time."

What new technologies should developers be studying? Mobile applications will be hot, respondents say: 56 percent say it will have the greatest impact on development, followed by 64-bit computing (50 percent), parallel programming (47 percent), cloud computing (31 percent), and virtualization (29 percent).

About the Author

James E. Powell is the former editorial director of Enterprise Strategies (esj.com).

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