IoT Developer Survey 2019: the Key Trends

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 07:30 by Frédéric Desbiens


2019 marked the fifth anniversary of the Eclipse IoT Developer Survey. This edition is without a doubt the best yet. More than 1700 persons participated; that's about three times more than last year!

As usual, the aim of the survey was to look at the IoT landscape to understand the key trends for people building IoT solutions and identify the relevant technologies and standards. You can find the results of our previous surveys on the Eclipse IoT website.

Executive Summary

Our key findings for this edition of the survey are:
  • IoT drives real outcomes today.  65% of respondents are currently working on IoT projects or will be in the next 18 months
  • AWS, Azure, and GCP are the leading IoT cloud platforms
  • IoT developers mostly use C, C++, Java, JavaScript, and Python
  • MQTT is still the dominant communication protocol leveraged by developers
  • The Eclipse Desktop IDE is the leading IDE for building IoT applications 

A deeper look at our key findings

IoT drives real outcomes today

Overall, 65% of respondents to our survey develop and deploy IoT solutions today or will be in an 18 months time frame. On the other hand, only 9% of respondents told us that their organization had no plans to develop IoT solutions.

 As it was the case last year, the top three concerns are security, connectivity and data collection & analytics. However, it is worth noting that connectivity overtook data collection & analytics in second place. This highlights the growing maturity of IoT analytics, as well as the challenges that come with the proliferation of niche connectivity protocols in the market. With all the connectivity options at their disposal, it is likely that developers have a hard time to pick the option that best fits their use case.

Top developers concerns over time

On a year-to-year basis,  connectivity, performance, privacy, integration with hardware and standards all show significant increases in developer interest. 

AWS, Azure, and GCP are the leading IoT cloud platforms

The respondents to our survey identified AWS, Azure and GCP as their top three choices for IoT Cloud Platforms. This ranking reflects wider trends in the Cloud market. Generally speaking, public cloud seems to be making gains at the expense of private Cloud and on-premise deployments of Openstack, Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry. The purchasing flexibility to buy what you need, when need it and for as long as you need it with public cloud platforms likely plays a role when envisioning large scale IoT deployments.

IoT developers mostly use C, C++, Java, JavaScript, and Python

As of April 2019, the four most popular programming languages listed on the Tiobe Index are Java, C, C++, and Python. Our survey demonstrates they are also very popular with IoT developers. However, while C and C++ dominate constrained devices, Java is the first choice for edge nodes and IoT Cloud platforms.

JavaScript has a strong showing, probably due to the widely used Node.js runtime. In addition, the fact that PHP made the top four for IoT Cloud platforms is unsurprising, since it is commonly used to build the back-end of large Web development projects. 

MQTT is still the dominant IoT communication protocol

When asked about which communication protocol they use in their projects, about half of the respondents mentioned HTTP. This is unsurprising, given the huge role REST web services play in most IT architectures. However, HTTP has not been designed specifically for use in IoT.

Focusing on IoT-specific protocols, 42% of respondents mentioned they leverage MQTT, about three times more than CoAP. We expect MQTT's dominance to endure, considering its widespread adoption in the market. 

The Eclipse Desktop IDE is the leading IoT IDE

It is maybe unsurprising to see the Eclipse desktop IDE to top a survey sponsored by the Eclipse Foundation. That said, the venerable tool is still widely used by all types of developers whether they work in IoT or not. Worthy of note is the strong showings by Visual Studio Code and Notepad++, highlighting the thirst for simpler, nimbler tools. Also, close to 10% of participants mentioned using Eclipse Che. It really seems part of the future of IoT is in the Cloud, one way or another.

Thank you and see you next year!

I cannot end this post without thanking all respondents for participating. We could not make it without you! Please lets us know what you think of the survey, and how we could improve it for next year.