The SharePoint and Office 365 development community is huge. Spanning countries all over the world, it’s active, dynamic, and friendly! The individuals and teams who deploy, enhance, extend and sometimes also abuse Microsoft’s productivity platforms have a direct influence on how knowledge workers the world over interact with these collaboration tools. These developers, architects, administrators, testers, and analysts are active on forums, social media, and blogs and have a direct influence over how Microsoft develops and improves its products.
So, given the importance of this community, it’s surprising how little is known about them. While we meet one another online and at conferences, these occasions only give us a snapshot of how others are working. As SharePoint professionals, much of our time is spent working with clients on a one-on-one basis or in small teams, meaning we have fairly little extended contact with our colleagues, to find out how they work and who they are.
At Rencore we wanted to find out more about the community we work with, so we decided a survey was the answer!
Why conduct a survey?
Besides simply being curious about the people we work and talk with every day, we know that by having an understanding of the community we can provide a better service to them. A survey can tell us what the community is like, what issues it is facing, and what worries members have. Put simply, it’s the best way of getting a global picture of the community in a relatively short amount of time.
We had a number of questions and hypotheses about SharePoint professionals and set out to find out about them:
- What does the typical SharePoint developer look like?
- What type of organization do they work in?
- What sorts of SharePoint and Office 365 systems are they working on at the moment?
- What sort of dev tools and practices do they employ?
- How involved in the wider community are they?
Painting a picture
Designing a proper survey isn’t as straightforward as you might think, but we think the outcome was pretty good. We were amazed by the positive response the survey received – over 1,000 people took part. Respondents could enter a prize draw and we recently announced the lucky winners. We now have a massive database of numbers to crunch!
The results show the SharePoint and Office 365 community is at once diverse but also shares many things in common. We’re only just beginning to analyze the results and discover what it all means – but what we’ve seen so far are some really interesting trends and exciting findings. Some of the results were expected, yet others have definitely upset preconceptions.
So, who is the SharePoint community?
Our survey was only open for a few weeks during June and July 2015, nonetheless, we had a great response rate of over 1,000 completed by the time we closed.
The highest number of respondents was from the USA, followed by the UK and India; the top three response countries were from three different continents – a truly international community!
It was also very interesting to see the average ages of our respondents:
There was a good spread across 30-39, with a small number over 50.
One thing we really wanted to get out of the survey was an idea of who the ‘typical’ SharePoint developer is. What is this person like, where do they live, what’s their expertise? Looking through our results, it’s possible to start building up a profile of this person. A community should be diverse (and SharePoint’ certainly is). Nonetheless, the profile of a typical member looks like this:
Let’s call our SharePoint pro Tom – he’s male, aged 32, and lives in Texas (USA).
He’s been working in his role as a developer at a fairly large consultancy (there are about 400 people working there) for about eight years. Before that, he was working at a smaller consultancy (around 50 people) as a developer for three years, doing a similar job as a developer.
Tom lives well – he’s currently on $80,000 USD per year and he holds a (slightly out of date) MCPD SharePoint Developer 2010 certificate. When doing front-end development work, Tom usually uses JQuery, although less frequently he builds with Angular.js.
Finally, he considers himself to be a regular participant in the community, contributing a few hours per week – although he mainly gets involved for work-related reasons.
What kind of community member are you?
As we begin analyzing our data, it’s exciting to discover some of the surprises and revelations the statistics are telling us about the community. We’ll be releasing our final report towards the end of September, but we’ll keep you updated with some more great insights as we put that data together. So, stay tuned and thank you again to everyone that took part.