UK developers ‘among world’s most productive’

British software developers are among the most productive in the world – delivering code almost twice as fast as any other country, according to new data released today by CircleCI.

The stats – taken from over 55 million data points from 44,000 organisations globally – measure each country’s throughput – or, the median number of times software teams submit new code every day. British average throughput sits at 1.26, more than 80 per cent higher than the global average of 0.7.

The data also shows UK developers are 19 per cent more efficient than their counterparts in France and 35 per cent more than those in Germany.

In software development, failure is a sign of innovation. But in Britain, a 95 per cent success rate says that teams are not taking chances with their code

However, despite high productivity levels, the report also shows some signs of risk-aversion — as UK engineering teams are not innovating as much as the levels seen in the US and across the rest of the world.

A ‘success rate’ measure, which assumes failures in testing to be a signal of innovative risk-taking, shows the UK delivering successful code 95 per cent of the time, compared to just 83 per cent in the US, and a global average of just 61 per cent.

Nicholas Mills, CircleCI EMEA GM, said: “In software development, failure is a sign of innovation. But in Britain, a 95 per cent success rate says that teams are not taking chances with their code.

“We would expect the figure to be much closer to the global median of 61%. Why? Teams that are experimenting and trying new things will sometimes fail.

“The finance-heavy British tech ecosystem may be bogged down by legislation and unable to break the rules.

“But it could also be that in the US, ‘move fast and break things’ and growth at all costs is the norm; whereas in UK and Europe more widely, sustainable growth and reaching profitably sooner is often the aim for start-ups.

“This makes errors less desirable, as highly profitable businesses require more robust code. This could, however, have a long-term impact on the innovative power of UK technology.

“This report suggests that UK tech can – and arguably must – be more ambitious, if it is striving to build genuinely global tech companies.”

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