Know Thy Audience

by chromatic

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At OSCON 2002, I popped my head into the Boston Consulting/OSDN Developer Survey talk, partly to see my buddy Jeff Bates and partly because I'm curious as to the survey results. I'm trying not to fool myself that my readers are the same people, or that my developer peers all fall into the same groups.

Still, it's interesting to see a few strong trends!

  • Development is seen as a creative endeavor (slide 10). That's probably one good reason it's a hobby...

  • When it's not a hobby, there are efficacious reasons for development. (slide 13)

  • Either way, the challenge of coding and the learning opportunities it affords are powerful motivators. (slide 13)

  • Hobbyists and learners make up a big percentage of the responses. (slides 14 and 15)

  • The pursuit of knowledge is an important goal. (slide 16)

  • Professionals and students comprise most of the surveyed. (slide 24)

  • There are often internal motivations to continue developing. (slides 32 and 33)

Why do I find this so interesting? Maybe the biggest benefit is being able to identify four reasonably distinct sub-audiences. If there's reason to believe that the audience here is similar (and that's just an assumption!), it means there are good reasons to think about my responsibilities to each group.

Of course, this is a small survey, primarily of developers, and it had some degree of self-selection. Still, it's useful data, and it's given me quite a lot to think about for nearly two months.

What kinds of conclusions do you reach from this survey?