Here at Forrester, we’re beginning a new stream of research focused on where firms are finding the best software developers. And by best, I mean a few key attributes, including being innovative, productive, timely, and delivering high-quality results.

Our research methodology will be to survey a broad swath of firms that recruit software developers, to find out where they are finding the best developers. We want to not only identify the best university programs around the world for churning out great developers, but also assess the contribution of other sources, such as hiring experienced developers from other firms, bringing in contractors for staff augmentation, or sourcing developers from systems integrators.

We also plan to assess university programs based on their coursework and other attributes, to see if we can correlate the nature of their programs with the results their graduates achieve.

What do you think? What universities do you suggest we assess? We will certainly look at the usual suspects like MIT, Stanford, WPI, RPI, Rice, and so on. But what about Texas A&M, the University of Mississippi, or the University of Brighton? Back when I was hiring developers they had great programs — do they still have what it takes? You may be partial to your alma mater, but… really, would you recruit there today? There’s been much prognosticator pontification about the sad state of affairs in the US today for education of software engineers and other high-tech resources — what are you seeing?

We will be looking quite broadly at “developers.” Today it’s just as important to find good Business Analysts as it is to find good programmers. Software development leaders compose global teams from a wide range of skills, both inside and outside the firm, and business knowledge is key to success. This gives priority to developers who have good communication skills and business acumen — not just the geek gamers of yore.

Does your firm recruit developers who are key to your business success? If so, we’d love to talk to you and your Human Resources partners, as part of our research process. Please send your contact details to, and we’ll be in touch.