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Q: Statistics on the availability of Fortran programmers ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Statistics on the availability of Fortran programmers
Category: Computers > Programming
Asked by: ducksrus-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 04 Jan 2003 22:03 PST
Expires: 03 Feb 2003 22:03 PST
Question ID: 137651
We have several millions of lines of code written in
Fortran 77 and we are worried about getting Fortran programmers to
support this code over the next 5 years. I need the following:

(i) data on current availability of Fortran programmers in the US (and
the corresponding numbers for COBOL, C++ and Java for comparison)

(ii) Whether these availability numbers depend a lot on state (say TN
versus CA versus TX) - not critical information.

(iii) estimates of the availability of programmmers for these
5 years down the road (year 2008).

I know (iii) can be pretty vague, but any estimates of any kind will
useful since it will be input to an intensive legacy migration plan.

Subject: Re: Statistics on the availability of Fortran programmers
Answered By: ragingacademic-ga on 05 Jan 2003 04:35 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Dear ducksrus,

Thanks for your question.  First, let me request that if any of the
following is unclear or if you require any further research – please
don’t hesitate to ask me for a clarification.

First, here is some information on programmers as a whole.  This is
extracted from “Information Technology Industry Council – Databook”
(Jan 1998):

# of Programmers in US (all disciplines) –
1980 – 351,000
1990 – 594,000
1995 – 553,000
2006 – 690,000 (estimate)

Dain Rauscher Wessels addresses the growth in the developer community
by language in a report on Rational Software Corporation (recently
acquired by IBM) dated August 4, 2000 –,,6402,00.pdf

See graph on p. 8, and note that Fortran does not even show up in the
list; it is likely bunched together with the “others.”

IDC provides the exact data you are seeking, but it can be quite
costly.  I believe their most recent relevant report is “2001 IDC
Professional Developer Model” and it is available here –

A less expensive but more recent (yet less comprehensive) report is
“Language Usage Patterns Among Professional Developers” – this report
is available at –

A little bit of IDC’s research is covered in the following article
from Tech Strategies –

The best FREE source for data along the lines you are seeking is
jobstats, operating out of Australia.  The following provides a great
comparison of demand for various programming languages (the great
thing about the jobstats reports is that everything is
up-to-the-minute! You can go to the site and generate fresh reports,
or view the ones I have linked to below) –

If you look at the following graph, you will see that the demand for
Fortran jobs is a fraction of the supply –

In other words, there seem to be a lot less Fortran programmers out
there than there are jobs for them – and the number of Fortran
programmers is not about to increase.

Statistics from SeniorTech could be helpful, although they are by no
means representative; SeniorTech only includes individuals 35 years
and older; current distribution of candidates by language is as

BASIC - 237
C - 206
C++ - 153
COBOL - 455
COBOL2 - 357
JAVA - 101
JCL - 401
PL/1 - 36
RPG - 57

The source is at –

I hope this response adequately addresses your request.  Please let me
know if you are in need of additional information concerning this



Information Technology Industry Council - Databook: Occupational
Employment Part 1 of 2; p. 22+, January 1 1998

Additional Links:

Good discussion on Fortran vs. other languages –

Information about the computer programming profession from the US
Department of Labor

Great article on the various programming languages

A lot of interesting stats about computers and programming

Search Strategy:

us "department of labor" computer developer statistics fortran
fortran cobol c java "number of developers"
fortran cobol c java "number of developers" programmers forecast
fortran cobol c java programmers forecast

Clarification of Answer by ragingacademic-ga on 11 Jan 2003 20:10 PST
ducksrus -

Thanks for your comments and rating!
Glad I could be of service.

ducksrus-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
I got the response real quick. Question at 11 pm and answer next morning!

There are no comments at this time.

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