by Mike Epner
Crowdsourcing is a hot topic in the enterprise economy these days, but exactly what are the most popular technologies in the ecosystem? Here is Topcoder's first semi-annual report on the “state of the crowd” in supporting technologies within our crowdsourcing community. This heat map was derived from the “Technology Radar” put out by Thoughtworks. We evaluated the current suitability of each technology for the crowd, the level of “crowd readiness” to respond to work in a given technology area, and the technologies getting the greatest volume of work from enterprise customers on our crowdsourcing platform.
How to interpret the heat map
- Level 1 — hot: The technology is crowd-ready and the crowd is doing substantial work in this area.
- Level 3 — lukewarm: The technology is crowd-ready, but there isn’t enough current demand driving the market. Alternatively, the technology is new and the crowd has yet to build scale.
- Level 5 — cold: The least crowd-ready, this technology is tough to crowdsource and the demand isn’t significant.
Mapping technologies with the crowd
Mobile, web, and cloud technologies are obviously well-suited for crowdsourcing and — because the skills in those areas are often difficult to identify and retain — customers are filling those needs with the crowd. What else does the heat map tell us about the crowd’s role in current and future technologies?
- Apple’s Swift language has seen rapid adoption and has moved quickly into Level 1 from both a community and customer perspective.
- Both new and more “legacy” program languages are suitable for crowdsourcing at Level 3. The demand — which drives what technologies are getting crowd attention — hasn’t been sufficient enough to create a vibrant crowd… though some work does happen.
- There’s great potential demand in the technologies at Level 3, but the market hasn’t yet caught up.
- Some of the technologies in Level 1 (or approaching it) have benefited from Topcoder’s consulting practice — particularly through Salesforce.com’s platform technologies. For instance, Lightning is a technology in its emerging stage, and we’ve been preparing the crowd as a precursor to using Lightning in our consulting work. Similarly, Visualforce ranks very high in terms of usage, at least partly due to the volume introduced through our Salesforce.com consulting practice.
- The heat map includes a variety of technologies, not just programming languages, because they impact the effectiveness of crowdsourcing by nature. For example, some platforms are open and well-suited for distributed work; others are closed and may not show up at all.
Of course, while our technology heat map includes a variety of technologies and programming languages, new ideas for other technologies and languages that should be included in future reviews are always welcome. The greatest resource in understanding the state of the crowd and its impact on existing and potential technologies is, after all, shared knowledge.