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Cloud Development Environments: The Next Frontier of Programming Productivity

author avatar
Rob Whiteley
 on March 6th, 2024

This week we announced the findings of the CDE Adoption Report link sharing insights into the current software development landscape and the critical importance of cloud development environments (CDEs) to the market. But what exactly are CDEs, and why should developers and business leaders care?

CDEs are a fundamental shift of the developer’s workspace from local machines to the cloud that reimagine most of the developer experience, from the earliest stages of writing code to deploying finalized applications.

What sets CDEs apart from traditional integrated development environments (IDEs) is that they make use of cloud computing to enable enterprises to cut costs and shorten build times, all while increasing development teams’ productivity and overall experience.

Don’t just take our word for it: Gartner® established CDEs as a separate category in the 2023 Hype Cycle™ for Emerging Technologies, including them among a list of promising technologies that will reach mainstream adoption within five to ten years.

Gartner predicts that 60% of cloud workloads will be built and deployed using CDEs by 2026. We believe this indicates an upward trend of awareness and adoption across the developer community and broader technology landscape.

As for our survey, it found that the industry is actually progressing at a much faster pace, with 66% of large organizations already using CDEs in development.

But why is this acceleration happening?

Let’s dive into our survey - we polled 223 developers and business leaders globally from November 10 to 23, 2023. We focused on enterprises employing at least 2,000 workers and 250 developers and summarized their responses into the key data points and themes of the CDE Adoption Report.

CDE awareness is widespread: 95% of participants are familiar with CDEs

Our survey supports this trend, with 95% of respondents reporting they are familiar with CDE technology. The emergence of CDEs represents a major milestone in the trajectory of software development, bringing with them an era of centralized, efficient and cloud-centric workflows that benefit a wide variety of organizations, software development builds and developers.

CDEs are adding value at the enterprise level: 66% of large organizations are currently using CDEs

Some of the core benefits of CDEs include time and cost savings, increased developer productivity and experience, enhanced security and collaboration, expanded access to developer tools, scalability, and streamlined workflows. Beyond offering a platform for coding, these environments epitomize the convergence of various technologies that truly bring the whole developer experience into the cloud and the next echelon of software development.

Now imagine applying these benefits at scale. Assuming average developer densities of 35.4%, average software developer salaries of $144,000, and savings of 40 hours on time to first commit for each developer (a number provided by Coder customer testimonials), organizations with 2,000 employees can save nearly $2 million in onboarding costs. Savings for organizations with 10,000 employees skyrocket even further – up to nearly $10 million.

Our survey revealed that 66% of large organizations are currently using CDEs, highlighting their rapid growth despite being an emerging technology. Why are CDEs experiencing such growth? Happier, more productive developers, and the benefits mentioned above, of course.

What’s to come

Not only has the introduction of CDEs to the market generated a plethora of benefits, it’s also directly solved a number of developers’ and businesses’ key pain points, including simplifying and optimizing the onboarding process, keeping companies’ code secure, improving the developer experience and cutting costs.

The CDE Adoption Report deep-dives into each of these benefits, challenges and more, supported by the testimonials of Coder clients and CDE users including Skydio, Palantir, and others to share how CDEs have tackled these issues for their organizations.

It’s not a question of if all developers will benefit from a CDE, but when. This technology is transforming the developer role and its function within organizations for the better, and we’re excited for you to follow along with our report and blog series to learn more about how your organization can benefit.

CDE Adoption Report here.


Gartner, Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2023, Arun Chandrasekaran, Melissa Davis, 2 August 2023

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally, and HYPE CYCLE is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and are used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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