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The evolution of APIs has dramatically changed the software development process, necessitating companies to rethink how they manage and organize all of the APIs at the core of their business. Recent surveys by RapidAPI (conducted at the end of 2021) found API adoption increased across all industries, with executives prioritizing investments in the API economy as an essential strategy to secure organizations’ future revenue and growth.
Across both surveys, several key points emerged that affirm a growing reliance on APIs to improve efficiencies and enable innovation.
1. Reliance on APIs Grows Among Both Developers and Enterprise Leaders
The survey confirms what many developers already expected to see — API usage continues to grow rapidly. When asked to predict their API usage in 2022, 90.5% of developers expect to use APIs more or the same as in 2021, while only 3.8% of developers think they will use fewer APIs in 2022.
Data showed an increase in API usage and reliance across all industries in 2021. When we take a closer look, the three industries with the highest percentage of developers who expect to rely on APIs more in 2022 than 2021 are Healthcare (71%), Technology (69%), and Financial Services (68%)
2. 98% of Enterprise Leaders Agree APIs are an Essential Part of an Organization’s Digital Transformation
Developers aren’t the only group expecting to rely on APIs in 2022. Over 98% of enterprise leaders say APIs are a critical part of their digital transformation efforts, and 97 percent agree that successfully executing an API strategy is essential to secure organizations’ future revenue and growth.
Enterprise leaders realize the breadth of benefits APIs can bring, from enabling innovation to strengthening collaboration. The top five benefits organizations hope to see by leveraging APIs include:
1. A smoother customer experience (49%).
2. Accelerated innovation (48%).
3. Better collaboration among internal development teams (42%).
4. Enabling joint-development with partners and third-party development teams (41%).
5. Improved developer experience (38%).
3. Organizations Leveraging APIs to Enhance Collaboration
Improving partner collaboration is a prominent goal for organizations in 2022. Over 84% of enterprise leaders indicated it was “extremely” or “very” important to partner with other organizations that provide APIs. Additionally, nearly two-thirds (65%) of organizations rely on APIs to improve collaboration with partners and enable partner innovation.
4. Organizations Expand API Usage to Broaden Ecosystems
Third-party and partner-facing APIs have grown in popularity as organizations prioritize partnerships with other organizations. Internal APIs were still the most common API type developers reported working on for their organization. However, compared to 2020, more developers reported working on partner-facing or third-party APIs in 2021.
The type of APIs were defined in the survey as follows:
■ Internal: APIs for organization use.
■ External/Third-Party: APIs developers or organizations subscribe to.
■ Partner-Facing: APIs an organization exposes for others to use.
The percentage of developers who reported working on partner-facing APIs was the most noticeable increase across all categories, increasing almost 30% (from 34.6% to 44.3%).
5. Adoption and Exploration of New API Technologies Accelerates
Compared to previous years, API technology is becoming more varied. Of the trends surveyed, REST continues to be the most popular. However, the number of developers using REST in production fell slightly between 2020 and 2021. In contrast, GraphQL and Async API adoption has dramatically increased in the last several years. There continues to be strong interest in other types of emerging technology, including Serverless & FaaS, Websockets, and gRPC.
More notably, TypeScript entered both the top 5 most used programming languages and the top 5 most preferred languages for the first time in any of our surveys. Older languages, such as Java, PHP, C#, and .NET fell in popularity and preference.
7. More Than Half of Developers Considered Leaving Their Job
Based on the overall turbulence seen in the job market through 2021, it is not a surprise that 54% of developers considered leaving their current position.
The top three reasons developers considered leaving their position were for higher compensation or benefits, an interest in a specific product or technology, and a desire for a flexible work environment.
2021 proved the road ahead is unpredictable and uncertain. It also proved that APIs and microservices are here to stay, and continued investment in these areas will be the key for many companies to navigate 2021 and beyond.
For more insights, check out the interactive website for the State of APIs Developer Survey, and the State of Enterprise APIs.
Methodology: The State of APIs Developer Survey received responses from over 130 different countries. Most of the respondents were professional developers with over 90 percent reporting that they program as part of their job or education. Respondents represented a wide variety of industries and company sizes. The State of Enterprise APIs survey was commissioned by RapidAPI though Vanson Borne. It surveyed 300 global IT leaders for insights into their organizations’ APIs and API strategy. Respondents’ organizations spent at least $500,000 per year on APIs and API infrastructure to qualify for participation. Organizations were based in the US, UK, Germany, and France from private sectors with 1000+ employees.
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