RapidAPI Developer
Survey and Insights

Learn more about RapidAPI’s 2020-2021
Developer Survey.

Developer Reliance on APIs
Continues to Increase

Almost 1500 developers from all backgrounds with varying degrees of coding experience participated in the survey. Our participants came from all over the world and included professional developers, hobbyists, students, and executives. Although their backgrounds were varied, a few common trends emerged from the survey:

  1. API adoption is on the rise across all industries – Developers increased their usage of APIs and plan to utilize them in their coding projects even more in the upcoming year.
  2. Participation in the API economy is a key priority – Companies across all industries are prioritizing investments in the API economy.
  3. The adoption of new API technologies continues to accelerate – Although REST continues to be the most popular, there is interest in emerging technologies, including Serverless & FaaS, Websockets, and gRPC.

Key Finding #1: Participation in the API Economy is a Top Priority

Companies of all sizes continue to rely on APIs. We found 61.3% of developers used more APIs in 2020 compared to 2019. An additional 26.2% of developers used about the same number of APIs in 2020 as in 2019.

We also found 71% of developers plan to use even more APIs in 2021 compared to 2020, and 21% plan to use them about the same. This points to increasing reliance and utilization of APIs by developers across a wide range of industries.

Group 2 Created with Sketch. Compared to 2019, did you use APIs more, less, or about the same in 2020? More About the same Less Unknown 61.3% 26.2% 8.5% 4.0%

We also found 71% of developers plan to use even more APIs in 2021 compared to 2020, and 21% plan to use them about the same. This points to increasing reliance and utilization of APIs by developers across a wide range of industries.

Group 9 Created with Sketch. Compared to this year, do you expect to use APIs more, less, or about the same in 2021? More About the same Less Unknown 71.1% 21.2% 4.5% 3.2%

Key Finding #2: API Usage is on the Rise

Overall, 58% of executives said participating in the API Economy was a top priority for their organization. This number was even higher in certain industries including telecommunications, healthcare, and financial services.

Most prominently, 89% of telecommunications executives said participation in API Economy is a top priority. With companies like Twilio offering APIs that enable telecommunications services, traditional Telcom providers have been increasing their investments in making their APIs available.

For Healthcare and Financial Services, standards and regulations such as Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) and the Open API Initiative are driving increased adoption in Healthcare and Financial Services with over 75% of healthcare executives and 62% of financial service executives demonstrating intent to participate in the API economy.

Group 16 Created with Sketch. API Economy Participation by Industry Technology (Devices/ Hardware) Technology (Software/ Internet) Gov’t MfG 0% 100% 50% 25% 75% Yes No Financial Services Professional Services Healthcare Telecom

Key Finding #3: The Adoption of New API Technologies Continues to Accelerate

Group 3 Copy Created with Sketch. API Technology Adoption REST SOAP Webhooks Serverless & FaaS 0% 100% 50% 25% 75% In POC Aware But Not Using Unfamiliar Using in Production Investigating GraphQL gRPC AsyncAPI WebSockets

We also specifically saw major increases in two categories — AsyncAPIs and GraphQL. The number of developers using AsyncAPIs in production tripled from 5% in 2019 to 19% in 2020. The number of developers using GraphQL doubled from 6% in 2019 to 12% in 2020.

Group 21 Created with Sketch. AsyncAPI Adoption GraphQL Adoption 2020 2020 2019 2019 20.0% 14.0% 0% 0% 10.0% 7.0% 5.0% 3.5% 15.0% 10.5% Using in Production 3X 2X

We anticipate these trends will continue, and API technology will continue to expand in 2021.

Key Finding #4: JavaScript Continues to Lead as the Most Popular Programming Language

Group 3 Created with Sketch. 80.00% 40.00% 20.00% 60.00% 2020 2019 0.00% Java- Script Python Note: Multiple responses allowed Java PHP C# Type- Script C++ .NET C Go Kotlin Power- shell Swift Ruby R Perl Rust Object- iveC Scala Erlang Most Popular Programming Language

Key Finding #5: APIs Scale with Organization Size

Unsurprisingly, we found the number of APIs grows with the size of the Organization. Nearly 40% of the largest organizations we surveyed reported having over 250 internal APIs. This closely matches our findings from last year.

Group 27 Created with Sketch. 0% 100% 50% 25% 75% Number of APIs Grow With Size of Organization Number of Internal APIs 10K+ 1-50 51-200 5,001-1K 1,001-5K Number of Employees 201-1K 11-50 101-250 250+ 0-10 51-100

Taking a deeper look, we found 75% of professional developers reported working on internal APIs. An additional 47% reported working on external APIs, and 34% reported working on partner-facing APIs. This builds on our findings from last year that companies tend to use more internal APIs than external APIs. 

Group 26 Created with Sketch. Note: Multiple responses allowed What types of APIs do you work on? Internal Partner facing External 75.3% 34.6% 47.0% (APIs for company use) (APIs you subscribe to) (APIs your company exposes for others to use)

Key Finding #6: API Testing and API Security Are Top Priorities

Testing and Security are top priorities for almost all developers with 95% of developers reporting security as a top consideration, and 92% planning to test APIs in 2021.

Group 24 Created with Sketch. Do you test or plan to test your APIs?