Transforming India’s Digital Economy: The Rise of Developers and Open Source


It’s no secret that the developer community is booming in India. Not only is India already home to the third-largest developer community on GitHub, but it’s also one of the most vibrant. According to the State of the Octovere 2021 report, GitHub’s annual user growth in India jumped 38.9%, and we expect that by 2023, more than 10 million developers will be using the platform in India.

But let’s look beyond the growth numbers. With developers contributing, open source is flourishing in India, but what does this explosive growth mean? What is the economic impact of a thriving developer community?

The bottom line is that open source has helped revolutionize the Indian economy and has greatly enhanced our economic power on the global stage. It is no exaggeration to say that, powered by open source, India is developing influential global companies that are shaping the future of technology and impacting the evolution of society as a whole.

Open source development has introduced new ways of thinking and new avenues of innovation that have helped to banish the perception of Indian IT as a primarily service-oriented industry. He was instrumental in effectively reinventing the sector into a high-value, product-driven industry. Over the past few years, we have seen Indian product companies – B2C and B2B software-as-a-service (SaaS) – grow in number and valuation, backed by a vibrant developer ecosystem. Many B2C e-commerce businesses in India have been built on the back of open source software.

In addition to elevating established companies and pushing them to new heights, open source has spawned a new breed of startups. As India’s tech industry has matured, it has opened up new opportunities and ambitions for start-ups. Open source is at the heart of this shift because it accelerates the speed of innovation.

The statistics speak for themselves. Tech-driven unicorns are popping up almost everywhere in India as we take our place as the engine of innovation. So far this year, no less than 40 Indian start-ups have joined the coveted unicorn club, including – for the first time – companies from health tech, social commerce and e-pharmacy. As of September 2021, Indian startups have raised over $32 billion this year alone, and it is predicted that there could be over 100 unicorns in India by the end of 2022. And because Indian startups attract such high levels of capital, more companies are embracing open source.

This growth leaves its mark on both established and emerging sectors. Take healthcare technology, an area of ​​constant disruption, subject to intense scrutiny. According to the latest figures from the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Praxis Global Alliance, the Indian health technology industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39% to reach 5 billion. by 2023, driven in large part by more than 5,000 health tech startups – open source-based companies.

India’s meteoric rise as a tech superpower means our developers are now directly influencing the very essence of innovation – shaping the future of areas such as cloud computing, how fintech will be transformed by cryptography and consumer applications developed. Indian business developers are deciding the future of critical industries such as financial services, edtech, travel and retail, where organizations of all sizes have created cutting-edge products that have disrupted the space .

Open source may have propelled India to the forefront of innovation, but the journey is far from over. We are just getting started. Recognizing the impact of open source in driving innovation is essential if we are to continue supporting and nurturing the developer community. As a nation, we must continue to invest, inspire talent, share best practices and expertise, and collaborate if we are to build on this momentum. If we achieve this, open source will in turn create even greater opportunities for developers, students, businesses and startups in India. And this is only good news for the economy.

Open source has already been a game-changer, but it can drive a new wave of technological and economic progress.

Views are personal. The author is the Managing Director of GitHub India.


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