API adoption is on the rise across all industries

Developer reliance on APIs increased over the past year amidst the global pandemic and will continue to increase in 2021, a RapidAPI survey reveals.

API adoption

Organizations of all sizes from a wide range of industries plan to join the API economy this year, and API testing and security were top concerns among survey respondents.

“During the pandemic, many companies rapidly accelerated their digital transformation journeys. So, it makes sense that their investment in software development and particularly in the API economy continues to rise,” said Iddo Gino, CEO, RapidAPI.

Key data insights

Developer reliance on APIs continues to increase: Developer reliance on APIs accelerated during the pandemic and will continue to increase in 2021; 61% of developers used more APIs in 2020 than in 2019, and 71% plan to use even more this year.

Participation in the API economy is a priority across industries: Overall, 58% of executives said participating in the API economy was a top priority for their organization. The figure was even higher in certain industries: 89% of telecommunications executives will take advantage of APIs and standards like Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) and the Open API Initiative are driving adoption among a majority of healthcare (75%) and financial services (62%) executives.

The adoption of new API technologies is increasing: This year’s survey also suggests that API technology and usage are becoming more varied. REST continues to be the most popular standard among those surveyed, and there was strong interest in emerging technologies like serverless, FaaS, WebSockets, and gRPC. AsyncAPI tripled in production usage (from 5% in 2019 to 19% in 2020), and GraphQL doubled (from 6% in 2019 to 12% in 2020).

API testing and security are top priorities: Testing and security are top priorities for almost all developers—95% cited security as a top consideration, and 92% plan to test APIs in 2021. More than 43% of developers will use tools to write or manage tests, and 15% plan to use a tool in the future. Another 38% will write tests in their code.

More than half of professional developers spend 10+ hours a week working on APIs: Organizations dedicate significant resources to API development, including time—58% of professional software developers spent at least 10 hours each week working with APIs. Nearly 30% said they spend more than 20 hours a week working with APIs.

JavaScript continues to be the most popular programming language: Despite the changes in API technology, the top five most popular programming languages remained the same in 2020 compared to 2019, with JavaScript leading the list as the most popular. Python, Java, PHP, and C# followed closely behind.

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