The term "developer" is no longer limited to the traditional technical developer community in the UK, according to Microsoft research.

Instead it now comprises a wider ecosystem of professionals, hobbyists and individuals responsible for marketing, who are also involved in the creation of applications and software.

The Vanson Bourne survey of 400 developers commissioned by Microsoft, highlights how the vast majority (86 percent) of those building software and applications today believe the skills required are "completely different from five to 10 years ago".

The survey indicated that the intake of new developers is strong, with 48 percent claiming to have only started in the past five years.

Anand Krishnan, general manager for the developer and platform group at Microsoft, said: "'Geek Speak' is not the language of a small club anymore. The ecosystem of UK developers is growing rapidly, with professionals, hobbyists and a new breed of those responsible for commissioning applications bringing their own unique blend of passion and potential.

"The days of developing for a single platform, a single form factor or a single kind of device are over," he said.

Of those surveyed, 83 percent said demand for custom applications will "increase hugely" over the next few years, and despite the consumerisation of IT, 81 percent said enterprise applications is "an area of opportunity not yet fully exploited".

However, with respondents suggesting that only half of new applications (51 percent) and software (51 percent) are delivering a "reasonable" return on investment (ROI), challenges obviously remain.

The survey covered 220 professional developers, 80 hobbyists and 100 marketing decision makers responsible for commissioning applications and software development.