GitHub on digital natives and measuring software development

November 16, 2022

This blog is an excerpt from the Network Readiness Index 2022 thematic chapter: “How and why digital natives will shape the world”. Prepared by GitHub.

Software development plays an important role in the digital transformation taking place around the world. Software developers can build for their local context while drawing upon a global commons of open source software projects. They can also collaborate across borders to build innovative solutions or simply to learn new skills. Thus, measuring software development is a useful complement to other, often consumption-focused, measures of digital development.

The theme of this year’s Network Readiness Index is “digital natives.” While the arrival of the internet has varied for populations depending where they live around the world, the generations born after the arrival of the internet do things differently. GitHub caters to digital natives, especially those who are inclined to build software in the open, online.

GitHub is a code hosting and collaboration platform where over 83 million developers come together to build software. Activity on GitHub, thus serves to measure software development. This year, the Network Readiness Index uses an updated indicator with GitHub data. The GitHub indicator is defined as commit pushes received, scaled by working age population. Commit pushes received are assigned to the economy where the recipient project is located. This indicator thus highlights economies where the code attracts global contributions, as opposed to economies where developers primarily make contributions to foreign code bases. Scaling by working age population (15-69) enables comparisons across countries that account for differences in population distributions.

GitHub, Inc. is an Internet hosting service for software development and version control using Git. It provides the distributed version control of Git plus access control, bug tracking, software feature requests, task management, continuous integration, and wikis for every project. Learn more at

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