State of
APIs

Developers’ workflows change rapidly.
Here are the insights you helped us collect on the state of APIs in 2021.

Who did we survey?

The RapidAPI Developer Survey received 2,200 responses from over 130 different countries. Many of the respondents were professional developers, with over 90% reporting that they program as part of their job or education.

Overall, the survey respondents represent a wide variety of organization sizes, experience levels, and industries.

Learn API Development
Find challenges (with solutions!) and interactive examples & visuals to help you become a pro API developer.
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What are our favorite languages?

We asked questions to determine what languages developers use and which ones they prefer. JavaScript rebounded this year to increase its lead, and TypeScript snuck into the top 5 most commonly used languages. Older languages’ usage continued to fall — see Java, PHP, C#, and .NET moving down and to the left.

C.NETC++TypeScriptC#PHPJavaPythonJavaScript
More prefer this language
(% of respondents)
More use this language
(% of respondents)
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What tools are we using?

The number of developers using REST and SOAP APIs in production fell slightly as GraphQL and Async APIs increased. While the changes are subtle, we expect newer types of APIs will continue to grow in popularity as the technology matures.

How to read

Each colored bar indicates the change in the percentage of people in each bucket from 2020 to 2021:
increasing, sustaining, or decreasing.

20% (2020)
10%
Unfamiliar
10% (2020)
10%
Aware of but not using
20% (2020)
20%
Investigating
20% (2020)
20%
Currently in POC
30% (2020)
40%
Using in production
Increasing usage
Increasing familiarity

—— Increasing familiarity & usage —-->

REST
REST was used less in production and less people are aware of and using it.
7.7% (2020)
9.7%
Unfamiliar
11.5% (2020)
13.6%
Aware of but not using
10.4% (2020)
9.6%
Investigating
7.5% (2020)
7.8%
Currently in POC
63% (2020)
59.3%
Using in production
Webhooks
Webhooks were used less and less people are aware of them.
26.4% (2020)
27.6%
Unfamiliar
26.2% (2020)
25.1%
Aware of but not using
12.7% (2020)
13.5%
Investigating
6.1% (2020)
7%
Currently in POC
28.5% (2020)
26.8%
Using in production
Websockets
Websockets were used less and less people are aware of them.
18.5% (2020)
20.7%
Unfamiliar
32.4% (2020)
31.3%
Aware of but not using
14.1% (2020)
15%
Investigating
8.3% (2020)
7.8%
Currently in POC
26.7% (2020)
25.3%
Using in production
AsyncAPI
AsyncAPI was used more and more people are aware of it.
36.9% (2020)
34.8%
Unfamiliar
24.2% (2020)
22.7%
Aware of but not using
13.6% (2020)
13.9%
Investigating
6.6% (2020)
6.8%
Currently in POC
18.8% (2020)
21.8%
Using in production
SOAP
SOAP was used less and less people are aware of them.
26.3% (2020)
29.6%
Unfamiliar
37.8% (2020)
35.2%
Aware of but not using
9.8% (2020)
10%
Investigating
4.3% (2020)
4.8%
Currently in POC
21.8% (2020)
20.4%
Using in production
Serverless & FaaS
Serverless & FaaS stayed about the same
34.8% (2020)
34.8%
Unfamiliar
28.1% (2020)
27%
Aware of but not using
12.9% (2020)
13.8%
Investigating
6.7% (2020)
6.9%
Currently in POC
17.5% (2020)
17.4%
Using in production
GraphQL
GraphQL was used more and more people are aware of it.
28% (2020)
25.1%
Unfamiliar
37.1% (2020)
36.8%
Aware of but not using
14.9% (2020)
15.9%
Investigating
7.7% (2020)
7.5%
Currently in POC
12.3% (2020)
14.7%
Using in production
Kafka
Kafka usage stayed about the same, but more people are testing and aware of it.
50.6% (2020)
48.6%
Unfamiliar
28% (2020)
27.3%
Aware of but not using
8.3% (2020)
9.2%
Investigating
4.1% (2020)
5.3%
Currently in POC
9% (2020)
9.6%
Using in production
gRPC
gRPC was used more and more people are aware of it.
62.9% (2020)
60.2%
Unfamiliar
21.3% (2020)
22.2%
Aware of but not using
7.9% (2020)
8.4%
Investigating
3.8% (2020)
3.8%
Currently in POC
4.1% (2020)
5.4%
Using in production
Learn GraphQL in 5 mins
Understand what GraphQL APIs are through our interactive examples.
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How much do we rely on APIs?

Over 61.6% of developers reported relying on APIs more in 2021 than they did in 2020. Additionally, 68.5% expect to rely on APIs even more in 2022.

I relied on APIs...
2020 -> 2021
Compared to 2020, did you rely on APIs more, less, or about the same in 2021?
Less
6.9%
About the Same
26.0%
More
61.6%
Unknown
5.5%
I will rely on APIs...
2021 -> 2022
Do you expect to rely on APIs more, less, or about the same in 2022?
Less
3.8%
About the Same
22.1%
More
68.5%
Unknown
5.6%

How important is it to participate in the API economy?

This figure was even higher in specific industries, including telecommunications, healthcare, and financial services. Nearly all organizations with an active, high-priority project around APIs or microservices agreed that participation in the API economy was important.

Participating in the API economy is a top priority for my organization’s strategy.
All responses
59.3%
Yes
17.7%
No, but it will be a priority
23.0%
No
From people who work at organizations in...
Financial Services
67.1%
14.5%
18.4%
Technology (Software/Internet)
61.2%
16.2%
22.6%
Manufacturing
60.0%
18.0%
22.0%
Telecommunications
59.2%
21.1%
19.7%
Healthcare
55.6%
22.2%
22.2%
Professional Services
52.8%
20.8%
26.4%
Government
44.4%
20.0%
35.6%

What kinds of APIs are we using?

Internal APIs were still the most common API type that developers reported working on for their organization. However, compared to our 2020 Developer Surveys, more developers in 2021 reported working on partner-facing or 3rd party APIs.

The percentage of developers who reported working on partner-facing was the most noticeable increase across all categories, increasing by almost 10% from 34.6% to 44.3%. This change was even more dramatic in industries like financial services, which grew by nearly 135%.

What types of APIs do you work on?
74.4%
75.3%(2020)
Internal
−1.2%
from 2020
44.2%
34.6%(2020)
Partner Facing
+27.7%
from 2020
49.0%
47.0%(2020)
Third-Party
+4.3%
from 2020

Are we monetizing APIs?

Developers from industries including financial services, technology, telecommunications, and healthcare reported monetizing APIs at an above average rate. There is also a marked increase in monetization from people who work in organizations that use over 10 APIs.

This growth correlates with the increase in developers who reported working on partner-facing APIs. As we move into 2022, we expect even more organizations will take advantage of the API economy and monetize their APIs.

All responses
40.7%
35.4%(2020)
+15.0%
From people who work at organizations that...
...are in Professional Services
30.3%
28.6%(2020)
+5.9%
...are in Technology (Software/Internet)
42.3%
33.0%(2020)
+28.2%
...are in Healthcare
42.9%
66.7%(2020)
−35.7%
...are in Financial Services
45.0%
48.6%(2020)
−7.4%
...are in Telecommunications
57.8%
55.6%(2020)
+4.0%
...have 10+ Internal APIs
48.1%
42.7%(2020)
+12.6%
...have 10+ External APIs
50.1%
42.7%(2020)
+17.3%
Sell Your First API
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How do APIs scale with organization size?

We found the number of APIs an organization maintains grows with the size of the organization. Nearly 40% of the largest companies we surveyed reported having over 250 internal APIs. This increase mirrors our findings from 2019 and 2020.

Number of Internal APIs that the organization uses
0 to 10
11 to 50
51 to 100
101 to 250
250+
1 to 50
61.7%
24.7%
8.0%
1.7%
3.0%
51 to 200
40.0%
33.8%
15.0%
6.3%
3.3%
201 to 1,000
29.6%
36.0%
21.2%
7.9%
3.7%
1,001 to 5,000
25.0%
29.5%
17.4%
9.1%
12.9%
5,001 to 10,000
15.5%
32.8%
15.5%
15.5%
17.2%
10,000+
11.9%
16.4%
18.2%
11.3%
36.5%
Number of employees in the organization

How important is API testing?

Are we using tools for API testing?
Yes
41.9%
I write tests in my code
36.7%
No, but I plan to
16.6%
No, and I don't plan to
2.0%
No, and I don't know what API testing is
2.8%
What types of API testing are we doing?
Functional Testing
29.5%
Integration Testing
26.8%
Acceptance testing
16.3%
Performance Testing
8.1%
Load Testing
4.5%
Security Testing
4.3%
Workflow Testing
3.6%
Other
4.8%
Learn RapidAPI Testing
Learn about RapidAPI Testing and how you can use it to create and manage tests for your APIs.
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What do we predict for next year?

Developers were not immune from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and staffing challenges continue to disrupt businesses around the globe. Lacking engineers or team members was the top challenge developers predicted for 2022, with over 56.8% of developers anticipating this problem.

We found over half of developers considered leaving their current position. This trend may be indicative of the overall turbulence seen in the job market.

Have you considered leaving your current role for another job?

Yes
54.0%
No
46.0%
Higher compensation or benefits
59.6%
Interested in a specific product or technology
45.3%
Flexible working environment
37.7%
Interested in a specific company or market
25.1%
Opportunity to work with former teammates or friends
16.9%
Company size (larger)
14.4%
Company size (smaller)
5.9%

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Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s RapidAPI Developer Survey! We hope this report gives you insight into the API landscape and emerging technology trends.

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