Big Code in the AI era

The Big Code problem is a rapidly growing crisis for developers, engineering leaders, and companies today because of the real threat it presents not only to tech innovation, but also to the stability and security of digital products consumers use every day.

Developers are struggling more than ever with issues around tech debt, maintenance, collaboration, and scalability. The overnight AI boom means Big Code pains are only getting worse:


Big Code’s getting bigger.

77% of devs say their codebase grew 5x over the past three years.


Devs aren’t writing code.

Only 14% of devs’ time is actually spent writing new code for core products. The rest is spent trying to search, understand, and fix code.


AI brings innovation–and headaches.

73% of devs already struggle with code created by someone else that is difficult to understand. This number will only go up with the rise of AI.

Only 65% of devs say their company has a plan to address Big Code.

Big • Code noun

Referring to the size and complexity of codebases, containing millions of lines of code, making it challenging to manage and understand without the aid of specialized tools and techniques. Without a plan to address Big Code, companies face increasing complexity, higher development costs, and most significantly, slowed innovation.

We can’t ignore the Big Code problem anymore.



Are blocked more frequently due to the growing size of their codebase.



Say they wish they could spend less time looking for information or old code and more time actually coding.



Struggle to maintain efficiency.

The AI era is here and no one has a plan.

76% of developers are excited about the rise of dev tools powered by AI, but there are still big concerns around AI and its impact on Big Code:

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61% are concerned about AI’s impact on tech debt.

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67% of respondents expressed concern about code sprawl due to the growth of AI.

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76% are worried about the amount of new code will be created that will then need to be managed.

The Big Code struggle is real.



Need help getting up to speed and stay on top of the codebase significantly faster.



Want to be able to ID and resolve code issues more efficiently.



Would save a significant amount of time if their codebase was fully searchable across all sources and repos.



Want a tool that would allow them to have a greater output with fewer people and resources.

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To create our Big Code Report, we rely on survey data gathered anonymously by Ground Control Research. The respondents are developers and engineering leaders that vary in experience levels across several engineering disciplines. The respondents work at companies that span all major industries with at least 1,000 employees.