What are high barrier niches that are hard to get into in software


Yes I do what to get idea if this is the question , what are not crowded niches that are hard to get into for single developer or team of 2?
In software industry


asked Oct 18 '10 at 01:14
238 points

6 Answers


Ironically Cobol programming is such a niche. Lots of big companies (like banks) are stuck with old Cobol programs that are so expensive to replace. In this niche, you cannot get in by simply offering a fancy new solution, you need to work with what they have, and maybe help them migrate to cheaper solutions. I believe this field is extemely lucrative as some banks are really in a desperate situation.

answered Oct 18 '10 at 04:45
1,567 points
  • There is a book called Glitch talking about exactly that. Very interesting stuff you can listen to an interview with the author here: http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail4677.htmlThom Pete 13 years ago
  • yeah i know cobol is also great niche , but again i dont know any thing about it – Meir 13 years ago
  • @Meir, you asked where the niches are yet you did not tell us your qualifications. If you don't want suggestions outside of your expertise, please update your question. However, don't cut yourself off from things you don't yet know. You could, after all, learn COBOL if you have learned other languages. – Kenneth Vogt 13 years ago


Also, the mainframe world in general is hard to enter, I believe as the equipment is expensive.

Also anything related to expensive software (like the software from IBM) is quite hard to reach. Say for example that you developed something for Informix.

answered Oct 18 '10 at 05:28
1,567 points
  • mainframe is great niche as i heard but i dont know any think about it – Meir 13 years ago


Aviation/Transport, Medical and Defense software have high barriers to entry - perhaps not technologically, but because of the regulation and process involved.


answered Oct 18 '10 at 10:03
Tim J
8,346 points


  • Any software related to government (military, space exploration).
  • Any software that require high research budgets (protein simulation, pharmaceutics, aerospace simulations...)
  • Any software that require long sales cycle (1year).
answered Oct 18 '10 at 23:33
2,288 points
  • hehe .. well i must add for single developer – Meir 13 years ago
  • One developer or not the end user of you software do not care. It meter only for you. Niches are not organized by the number of developers. – Ross 13 years ago


I would say

Prediction software. Like finding weak signals that indicate a trend before it's a trend.

Another area which is a darling of mine is what I call The Ghost Protocol http://000fff.org/the-ghost-protocol-digital-identity-for-immortals/ which is basically about building mirror versions of yourself, logging everything we do and create a digital "ghost" so to speak. This could be used in most forms of identificiation, reputation and automation.

answered Oct 18 '10 at 06:00
Thom Pete
1,296 points
  • I am in the business of prediction software, it is crowded like hell. – Ross 13 years ago
  • Well I guess it depends on what kind of prediction we are talking about no? – Thom Pete 13 years ago
  • "Like finding weak signals that indicate a trend before it's a trend." – Ross 13 years ago


High-barrier isn't the same as niche.

Doing business with the Federal/State/Local/K-12 government can be painful for the clueless. But if you understand what the target government's needs and priorities are, and understand the procurement process, that can work in your favor too.

Many companies disqualify themselves from a huge market or limit themselves to niche status because they are too lazy to do some paperwork or partner with other companies..

answered Oct 19 '10 at 02:18
298 points
  • Well said, Many startup business owner don't know how to partner with other companies either they are not confident or lack of funds to hire a lawyer to form partnership. I'm also limited to a niche because I don't have enough funds. I suggest to focus on on niche first and soon you have enough money to enter in another niche just do it (do some basic search for potential & growth). Correct me if I'm wrong. – Kashish 13 years ago

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