The who, what, and why of coding

Stack Overflow's developer survey gives us a glimpse into the diversity of the industry, the top programming languages, and top paying technologies.

Photo by: Getty
Photo by: Getty

Getting an early start.

Stack Overflow, the world’s largest community of software developers, has just released its survey results for 2017. Over 64,000 developers took part in the survey. The results shed light on some of the industry's most asked questions.

How long have you been coding?

This question is often asked by people who are thinking of learning to programme. The common misconception that all developers start coding from childhood is debunked here. Of the developers responding, 37 percent started programming only six years ago. Although the survey doesn’t specifically ask the age at which they started, given the data it’s safe to assume that an important number of developers began programming later in life. This trend can be attributed to the growing popularity of online courses and easy access to knowledge in the industry.

51,145 responses; among respondents who indicated they no longer program as part of their job. (Stack Overflow)

How should I learn coding?

Taking online courses is the most recommended way to become a good developer. Some interesting results of the survey are "contributing to open source" and "returning to college." Maybe it’s not such a smart idea to drop out of college.  

Back to college? (Stack Overflow)

What programming language(s) do you use?

The previous question is logically followed by "which programming language should I learn?" Although you shouldn’t start learning a language based solely on its popularity, this list is still useful to see where the industry is headed. JavaScript appears to be the most popular  the reigning king for five consecutive years. SQL and Java follow. It’s interesting to see Python finally overtaking PHP in the ranking.

36,935 responses; select all that apply. Shown as a percentage of the respondents who chose at least one language, framework, database, or platform. (Stack Overflow)

What are the most loved and hated programming languages?

Interestingly, Rust, a relatively unknown language, makes the top of the list, followed closely by SmallTalk and TypeScript. Python is in 6th place  it's not only popular but also loved. It’s also the most wanted programming language in the survey. How about most dreaded? Visual Basic is the top hated. Another interesting language on the list is Matlab, a language specifically used by engineers given its broad toolboxes.

The "most loved" followed by the "most hated":

Percent of developers using the language or technology and have expressed interest in continuing to develop with it. (Stack Overflow)

Percent of developers who have not expressed any desire to continue developing with these languages. (Stack Overflow)

How do developers feel about their jobs?

Apparently, the developers are mostly happy with their jobs. Around 80% reported higher satisfaction than average. The survey also found that after four years of experience, average job satisfaction increased. But the job satisfaction for developers who work in finance, retail, and logistics is lower.

Being a developer. It's a good life. (Stack Overflow)

What is the gender situation?

Software development is a male dominated industry according to the results. Although the website says 10 percent of its visitors are female given the traffic data from Quantcast, the survey shows that only 8 percent of the developers are women, while 89 percent are male.

There's some disparity between the number of male and female developers.(Stack Overflow)

What are the top paying technologies?

Clojure is the top paying technology worldwide with an average median salary of $72,000. However, the trend changes from region to region. For the developers in the US, Go is the top paying job with an average median salary of $110,000. For Germany, it’s Java; and in France, Python.

Median of 12,128 responses. (Stack Overflow)

Which programming languages are growing in popularity?

Python and Node.js are following an upward trend in popularity, while old behemoths like C#, C, PHP and C++ are losing steam and their usage is decreasing.

Languages like Python and Javascript are doing very well.

How do you pronounce GIF?

This is one of the most controversial questions of the survey, creating some divisions in the software community. However, most developers appear to have found the right way to pronounce it, with a hard g.

Hopefully this puts an end to the discussion. 51,008 responses. (Stack Overflow)

What is the ideal environment to code?

Music or Silence? 36,457 responses. (Stack Overflow)

The survey shows that while some developers like to put on the headphones and crank up the music, others prefer the sound of silence.

TRTWorld and agencies