Wanted: Female developers
One of the more disheartening findings of the Stack Overflow report is that its developer audience tilts almost exclusively male -- 92.8 percent. Only 5.8 percent identified as female, with "other" and "prefer not to disclose" making up the difference. It's almost the same breakdown as previous year's survey.
The skew of occupations for female developers is also notable, with the largest category being "designer" (12.4 percent) rather than anything with "developer" or "programmer" in the title. The largest such category is "mobile developer (Android)" at 8.7 percent.
The age breakdown for female developers is striking as well, with women aged 30-40 making up the smallest part of that pool. Most were 20-29, or 50 and up -- one sign that women flourished far more as developers in previous generations than in the current one.
Not much of the survey's data was cross-tabulated by gender, though. It would have been interesting to see, for instance, if men and women acquired their developer knowledge differently -- via self-teaching (the vast majority overall at 69.1 percent), on-the-job training, a degree, an online course, and so on.
Don't fence me in
Another revealing section of the survey involved the respondent's jobs and their attitudes toward same.
Most (67.8 percent) had a full-time position, listing salaries (62.7 percent) and work-life balance (50.4 percent) as being their top concerns. They also wanted to learn skills on the job (70.1 percent) or "build something new" (64.3 percent), but relatively few were interested in amenities like having one's own office. That last point, at 17.7 percent, was outstripped by the freedom of telecommuting (24.9 percent).
Few developers worked entirely alone: 96 percent of them were on a team of some kind. The most common lone wolves didn't have an easy fit for an existing job title ("Other" at 6.5 percent), with sys admins running a close second (6.4 percent).
Finally, developers hate being asked to do the impossible. The biggest work challenge cited by developers was "unrealistic expectations," at 34.9 percent. Two other common developer bugaboos, bad documentation (34.7 percent) and too-vague requirements (33.5 percent), also ranked high. The issues varied with experience; more experienced developers cited unrealistic expectations and fragile code bases (as high as 29.6 percent) far more often than newbies.