Rust, React, JavaScript, Python top Stack Overflow survey

More than 50 percent of survey respondents have been coding for five years or fewer

Rust, React, JavaScript, Python top Stack Overflow survey
TNS Sofres (CC BY 2.0)

There may be a perception in some circles that software developers have been busy coding since childhood. But online programming community Stack Overflow in its recent developer survey found many coders have been coming aboard much later.

The annual survey, which had 64,000 developers participating worldwide in January and February, uncovered a wide range of experience levels. Thanks to online courses and coding boot camps, adults with little to no programming experience can now more easily transition to a career as a developer, Stack Overflow said. Slightly more than 50 percent of respondents had been coding professionally for about five years or fewer, while just 7.5 percent were coding for 20 years or more.

"What we do see is developers love what they do in way that most people don't," said Jay Hanlon, vice president of community product at Stack Overflow, which overall was surprised by its findings pertaining to experience. He did add that the numbers might be skewed, with younger developers more likely to participate in the survey.

The survey covered a range of topics, ranging from employment to preferred and disdained software development technologies. Stack Overflow found that only 13.1 percent of developers were actively looking for a job, but 75.2 percent were interested in hearing about new job opportunities. The opportunity to work remotely was rated a big plus by developers, with 53.3 percent calling it a top priority. Many developers felt they were underpaid, with 11.6 percent of respondents saying they were greatly underpaid and 44.9 percent believing they were somewhat underpaid.

If developers want to make the most money, the technology to learn worldwide is Clojure, a Lisp dialect for the JVM, the survey found. In the United States, Google's Go and Scala can yield the highest paychecks. "Globally, developers who use Clojure in their jobs have the highest average salary at $72,000," Stack Overflow said. Rust followed at $65,714. "In the U.S., developers who use Go as well as developers who use Scala are highest paid, with an average salary of $110,000."

Stack Overflow also asked developers about which languages they are using, as well as which ones they like and dislike. JavaScript (62.5 percent), SQL (51.2 ), and Java (39.7) remain the most commonly used programming languages. But Rust, with 73.1 percent of users wanting to keep working with it, was the most loved language, followed by SmallTalk (67), and TypeScript (64.1). "This means that proportionally, more developers wanted to continue working with [Rust] than any other language," the report stated. "Swift, last year's second most popular language, ranked as fourth." 

The most wanted languages were Python (20.8 percent), JavaScript (18.6), and Go (13.5). "Python shot to the most-wanted language this year (as in, the language developers want to use this year more than any other), after ranking fourth last year," Stack Overflow said. Hanlon cited Python's usage in data science and its interest among developers as boosting its popularity. The list of most dreaded languages -- the ones developers are currently using but want to drop -- was headed by Visual Basic 6 (88.3 percent), followed by VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) and CoffeeScript.

The most loved frameworks, meanwhile, were Facebook's React (66.9 percent), Node.js (62.1), and Microsoft's .Net Core (60.9). Node.js also took the title of most wanted framework (22.2), followed by Angular (19.4), and React (18.9). The most dreaded frameworks were Cordova (61.2), Xamarin (51.3), and Hadoop (51.2).

When it came to types of developers, Stack Overflow found 72.6 percent of respondents were developing for the web, 28.9 percent built desktop applications, 23 percent were mobile developers, and 14.4 percent classified themselves as database administrators.

One lopsided statistic Stack Overflow found again pertained to gender: 88.6 percent of respondents were male, 7.6 percent were female, and 2.6 percent classified themselves as other, gender nonconforming, or transgender. Still, the percentage of female participants was better than last year, when females accounted for 5.6 percent of respondents.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

How to choose a low-code development platform