What We Can Learn From the 2017 Stack Overflow Developer Survey

Stack Overflow recently released the results of their 2017 Stack Overflow Developer Survey. While some of the results aren’t surprising, let’s take a look at what we can learn from the over 64,000 developers who filled it out.

Programming Languages
For the fifth straight year, JavaScript is the most popular programming language in the world. TypeScript made its way into the top 10 this year for the first time. Here is the full list of the top 10:

  1. JavaScript (62.5%)
  2. SQL (51.2%)
  3. Java (39.7%)
  4. C# (34.1%)
  5. Python (32.0%)
  6. PHP (28.1%)
  7. C++ (22.3%
  8. C (19.0%)
  9. TypeScript (9.5%)
  10. Ruby (9.1%)

The most “loved” programming language or technology (meaning developers have used it and want to continue to use it) are Rust, Smalltalk, TypeScript, Swift, and Go (in that order). Visual Basic was reported as the most “dreaded” for the second year in a row. Most dreaded refers to the highest percentage of developers who are currently using a language but who have no interest in continuing to use it.

The language that developers want to use above all others is Python, followed by JavaScript, Go, C++, Java, TypeScript, C#, Swift, Ruby, and Rust.

Frameworks/Libraries/Other Technologies
Node.js was the most popular framework/library, with Angular not far behind. .NET Core is making tremendous strides in popularity.

Most Popular Framework/Library

The most widely used databases by developers are:

  • MySQL (55.6%)
  • SQL Server (38.6%)
  • SQLite (26.6%)
  • PostgreSQL (26.5%)
  • MongoDB (21.0%)
  • Oracle (16.5%)
  • Redis (14.1%)
  • Cassandra (3.1%)

The most used platform among developers who took the survey were Windows Desktop (41.0%), Linux Desktop (32.9%), Android (28.2%), Amazon Web Services (28.1%), and Mac OS (18.4%).

Checking In Code
52.6% of respondents check in code multiple times per day, 21.5% check in a couple of times per week, 9.6% check in once per day, and 8.3% check in only a few times per month. Most of the developers surveyed preferred shipping quickly versus making it perfect the first time, which can explain why the majority of developers prefer checking in code frequently.

Development Environments
For web developers, the following are the most popular development environments (IDEs, text editors, etc.):

Most Popular Web Developer Environments

The top desktop developer environments were Visual Studio, Notepad++, Visual Studio Code, Eclipse, Vim, and Sublime Text.

Tech Gender Gap
The tech gender gap comes as no surprise, with 88.6% of the respondents being men. This is slightly lower than last year’s percentage of 92.8%. Data scientists, mobile/web developers, quality assurance engineers, and graphic designers were the highest reported occupations among women.

Developer Type
When asked what type of developer they are, respondents reported “Web Developer” more than any other type.

Developer Type

Of those who responded that they were “web developers”, more people (63.7%) think of themselves as full stack developers than any other type of web developer. 24.4% classify themselves as “back-end developres” while 11.9% are “front-end developers”.

66.2% of current developers have received a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree. The highest reported undergraduate major was computer science or software engineering. A decent percentage (32%) believe that formal education was either not very important or not important at all to their success as developers.

And whether developers have a formal degree or not, 90% of all developers say that they are, at least in part, self-taught. Online courses, on-the-job training, open source contributions, hackathons, coding competitions, part-time/evening courses, industry certifications, and bootcamps were other types of education used by developers to gain new skills.

The top paying technologies in the U.S. are:

  • Go ($110,000)
  • Scala ($110,000)
  • Objective-C ($109,000)
  • CoffeeScript ($105,500)
  • Perl ($105,000)
  • C++ ($100,890)
  • C ($100,000)
  • R ($100,000)
  • Swift ($100,000)
  • TypeScript ($100,000)

Worldwide, the results were slightly different:

  1. Clojure
  2. Rust
  3. Elixir
  4. F#
  5. Go
  6. Perl
  7. Groovy
  8. Ruby
  9. Scala
  10. R

Besides salary, the following are what developers value in compensation/benefits:

What Developers Value in Compensation/Benefits

Wrapping Up
JavaScript continues to be the most popular language in the world, something that will certainly continue in the next year. The use of Windows as the operating system of choice among developers continues to decline. More developers check in code multiple times per day than any other frequency, in part due to the desire to ship software quickly over getting it perfect the first time.

The tech gender gap continues, with an overwhelming and disproportionate percentage of developers being men. More developers identify themselves as “web developers” than any other occupation, followed by desktop applications developer and mobile developer. Most developers gain at least some of their knowledge by being self taught, although 66.2% of developers have completed some type of formal degree.

It will be interesting to see what existing trends continue and what new trends emerge in the next Stack Overflow Developer survey.