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Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2019 Takeaways

Stack Overflow released the results for their Developer Survey for 2019 and I’ve been poring over them all morning! The annual survey provides a great look at what developers around the world are working in, care about, or generally hold strong opinions on. (I know. That seems so out of character for software engineers.) With nearly 90,000 developers weighing in on the multitude of topics, it’s an incredible resource on everything from the rising and falling popularity of programming languages to how fast different genders feel they finally overcome imposter syndrome. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting takeaways that I’ve read so far!


These Pythons are Sick!

Image result for python logo

This is not an enemy in an early 90’s dungeon crawler. It’s the actual old Python logo.

Python continues to rise through the ranks of programming languages, clocking in as the second most loved language (just behind Rust). This year, Python overcame Java after it bested C# and PHP, respectively, in the two prior annual surveys. Javascript, for the 7th year in a row, claimed the top spot with 69.7% of respondents saying that they worked with it on a regular basis. Clojure came in at second to last in commonly used languages, possibly explaining how it placed near the top of languages commanding the highest salaries with an average US salary of $139K yearly.

Praise JavaScript with these Impostafarians!

As an ex-instructor for coding bootcamp students, I’ve spent an incredible amount of time trying to help students entering the workforce fight against imposter syndrome. While those afflicted by this self-doubt are generally newer in their careers, it follows even the best and brightest of us when we switch positions or start to work outside of our comfort zones. I’ve found that the best means of helping new developers overcome this feeling of inadequacy is to illustrate to them that even developers with years of experience still face the pain of imposter syndrome.


Stack Overflow 2019 Developer Survey™

In the survey, respondents were asked to evaluate themselves for their years of experience versus considering themselves above average coders. Interestingly enough, most developers didn’t consider themselves above average until at least 5 years into their career, with women and non-binary coders taking nearly twice that time for the majority to feel like they were better than average. Without going into the clear and obvious disparity between men and their counterparts, which absolutely presents an issue that should be highlighted and brought into a larger discussion elsewhere, this should be a good indicator to those starting their career that their feelings of imposter syndrome are not unique to them.

DevOptimism

DevOps specialists and site reliability engineers reported that they are among the highest paid and most satisfied with their jobs, while not surprisingly also being among the lowest number of engineers looking for new positions. In modern applications with a user base that rely on its services daily, downtime will quickly spell disaster. As a result, these have become some of the most sought after and financially rewarding positions in the industry. Our own DevOps guru, David Thorman, has decided to celebrate by buying a small island.

Hack to the Future!

Image result for back to the future license plate

One of the more interesting questions asked in this survey was outlook towards the future, in terms of general positivity, of developers in different countries. Specifically, whether people born today would have a better life than their parents. The question came about because of a yearly Gallup poll with the same inquiry that, last year, found that 61% of people in the United States believed that the outlook of the future generation was positive. This was the highest number in the Gallup poll since 2010, and the Stack Overflow results mirrored that exactly, with 61.1% of developers from the US replying they also viewed the future outlook as positive. China topped the list of countries where developers believed that children born today would live a better life than their parents with 81%, while France, Germany, Italy, and a handful of other Western European countries rounded out the bottom of the list.

Your Musk is Intoxicating

To the surprise of no one, Elon Musk was the dominant answer to the question, “What individual person will have the most influence in tech this year?” Coming in at 30.2% of votes, he was the highest submitted answer by a large margin, with Jeff Bezos placing as runner up at 7.2%. This question was posed as a text-free field, so joke answers like ‘me’ or ‘myself’ also placed high in the rankings (although who’s to say they’re wrong.). Only one woman placed in the top 25 of names submitted: Lisa Su, the CEO of AMD.

New Kids on the Productivity Block

Another question that highlighted the disparity in answers between genders was about productivity blockers at work. While all respondents agreed that a distracting work environment was the biggest challenge to productivity, women and non-binary developers said that a toxic work environment was a bigger problem for them than their male counterparts. Men answered that being tasked with non-development work was the second biggest hinderance for their work productivity.

Another separation of workplace concerns between the genders was the most important job factors when taking on a new position. Responders were asked to decide between two jobs with the same compensation, benefits, and location, and consider which characteristics would most influence their choice between the two. Men responded that their biggest deciding factor was the languages, frameworks and technologies they would be tasked to work on. Both women and non-binary responders answered that office environment or company culture was the largest factor in deciding between the two. A good indicator that these issues are still prevalent in the tech world and an example of how men have not experienced these issues as challenges.


All in all, this survey provides a great look at the future of software development and the people that make up its population. Here at Kloudless, we like to think that we have our finger on the pulse of developer needs, and a lot of these findings help us to better cater our product towards the non-citizen integrator. We’ve recently released SDKs in some of the most popular languages documented above, effectively giving a wider range of codebases the ability to integrate with our Unified APIs. Our back end is built in Python, so it’s nice to see that snake-cased, object-oriented, little serpent only grow in popularity. We also operate as an international company, with an office in Taipei, so we are especially happy to see so many developers from around the globe reflected in this survey.

I’d suggest that anyone with a few minutes to spare go check the survey out and formulate your own opinions on its veritable cavalcade of interesting questions and answers. If you find anything you’d like to discuss with us, please shoot us a line at hello@kloudless.com and let us know!

Published By

David Hallinan

David Hallinan is an Integration Strategist and Head of Content at Kloudless. He enjoys painting, JavaScript, vintage synths, drum machines and forcing his sports allegiances on his children.

View all posts by David Hallinan