My Thoughts on the Stack Overflow 2018 Developer Survey Results

This was my first year participating in the Stack Overflow 2018 Developer survey. I love lending my voice to causes or for research or feedback, so I took great joy in filling it out. Over 100,000 persons participated this year. The results are finally out, and I’m intrigued, to say the least. Here are the ones that stood out to me or appealed the most:

Developer Profile

1. The tech industry is still predominantly male

I knew that there was a gap but I had no idea that the gap was so significant. The survey results reported that only 6.8% of the respondents identified as female, which was much lower than my estimations. That said, I’m glad that there are more initiatives in place to bridge the gap and add more women to the tech workforce. Coding bootcamps are helping to do their part by offering scholarships or discounts to women in tech. Startups such as FutureFunded, who I am proud to be involved with as an aspirant, are also doing their part to raise funds for women in tech to study the coding program of their dreams. So in short, I believe that these initiatives should help to reduce the gap over time.

2. Blacks are quite underrepresented in the tech community

Another disappointing statistic was to see the low representation of blacks or persons of African descent in the tech industry. Whilst persons of European descent predominated at 74.2%, followed by persons of South Asian descent at 11.5%, persons of African descent were a very low 2.8%. Even lower were those of Native American descent at 0.8%. There is clear diversity problem in the tech community, one that I hope is overcome in the coming years.

3. The majority of respondents are between 25-34 years old, and at least have up to their Bachelor’s degree

Yay, that’s my age bracket! It’s nice to see my age bracket so well-represented, and makes me feel like I’m not so late to the party after all. It also turned out that a lot of people at least have up to their first degree, which so happens to be in Computer Science. I guess it seems that most people still prefer to go the traditional route in becoming a developer, which means completing their formal education. But for the people who have chosen to switch careers, more people are choosing to take up a coding bootcamp to gain the skills their peers have in much less time.

4. Respondents prefer to call themselves back-end, full-stack and front-end developers, in that order

I actually thought that I would see more people refer to themselves as full-stack developers! Instead, it seems like a lot of people prefer to work in the back-end, which means they like working with databases and server-side technology. Front-end developers, on the other hand, prefer to work on the client side of things, using HTML, CSS and JavaScript or other programming languages to build attractive, functional interfaces that users will enjoy. Whereas, for me, it gives me great joy to operate both on front-end and back-end, or client-side and server-side.

5. The majority of respondents don’t typically exercise

To be honest, this one wasn’t surprising. This is a very sedentary type of career, and I’m already no stranger to that kind of lifestyle. That said, I feel like staring at a computer for several hours at a time isn’t healthy, although I have an alarmingly good ability of being able to focus and sit still for several hours. Lately I’ve been trying to exercise more by doing yoga and jogging. These two types of exercise agree with me the most. Yoga relaxes and centres me, while jogging helps me to go outside, reconnect with nature and get some fresh air.

Technology

1. JavaScript is still the most popular programming language (#sorrynotsorry)

I’m glad to see that JavaScript is still in the lead for the most popular programming language. Sure, JavaScript has become a rather fragmented language, where developers are expected to know how to use a wide range of frameworks and libraries to stay competitive, but this is just the reality of the situation, and one that I’m okay with.

2. Node.js, Angular and React are the most popular JavaScript technologies used

Yes, there are a lot of JavaScript frameworks and libraries out there. But it won’t hurt to at least know these three popular technologies used. And luckily, my school Codeworks teaches all of these.

3. MySQL is the most commonly used database

I’m glad to see that MySQL is still very popular. I’d still like to get to know PostGreDB, MongoDB and MariaDB, but I’m glad to know that I’m already quite comfortable and familiar with using the most commonly used database.

4. Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is the most popular IDE for programming

This one stuck out to me because I actually thought that Sublime Text 3 would be far more popular! Instead it landed in 4th place! That said, I do find that VS Code is a quite a lovely Integrated Development Environment, or IDE. As long as anyone’s IDE does the job that they require, this does not really matter.

5. The majority of respondents still use Windows Operating System

This finding was rather interesting to me, because I (incorrectly) assumed that Mac and Linux were by far the most popular operating systems used in web development. But I guess it’s whatever works for people and what they’re comfortable with. That said, I know it’s not uncommon for developers to use machines running both Windows and Linux operating systems. I’m just now biased to using Mac because I’ve gotten accustomed to using it for my music production and can’t look back.

Work

1. The majority of developers either work full-time or are self-employed

Once I’ve completed the software engineering program at Codeworks, my first goal is to work full-time at a company whose business is tied to one of my passions, such as travel & hospitality, wearables, food & drink and music. Or at the very least, I’d love to work in a company with a vibrant, passionate staff and a friendly work culture. If I can’t work full-time, then I will work as a freelancer, and work towards my next goal of owning my own startup. It’s therefore very encouraging to see that the majority of developers fall into the same boat as well, working either full-time or as freelancers.

2. Developers change jobs frequently

Developers typically change jobs within a year or two. That’s a lot of dynamism to me, but I hope the upside to that is that it keeps developers on their toes, makes their jobs more exciting and full of variety, and introduces them to a breadth of experience.

3. Developers experience moderate to extreme job and career satisfaction

After experiencing only slight job satisfaction at my current job, it’s encouraging to see that developers experience a great deal of career and job satisfaction. I’m already satisfied and my journey has only begun! I really hope that never changes for me 🙂


I hope you enjoyed reading my takeaway from this year’s Stack Overflow survey results! You can find the full results here if you’d like to see more.

I am a full-stack web developer based in Trinidad and Tobago.

I create and build clean, user-friendly and beautiful websites and applications.

Check out my projects to see what I can do for you.

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