2019 Stack Overflow survey: A quick overview

5 min read

The results of the 2019 Stack Overflow survey have just been published: 90,000 developers took the 20-minute survey this year. The survey shed light on some very interesting insights – from the developers’ preferred language for programming, to the development platform they hate the most, to the blockers to developer productivity.

As the survey is quite detailed and comprehensive, here’s a quick look at the most important takeaways.

Key highlights from the Stack Overflow Survey

Programming languages

Python again emerged as the fastest-growing programming language, a close second behind Rust. Interestingly, Python and Typescript achieved the same votes with almost 73% respondents saying it was their most loved language. Python was the most voted language developers wanted to learn next and JavaScript remains the most used programming language. The most dreaded languages were VBA and Objective C.

Stack Overflow Survey 2019 languages

Source: Stack Overflow

Frameworks and databases in the Stack Overflow survey

Developers preferred using React.js and Vue.js web frameworks while dreaded Drupal and jQuery. Redis was voted as the most loved database and MongoDB as the most wanted database. MongoDB’s inclusion in the list is surprising considering its controversial Server Side Public License. Over the last few months, Red Hat dropped support for MongoDB over this license, so did GNU Health Federation. Both of these organizations choose PostgreSQL over MongoDB, which is one of the reasons probably why PostgreSQL was the second most loved and wanted database of Stack Overflow Survey 2019.

Stack Overflow Survey 2019 database

Source: Stack Overflow

It’s interesting to see WebAssembly making its way in the popular technology segment as well as one of the top paying technologies. Respondents who use Clojure, F#, Elixir, and Rust earned the highest salaries Stackoverflow also did a new segment this year called “Blockchain in the real world” which gives insight into the adoption of Blockchain. Most respondents (80%) on the survey said that their organizations are not using or implementing blockchain technology.

Stack Overflow Survey 2019 blockchain

Source: Stack Overflow

Developer lifestyles and learning

About 80% of our respondents say that they code as a hobby outside of work and over half of respondents had written their first line of code by the time they were sixteen, although this experience varies by country and by gender. For instance, women wrote their first code later than men and non-binary respondents wrote code earlier than men. About one-quarter of respondents are enrolled in a formal college or university program full-time or part-time. Of professional developers who studied at the university level, over 60% said they majored in computer science, computer engineering, or software engineering.

DevOps specialists and site reliability engineers are among the highest paid, most experienced developers most satisfied with their jobs, and are looking for new jobs at the lowest levels. The survey also noted that developers who are system admins or DevOps specialists are 25-30 times more likely to be men than women.
Chinese developers are the most optimistic about the future while developers in Western European countries like France and Germany are among the least optimistic.

Developers also overwhelmingly believe that Elon Musk will be the most influential person in tech in 2019. With more than 30,000 people responding to a free text question asking them who they think will be the most influential person this year, an amazing 30% named Tesla CEO Musk. For perspective, Jeff Bezos was in second place, being named by ‘only’ 7.2% of respondents.

Although, this year the US survey respondents proportion of women, went up from 9% to 11%, it’s still a slow growth and points to problems with inclusion in the tech industry in general and on Stack Overflow in particular.

When thinking about blockers to productivity, different kinds of developers report different challenges. Men are more likely to say that being tasked with non-development work is a problem for them, while gender minority respondents are more likely to say that toxic work environments are a problem.

Stack Overflow survey demographics and diversity challenges

This report is based on a survey of 88,883 software developers from 179 countries around the world. It was conducted between January 23 to February 14 and the median time spent on the survey for qualified responses was 23.3 minutes. The majority of survey respondents this year were people who said they are professional developers or who code sometimes as part of their work, or are students preparing for such a career. Majority of them were from the US, India, China and Europe.

Stack Overflow acknowledged that their results did not represent racial disparities evenly and people of color continue to be underrepresented among developers. This year nearly 71% of respondents continued to be of White or European descent, a slight improvement from last year (74%). The survey notes that, “In the United States this year, 22% of respondents are people of color; last year 19% of United States respondents were people of color.” This clearly signifies that a lot of work is still needed to be done particularly for people of color, women, and underrepresented groups. Although, last year in August, Stack Overflow revamped its Code of Conduct to include more virtues around kindness, collaboration, and mutual respect. It also updated  its developers salary calculator to include 8 new countries.

Go through the full report to learn more about developer salaries, job priorities, career values, the best music to listen to while coding, and more.

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Content Marketing Editor at Packt Hub. I blog about new and upcoming tech trends ranging from Data science, Web development, Programming, Cloud & Networking, IoT, Security and Game development.