Generative AI at work
4 min read

For the last 4 years at Packt we’ve been running Skill Up – a survey that aims to capture everything that’s important to the developer world when it comes to work and learning.

Today we’ve published the results of our 2019 survey. In it, you’ll find a wealth of insights based on data from more than 4,500 respondents from 118 countries.

Key findings in Packt’s 2019 developer survey

Over the next few weeks we’ll be doing a deeper dive into some of the issues raised. But before we get started, below are are some of the key findings and takeaways from this year’s report. Some confirm assumptions about the tech industry that have been around for some time while others might actually surprise you…

Python remains the most in-demand programming language

This one wasn’t that surprising – Python’s popularity has come through in every Skill Up since 2015. But what was interesting is that this year’s findings were able to illustrate that Python’s popularity isn’t confined to a specific group – across age groups, salary bands and even developers using different primary programming languages, Python is regarded as a vital part of the software engineers toolkit.

What programming language do developers want to learn next?

Containerization is impacting the way all developers work

We know containers are popular. Docker has been a core part of the engineering landscape for the last half a decade or so. But this year’s Skill Up survey not only confirms that fact, it also highlights that the influence of containerization is far-reaching.

Generative AI at work

Read next: 6 signs you need containers

This could well indicate that the gap between development and deployment is getting smaller, with developers today more likely than ever to be accountable for how their code actually runs in production. As one respondent told us, “I want to become more well-rounded, and I believe enhancing my DevOps arsenal is a great way to start.”

The tools developers most want to learn in 2019

Not everyone is using cloud

Cloud is a big change for the software industry. But we should be cautious about overestimating the extent to which it is actually being used by developers – in this year’s survey 47% of respondents said they don’t use any cloud platforms.

Do developers use cloud?

Perhaps we shouldn’t be that surprised – many respondents are working in areas like government and healthcare that require strict discipline when it comes to privacy and data protection and are (not unrelatedly) known for being a little slow to adopt emerging technology trends.

Similarly, the growth of the PaaS market means that many developers and other technology professionals are using cloud based products alongside their work, rather than developing in a way that is strictly ‘cloud-native’.

Almost half of all developers spend time learning every day

Learning is an essential part of what it means to be a developer. In this year’s survey we saw what that means in practice with around 50% of respondents telling us that they spend time learning every single day.

A further 30% also said they spend time at least once a week learning something. This leaves us wondering – what the hell is everyone else doing if they’re not learning?

How much time do developers spend learning?

As the graph above highlights, those in the lowest and highest salary bands are most likely to spend time learning every day.

Java is the programming language developers are most likely to regret learning

When we asked respondents what tools they regret learning, many said they didn’t regret anything. However, for those that do have regrets, Java was the tool that was mentioned the most.

What tools do developers regret learning?

There are a numbert of reasons for this, but Oracle’s decision to focus on enterprise Java and withdrawing support for OpenJDK is undoubtedly important in creating a degree of uncertainty around the language.

Among those that said they regret learning Java there is a sense that the language is simply going out of date. One respondent called it “the COBOL of modern programming.”

Blockchain is over hyped and failing to deliver on expectations

It has long been suspected that Blockchain is being overhyped – and now we can confirm that feeling across developers, with 38% saying it has failed to deliver against expectations over the last 12 months.

What technology trends are failing to deliver?


One respondent told us that they “couldn’t get any gigs despite building blockchain apps” suggesting that despite capitals’ apparent hunger for all things Blockchain, the market isn’t quite as big as the hype-merchants would have us believe.

We’ll be throwing the spotlight on these issues and many more over the next few weeks. So make sure you check the Packt Hub for more insights and updates. In the meantime, you can read the report in full by downloading it here.

Generative AI at work
Co-editor of the Packt Hub. Interested in politics, tech culture, and how software and business are changing each other.