Stack Overflow survey results: which programming languages ​​are more popular, and for which more pay

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Each year, the Stack Overflow site conducts a survey of developers, collecting data on a variety of issues: from the relationship to remote work to the IDE used. Tens of thousands of people take part in it, so that the sample size does not complain. Last week there were results for 2019, and we decided to sort out interesting numbers from there.

First you need to make a reservation. “Large sample” does not automatically mean “representative”, it may have its own distortions. And if you look at the results, strange jumps are noticeable: for example, last year 29% of respondents reported the presence of children, and in this 39%. It hardly means that a giant baby boom happened in IT in a year – rather, something turned out to be different with sampling or methodology.

Therefore, from the survey results it is worth making not detailed conclusions, but general ones. If the list of popularity of the language X is one line higher than the language Y, it is not necessary to speak confidently about its superiority, the difference may be accidental. But if these lines are the second and third, you can confidently say “both languages ​​are very popular.”

And although it is easiest to discuss the changes compared to last year (“see, TypeScript bypassed C”), in fact, what has not changed is more significant. Changes can be a one-time fluctuation, but if something is confirmed year after year, it is more like a real situation. Therefore, we first considered the constant things, and then went to the “news”.

Eternal values

There is no particular surprise that JavaScript was once again called the most popular programming language. But the Stack Overflow survey is interesting because it is not limited to the question “what languages ​​do developers use?”, But is also set by:

  • what languages ​​do you want to continue to use? (this is how the list of “favorite ones” is formed)
  • what do you want to stop using? (“Hated”)
  • what you want to start using? (“The most desirable”)

And if JavaScript has no competitors in the list of the most sought-after ones, it is far from the “most beloved” from the top that Rust ranks for the fourth year in a row. This is more interesting: you can hear about Rust much less often and its victory is much less obvious.

Perhaps the low popularity of the language here helps: it is used only by those who really want it, so almost all the reviews are from the language enthusiasts, making it “the most beloved.” But from JavaScript it is difficult to hide, even disgruntled developers use it willy-nilly, and their negative reviews worsen the statistics.

The list of “hated” shows that developers want to run away from Legacy: among what they want to stop using, in recent years, Visual Basic 6, COBOL, and the like have turned out. And the leader of the “most desirable” list (that is, “I don’t use it yet, but I would like to”) is not for the first year in a row Python.

In addition to these lists, there is also a “salary”: developers in which languages ​​are paid more. The authors give it with cautious wording “which languages ​​are associated with high wages,” and also stipulates that much depends on the region (for the United States provide some data, but for Russia there is no) But still curious: which language is most profitable to learn?

There is no single sustainable leader (this year the first place in the world is at Clojure, and in the USA – by Scala; a year ago, F # was the world leader, and American – Erlang). But on these four names one can notice a single steady trend: functional languages ​​turn out to be the most highly paid ones. It seems that in their case the shortage of personnel is especially high.

If, after the previous paragraph, you dropped everything and frantically drove Google’s request for an online course on functional programming, first look at another factor that unites all four of these languages: none of them are among the ten most popular. This means that salaries can be high, but the list of possible jobs will be very limited.

For example, at the time of writing this text, HeadHunter found one open job vacancy in Moscow for a Clojure developer. Since Scala is doing better, there is at least a score, but JavaScript is very far in any case.

Most popular development environments

And what besides languages?

Curious is the distribution “which OS the developer uses as the main one on his computer”. Approximately half of it sits on Windows, the other half is almost equally divided between macOS and Linux.

This is a good opportunity to correct erroneous impressions: if you look at external signs like “which laptops speakers speak at IT conferences,” it may seem that the Macbook is the majority in development.

The list of “most popular development environments” is headed by Visual Studio Code. It probably helps that this editor is used for completely different languages, and that it is often used “in addition” to the main IDE.

And the second line is Visual Studio, so Microsoft managed to take both leading positions at once. Does this mean that all other companies are infinitely behind? Not really: the list includes a number of IDEs on the IntelliJ platform from JetBrains (IDEA, PyCharm, PhpStorm, RubyMine, Android Studio), so the total audience in their case is also high.

80% of respondents said they code not only for work, but also as a hobby. However, most of them put almost nothing in open access. Most often, those who write in languages ​​like Rust and Clojure contribute. Apparently, when you use a niche language, instead of a simple “take a library with GitHub”, you first have to put it on GitHub yourself.

Approximately 75% work full time, and 10% comes from a variety of freelancing and self-employment (the rest is party time, retirees, the unemployed).

Curious answers to the question “what is most important to you when choosing a job.” Previously, the salary was leading in it, but this year the Stack Overflow changed the wording: “if there are two vacancies with the same salary, which will be taken into account when choosing between them”.

In general, the option “with which languages ​​and technologies will have to work” won, but with gender separation everything turns out to be more cunning: the “male” answer remains the same, but for women the company’s culture comes first.

The tendency of programmers to jump from one job to another was also manifested in this survey: the question “less than a year ago” leads in the question “how long have you changed jobs”. And to the question “are you looking for now?” 60% answered “I’m not actively looking for, but I’m open to new opportunities.”

The main trends according to Stack Overflow

We dealt with the same things – now let’s see what has changed this year.

There are conclusions drawn by the survey compilers themselves, we will quote them and accompany them with a comment.

  • Python is the fastest growing language among the popular ones, and this time it bypassed Java, and at the same time took the second line in the list of “most favorite languages” (after Rust).

Comment: as we wrote, specific places may not be the most accurate (how exactly Python relates to Java and Rust, another question), but in the survey results this language has been growing for more than a year in a row – and this is apparently a trend.

  • More than half of the respondents by the age of 16 have already written their first line of code, but this varies significantly by sex and region.
  • Site reliability engineers and DevOps specialists are among the highest paid, most experienced, and most satisfied with their work, and they are looking for new jobs less than others. 

Comment: there is a difficulty with the fact that a DevOps specialist is a vague term, there are disputes about its relevance, and different people can understand it as different.

  • Chinese developers turned out to be the most optimistic: they believe that today’s children will live better than their parents. And in Western Europe (for example, France and Germany) the most pessimistic about the future.

Comment: Considering stories like the recent repository 996 , the Chinese answers may mean “we are in hell, I want to believe, even though children will be easier”, therefore calling them “the most optimistic” is a rather controversial decision.

  • Different developers consider different things to be the main obstacle to productivity: men are more often called “work tasks that are not related to the development itself”, while women and minorities talk more about the “toxic working environment”.
  • The site itself Stack Overflow saves the developer from 30 to 90 minutes a week.

Comment: But this is a data manipulation, similar to the anecdote, “an online survey showed that 100% of people use the Internet.” Watch out for hands on how much time Stack Overflow saves, developers responded to a survey conducted at Stack Overflow.

That is, the sample is not at all random: the more often a person visits SO and the more loyal the site is, the more likely it is that he will spend time polling. To draw conclusions from this (even cautious) about all developers is very incorrect.

Other trends

In addition to what the survey authors wrote about, you can notice other differences from last year’s results.

Languages, the share of which has grown (this may be due to an accident, but it seems to be true): in addition to the mentioned Python, these were TypeScript, Go and Kotlin.

New line in the list of languages ​​- WebAssembly. With the decision to call this technology “language” many would argue, but it is curious that it also fell into the lists of the “most favorite” and “most desired” – in general, there is a new noticeable phenomenon here.

If you are also interested in this new star and want technical details, we had a reporton using WebAssembly in production at HolyJS conference , and we made its text version for those who are more comfortable to read.

Among the frameworks, the main new star, which so far very few people use, but many want – Flutter. We also had a report about him .

There are questions that in previous years were not asked at all, so there is no comparison with previous results. Among them is the use of the blockchain. 80% said that in their companies this technology is not used in any way, and among the rest of the respondents, the majority stated that they use “for tasks not related to cryptocurrency”.

It is worth noting: the number of respondents to this question is below average (in general, more than 88 thousand people took part in the survey, but only 48 thousand responded to the blockchain). It begs the assumption that it is more often answered by those in whose companies the blockchain is used – which means that the real value of “we do not use it” is much higher than 80%.

Answering the question “do you consider yourself as a developer above or below the average level”, 67% said that they are above average. The authors of the survey demonstrate this as evidence of the developers’ overestimated self-esteem – they say, since the sample is large, the present “higher or lower” should be about 50 to 50. But in general, there is another explanation: perhaps people who feel themselves below average, less often participate in polls and less often answer such questions.

An interesting point about the use of social networks: where else can you find a global survey in which the leading social service will not be Facebook, but Reddit? In second place is YouTube. 6.6% scored the option “do not use social networks”, and 0.7% – “VK VKontakte” (apparently, the survey creators unfamiliar with the social network had to copy the name from Wikipedia, therefore it is stressed).

In the case of remote work, it is curious to correlate “what is now” with “what the developers want.” If you read the complaints of developers on Twitter, you might get the feeling that they all hate offices and dream of working from home – and what really?

It turns out the majority (58%) for the office. But at the same time, about 12% of respondents are working remotely – that is, far less than 42% who, in principle, would like to do it. So, there is an unsatisfied demand for employers with remote services, and if you are an employer, you can gain a competitive advantage in this way.

Finally, another interesting question – “who will be the most influential person in the technology world this year”. With a large margin, Ilon Musk (30.2%) leads, followed by Jeff Bezos (7.2%) and Satya Nadella (4.4%), followed by the options “I” and “Donald Trump”.

Without Dan Abramov, the list also did not go off (when developers are polled, and JavaScript is in the lead among the languages, not surprisingly). The only one among those born in Russia is Vitaly Buterin. Two more names from the list to us ( Group) are especially close.

John skit

Well, in the case of this survey, he is in a favorable position: he was glorified by the answers to Stack Overflow, it is not surprising that SO users appreciate him. But in the .net world, it is noticeable apart from Stack Overflow (as the author of books, the speaker, the blogger), and we are connected with it precisely because of this: he spoke at our DotNext conference.

Richard Stallman

The main activist of free software is a controversial figure: someone will say that he is too radical and in 2019 he has no influence on anything, and someone will argue that we owe it to him to the current boom of open source, without which it is now the 100th just rewrote old “bikes”.

Anyway, the legendary status of Stallman does not take away. And this year he will visit Russia: in August he will speak at our St. Petersburg IT-festival TechTrain . There you can personally ask him a question and make an impression from his own experience, and not letters from the Internet.


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