Insights From Stackoverflow Developer Survey

A data-driven approach to gain insights from Stackoverflow Annual Developer Survey from 2017 to 2019

Nouman
Nouman
May 7, 2020 · 5 min read

There are a lot of different developers around the world. They use different programming languages, some have a PhD and some haven’t had a formal education their entire life.

You may have heard that Python is the most popular programming language among the developers or that you need to have a managerial position in order to earn a higher salary?

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But let’s answer these questions using data from developers around the world. I used Stackoverflow’s Annual Developer Survey from years 2017 to 2019 to better look at these questions.

The data contains questions related to multiple aspects of software development and general preferences of developers from around the world. Some of these questions are:

“How often do you contribute to open source?”

“For the specific work you do, and the years of experience you have, how do you rate your own level of competence?”

Part 1: Popular Programming Languages

The question for this part was:

“Which of the following programming, scripting, and markup languages have you done extensive development work in over the past year, and which do you want to work in over the next year? (If you both worked with the language and want to continue to do so, please check both boxes in that row.)”

For this part, we will focus on only the first part of the question, i.e, the programming language that a developer has most used in the past year

Here, we can see the most popular languages among developers over the last three years sorted by their percentage in year 2017. Java, JavaScript and C are clearly the top languages developers preferred during these years.

Java and Javascript have seen a decrease in their percentage of developers from around 17.5 and 14% in 2017 to almost 16 and 13% in 2018 while both remaining the same in 2019. C, on the other hand, has seen an increase from 13% to 16% in the year 2018 and kept the same in 2019.

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Percentage of Developers that use a specific language over the years

While most of the languages have seen a decrease in their percentage of developers over the years, Python can clearly be seen as a language very much on the rise. TypeScript and Go are two other notable languages that have seen an increase in its users.

Part 2: Education Level vs Salary, Job and Career Satisfaction

Next, I wanted to analyze the effect of education level on salary, job and career satisfaction. For this, I just used the 2019 data. The questions related to this were:

1) Which of the following best describes the highest level of formal education that you’ve completed?
2) Salary converted to annual USD salaries using the exchange rate on 2019-02-01, assuming 12 working months and 50 working weeks.
3) How satisfied are you with your current job? (If you work multiple jobs, answer for the one you spend the most hours on.)
4) Overall, how satisfied are you with your career thus far?

Here, we are seeing the effect of education level of developers on their salaries, job and career satisfaction. The green bar represents the effect on career satisfaction, blue on the salary after converting to USD and orange on job satisfaction.

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Effect of Ed Level on Salary, Job and Career Satisfaction

We can see that having a higher degree, i.e, a doctoral degree has the highest positive effect on all three areas. Similarly, all the degrees resulted in a positive effect on all three with the exception of a Professional degree which resulted in a negative effect on all three of them. Having a master’s degree seemed to have a negligible effect on salary.

What was interesting regarding this was the case of developers having no formal education. It showed that without having a formal education, it is possible to earn a good salary but it seems to have strong negative effects on the job and career satisfaction.

Part 3: Expected Growth in Languages vs Actual

Here we analyze the languages developers desire to work in the next year (which shows an expected growth in that particular language) with the actual growth of the language in those years. For this, I used the developers’ dataset of the years 2018 and 2019.

Here, we can see that most of the developers are interested in working with C, Java, JavaScript and Python in 2019.

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But if we look at a comparison of the percentage of developers in 2018 as opposed to 2019, there is a negligible increase in C, java and JavaScript. However, a clear increase can be seen in developers working with Python.

This indicates that the although the data does give an idea of what developers would want to try, there are most certainly other factors to keep into account like the market, the developers’ organizations and so on.

Conclusion:

In this article, we analyzed the Stackoverflow’s Developers’ Data from the years 2017 to 2019. Following are the major insights that can be concluded from the analysis:

  1. C, Java and JavaScript are the most popular languages among developers during these years. Python is one of the few languages that is becoming increasingly popular among the developers.
  2. Doctoral degrees lead to a better salary, job and career satisfaction and while it’s possible to earn a good salary without any formal education, it does affect the job and career satisfaction negatively.
  3. The desire of a developer to work in a particular language has little effect on its popularity in the next year.

To see the code and additional analysis, see the link to my Github available here.

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Nouman

Written by

Nouman

Software Engineer who loves Data Science and building products related to data. Connect with me on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nouman10/

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +771K people. Follow to join our community.

Nouman

Written by

Nouman

Software Engineer who loves Data Science and building products related to data. Connect with me on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nouman10/

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +771K people. Follow to join our community.

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