What programming language has the happiest developers?

Ing. Jan Jileček
May 1, 2020 · 3 min read
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There are a lot of stereotypes in the IT world, like “PHP is the worst language” or that “Python is for beginners”. Thankfully, we can find the truth using github and data from developer surveys.

Data acquisition

Github is a platform familiar to any developer. Not only can it be used as a versioning tool, but also to gather repository and project statistics, user profile data and comments. That way we can access the information about age, gender and profile photos. Microsoft Face API is just the right tool for the job.

Github provides a list of the 25 most popular repositories and displays top 5 contributors. Eigencoder app, which I will be using, detects 30–80 profile photos from each repository and analyzes them.

Gender

The Face API has the ability to detect gender from facial structure. The results here are quite one sided. AI and Webdev languages have at least some female energy.

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Age

The age metric turned out to be interesting. Older languages should be presumably used by older programmers, but Java has the youngest devs.

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Smiles

Every programmer has a language he doesn’t like, so much so he can’t even smile for his profile photo. Face API measures the amount that you are smiling, using a value between 0 and 1.

It looks like R developers are the happiest, followed closely by Go, C# and Python. Java devs, on the other hand, don’t seem to be enjoying their craft.

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Comments analysis

Tobias Hermann analyses the comments and the words that developers of each respective language subreddit use.

Happiness

Most positive are the Clojure, Lisp and Scala developers.

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Swearing

You will hear the most swearwords among the PHP communities (that comes as a no surprise I think). Second “best” is Javascript, followed by Java on the third place. Mathematical language devs seem to be at ease the most.

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CodinGame 2020 Developer survey

And like a small cherry on top I will look at the happiness levels of devs in each industry. TOP 3 according to the codingame survey are:

  1. Data scientists/Machine learning specialists
  2. Game developers/Engineers
  3. Development teachers and academic researchers

To wrap up…

The data analysis didn’t turn out very scientific results, but it can provide some level of insight.
Languages like PHP, Html and R are used mainly by women, C and C++ then almost exclusively by men.

The C++ language has the oldest devs, whereas Java the youngest.

And the happiest seem to be those who use R, Go, C# and Python.

But of course.. the whole happiness and meaning you find in your job depends on your orientation in life, goals and aims. Someone could thrive in the machine learning industry, others prefer game development for the constant novelty and so on.
Anyway, leave a comment if you feel like you are an exception in the statistics, and you are i.e. a young C++ dev, I would love to see that!

See also: Post-mortem analysis of this article

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Ing. Jan Jileček

Written by

INTP, Master’s degree in comp-sci, Creator, indie game developer, director, writer, photographer. I like BJJ, Jungian psychology, mythology and memes.

The Startup

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

Ing. Jan Jileček

Written by

INTP, Master’s degree in comp-sci, Creator, indie game developer, director, writer, photographer. I like BJJ, Jungian psychology, mythology and memes.

The Startup

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

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