Everyone has notions of what developers are like. Especially in this day and age where startups and hacking are at the cultural forefront with shows like Silicon Valley, CSI: Cyber, and Mr. Robot. But does that really reflect reality?
Nope, but it does not keep people that are not software developers from having misconceptions about developers, their work and their culture. So who exactly is going to set the world straight about what developers are really like?
Other developers of course! And who is working hard to gather all those voices from across the globe, to sort opinion from fact? Thankfully there are many positive communities supporting and contributing to the profession such as DEV.TO and Girls Who Code. But there is one community that is known to almost every developer and has gained a massive following over the past decade. That community would be Stack Overflow.
They have grown into a community that serves over 50 million users every month with answers to their questions. Over that time, they have been able to help developers 7.5 billion times with their questions.
To get some insight into this community, Stack Overflow has conducted an annual global survey of developers. In 2017, they hit a record number of respondents, with over 64,000 developers completing the survey. I shared those results and some of the findings when I launched this blog last July.
Why is the survey important? Well besides the fact that it helps answer the age old question of whether developers using spaces versus tabs make more money, it provides real insights about the state of developers, the profession, and the future of tech. There are other developer surveys, but no other survey has as broad or deep of a reach. When coupled with data from across billions of searches, 19 million questions & 29 millions answers on Stack Overflow, it provides a much more complete picture to draw relevant insights from.
Though the Stack Overflow survey is one of the most well-known surveys, there are others that are also important. GitHub has their State of the Octoverse. HackerRank has their developer skills report. In the DevOps world, the DORA report (DevOps Research and Assessment now part of Google) has become invaluable for its sound methodology and insights into software delivery performance.
These reports and surveys provide a lens into the world of what is really going on with developers. For organizations that are building up their engineering teams, to ignore the insights from these reports would be a huge mistake. These are the best sources of data so that you can avoid making the types of errors that signal to developers that your organization is one to avoid.
Do you ever participate in any of the developer surveys? What surveys do you find to be the most useful in gaining insights into developers?
How many reputation points does Jon Skeet have?
Okay, not a question, but thanks to Mr. Stack Overflow for all his contributions!
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