Stack Overflow 2018 Developer Survey Results

I began this newsletter and blog nearly one year ago by introducing the Stack Overflow 2017 developer survey and what we can learn from 64,000 developers globally about their experiences, careers, tech, and culture.

This year the survey response was even more impressive with over 100,000 developers sharing their thoughts. I always wonder who is going to willingly fill out a 30 minutes survey with lots of detailed questions. It’s a testament to the adoration developers worldwide have for Stack Overflow.

Has much changed in the world of developers? Over the course of one year, not so much. That being said, with some added questions to this year’s survey, there were a few uniquely interesting and confirmatory trends. Taking a few key highlights from the survey overview:

  • DevOps and machine learning are two topics that continue their rapid growth. The languages and frameworks associated with these fields are rising in popularity, and developers working in these roles command the highest salaries.
  • Python has risen in the ranks of programming languages, surpassing C# this year in popularity, driven by the rising popularity of machine learning and data science and web development.
  • They asked about the ethics of programming for the first time. While it is relief that most developers are not actively plotting evil and global chaos, there is a wide ethical gray area with who is ultimately responsible for “unethical” code.
  • Developers are optimistic about the future that artificial intelligence offers, but there are widely varying view of the dangers that AI poses.
  • In assessing job opportunities, women look for company culture and opportunities for professional development, while men prioritize compensation and working with specific technologies.

The other thing I noticed was just how often developers mentioned that they use Stack Overflow to help them in their work. Of all respondents, 86% visit Stack Overflow at least a few times per week and over 63% visit every day. That level of trust and value is borne out in Stack Overflow’s net promoter score (NPS) of 75, which is apparently really, really good.

High trust in the tools, systems, and information we use helps us to avoid cognitive load. It is one less mental check we need to make. This is what has led to many consumer oriented tools to eventually work their way in the enterprise. This is another insight gleaned from this survey and past surverys, developers want to use the tools they trust because those tools help them get their job done faster.

Trust is the big part of deriving value from any technology solution. Tools that users do not trust get ignored and forgotten. For user generated content or community based collaboration systems, mistrust is the kiss of death. Tools that users love and trust gain more usage, something to consider when examining how to improve the developer experience.

What finding from the developer survey was most interesting for you? Are there any insights that you strongly agree or disagree with?

P.S. Hong Kong was amazing and I learned a lot. Thanks to everyone that met with me! I will share the insights on the Hong Kong developer community in my next post.

Why doesn’t the brightness of a bulb change with time?

Had to fix a bunch of busted lights this weekend…

We help IT leaders in enterprises solve the cultural challenges involved in digital transformation and move towards a community based culture that delivers innovation and customer value faster. Learn more about our work here.

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