Stack Overflow, perhaps the most prolific question-and-answer site for developers, conducts an annual survey of its user base. This year, more than 50,000 respondents in 173 countries contributed to the survey. As someone who is not only a practitioner but also is involved in educating the next generation of developers, this survey always interests me since it identifies trends for our industry. I would like to draw attention to a few findings that jumped out at me in this year’s survey results.
Nearly Half of All Developers Are Web Developers
In this survey, mobile development has surpassed desktop development roles. This is not all that surprising to me since the trends for the last few years have been cloud-hosted, software as a service and connected applications. Most mobile applications use some kind of web storage as well.
Embedded application development is sitting at 2.6 percent, and with the internet of things starting to kick into high gear, I expect this number to grow in the near term.
Developer Job Titles
The Software Guild Is Teaching the Right Languages
Most Popular Technologies for Full Stack Developers
Most Popular Technologies for Front End Developers
Most Popular Technologies for Back End Developers
We Need More Female Developers
The gender portion of the survey was surprising to me in that the numbers were so low. While it’s often cited that only about 18 percent of computer science students are women, the Stack Overflow survey plots female respondents at only 5.8 percent.
Developers by Gender
Even more disheartening to me is how few women actually end up in a developer role. Only two of the top six responses on occupations for women are what I would consider to be “pure” developer roles. Quality assurance can be a developer role if you are doing test automation, but it is unclear whether the respondents are doing that or other non-development roles.
Software Development Continues to Be a Meritocracy
One of the things I really like about my field is that people from just about any background can break into the field and succeed. This is demonstrated in the education results of this survey. Once again, the majority of developers are self-taught. Very few employers the Guild works with require a computer science degree for a developer role at their company, and the reasoning is clear. If you required that degree, you would eliminate about 65 percent of potential applicants.
How Developers Learned to Code
We also see here that bootcamps are creeping up the list. About 2,600 developers in this survey said they were trained in a bootcamp, which barely makes a dent in the more than 500,000 open computing jobs in the United States alone.
Software Developers Are Highly Employable
With so many open computing jobs out there, it’s no surprise that developers are highly employable. We encourage our apprentices at the Guild to treat development as a craft that requires lifelong learning. These types of developers are exactly the types of people who spend time on a site like Stack Overflow, and it shows in the survey results. Only 1.8 percent of those surveyed reported being unemployed.
Employment Rate of Developers
The Guild Network May Be More Valuable Than the Education
A phrase we like to use is “Guild for life.” This principle refers to how we continue to encourage our alumni to come to Guild events, participate in our chat servers after graduation and run user groups and other activities to bring people together. The Stack Overflow survey this year turned up an interesting tidbit in that the No. 1 way people discovered a job was via referral. Over the next few years, there will be thousands of Guild alumni. And if they stay engaged with the Guild, the network will be a force to be reckoned with!
How Developers Got Their First Job
Bootcamp Alumni Get Paid
At first glance, this was surprising to me. But thinking on it, I decided I wasn’t all that surprised. In the survey, bootcamp graduates reported higher salaries than B.S. in Computer Science graduates. However, the most highly compensated reported participating in a mentorship program. It is no coincidence that we structure our program using mentorship principles!
Salary by Education (% Over Developer Average)
Why are bootcamps and mentorship programs outperforming other options in terms of pay? The data set doesn’t tell us this, but based on our experience at the Guild, I can draw some hypotheses.
- Bootcamps tend to be highly selective. The cream rises to the top!
- Bootcamps focus on the most in-demand technical stacks, which is the Economics 101 principle of supply vs. demand.
- People who make it through a bootcamp tend to be highly motivated individuals. Hard work and hustle are rewarded; development is a meritocracy.
The Majority of Jobs Are Not in the Software Industry
Software is eating the world, and this is something we recognized early on when forming the Guild. While companies like Microsoft, Apple and Google have a lot of glitz and glamour, the majority of jobs are actually in industries other than software products. The software products industry only makes up 22.7 percent of jobs.
Industries Hiring Developers
It’s a Great Time to Learn Software Development
We continue to see demand for developer talent going forward. Developers are highly compensated, highly employed and can work in any industry. It’s one of the few fields that is both highly paying and highly accessible to career changes.
Do you think you have what it takes to be a developer? There’s one way to find out! Apply today.