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

Nearly half of the developers surveyed are involved in either full-stack (both front-end and back-end), back-end (server side code) or front-end (HTML/CSS/JavaScript) web development.

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

The Stack Overflow survey asks about the most popular technologies for full-stack, front-end, back-end and mobile developers. This is the question I always jump to since I like to stay confident that the Guild curriculum is covering as many of the most popular technologies as possible. The good news on this front is that all of our technologies are in the top six. When enrolling at the Guild, you choose either the C#/SQL/JavaScript stack or the Java/SQL/JavaScript stack. Contrast this with some of our competitors that teach Ruby, which did not make the top 10 in this survey.

Most Popular Technologies for Full Stack Developers

The front-end survey results drive home what we all know. If you’re developing the front-end of a web application, you’re using JavaScript ubiquitously. Our supplemental materials on Angular prove to be the right choice of JavaScript frameworks to use. I am also not surprised to see PHP and WordPress show up on this list since WordPress sites run about 40 percent of the internet, and WordPress is developed in the PHP language.

Most Popular Technologies for Front End Developers


Back-end development has our C#/SQL/JavaScript and Java/SQL/JavaScript curriculum tracks once again covering the bulk of the popular responses. Coming in at the bottom of the list is MongoDB. NoSQL databases have been creeping up for a few years, but relational databases are still far and away the dominant choice for database needs.

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.

And those jobs in finance, healthcare, manufacturing and retail? Those are the industries that run on the top technical stacks of C#/SQL/JavaScript and Java/SQL/JavaScript.

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.