Who are they? What do they want? What do they not want? What's in a Developer in 2018? If you’re a hiring manager or a recruiter, knowing who you are helping to find a job is important. If you’re a developer, knowing what’s happening in your industry and among your developer peers is also important for you to know where to benchmark yourself.
Not all developers are male, of course
– but this field still tends to attract more men than women. However, there is a push in the industry to change this trend. Initiatives such as the PwC Tech She Can Charter
, Women Who Code
and other programs, including trending Twitter hashtags, are all working hard to spark these important conversations and shift the current developer landscape. Studies also show that the percentage of women in development is significantly higher among students which suggests that, among many other influences, the aforementioned campaigns are having a positive impact in encouraging women to pursue careers in development.
Moving on to the stats now, we are looking to present the most vital statistics of the current developer landscape and what it means for developers and their careers, as well as for companies and organisations looking to hire developers.
1. Over 50% of developers have less than 5 years of professional coding experience
If you’re a developer, this is useful information for your job application process. You might think that your 4 years of coding experience is much lower than that of your competitors – this data suggests that you may, in fact, be in the majority! If you’re a hiring manager, keep this in mind when you write job descriptions and outline expectations – if you want someone with 20+ years of experience, be aware that there are few and far between.
These statistics reflect the shift in the IT industry as a whole – in the last 5-10 years, we have seen a boom of new programming languages, new technology that makes coding more accessible than ever, and an ever-increasing demand from companies and organisations for these skills. There has also been a strong influx of graduates joining the developer pool as more and more of them pick Computer Science subjects or discover coding in their spare time.
2. Professional coding experience varies depending on the role
Experience levels vary depending on which areas of software development the developers specialise in. Interestingly, despite DevOps being a fairly new discipline and a new way to describe one’s professional focus, individuals working in this field are in the ‘highly experienced’ camp. All of this is useful as a rough benchmark for developers who are planning their career progression and direction, as well as hiring managers who are in need of a way to measure and compare the applications they receive. As always, we would caution not to pay the greatest attention to the years of experience someone carries with them – what they have achieved (or in some cases, sadly, not achieved) in their years will be telling of their talent, skills and potential.
3. Developers are life-long learners
Whether through university or teaching themselves, developers begin their careers through learning. But their pursuit of learning and development doesn’t fizzle out at the point of finishing a degree, a course or #100daysofcode.
With 30% of professional developers having no degree, this demonstrates that entry into this field is a wide open door and you are unlikely to be discriminated against if you don’t have a degree as long as you can prove your skills and experience in other ways.
How else do developers learn?
Almost 90% of developers have taught themselves a new language, tool or framework outside of any formal education or courses. This is a great trait of developers – they are self-starters and pursue their own learning goals. Furthermore, over 80% of developers code outside of work as a hobby.
This means that developers can be actively involved in advancing their own careers – the more you can learn, the more you are able to apply and understand, you become better-rounded and ultimately, your performance sky-rockets.
4. Developers and programming languages
If developers had their own country, they would not all speak the same language called ‘programming language’. Preferences vary greatly and developers know exactly what they like, dislike and would like to try. Before we get to preferences, here is a snapshot of programming languages that developers use the most in their workplaces and projects.
This reflects the current demand in this sector in the UK – 90% of these feature in the Top 10 of most in-demand programming language skills. These jobs pay very well, however, they are not the highest paid developer jobs. A review of the last 6 months shows that the developers get paid top salaries if they have skills in the languages outlined below.
It is worth noting though, that there is a very niche demand for these skills –so while they pay well, there isn’t a steady stream of jobs on offer. For example, in the last 6 months, there have been only 11 ClojureScript vacancies advertised.
We have had a look at the languages that developers use the most but we can delve deeper than that. Do they actually want to be using these languages? Would prefer to use other ones? Here are some more graphs (who doesn’t love a good graph?) demonstrating the differences in “have to” vs “want to” and even “hate to” use.
Which languages do developers want to run a million miles from?
Why are developers wishing death upon these programming languages?
“None of the stuff is documented. When you're trying to guess if you should use parentheses or a comma or an indent or a newline or a backslash or what, there are no reference documents to help you. The CoffeeScript home page just has a bunch of tutorial examples which give you an overall idea, but there's nothing rigorous, and the devil is in the details when you start combining aspects of the syntax.” - crazygringo
“Cobol is decidedly a Legacy Language; goodness knows the programming language design community has moved on. Nobody ever holds Cobol up as a shining example of goodness; nor does (hardly) anyone select Cobol for a project these days except when a) needing to do so to interface with/maintain an existing Cobol system, or b) a hypothetical IT shop full of Cobol programmers who know nothing else.” - WhyWeHateCobol
What about languages that developers want to keenly get their hands on?
Why are these languages so popular? A few examples:
1. Go / Golang
“Golang has a convention of how everything is supposed to look, the exact spacing which is needed in each case and each line. This allows developers to focus on writing code instead of waging wars about curly braces locations.” – Sagi Serge Nadir
“Ask any Python developer — or anyone that’s ever used the language — and they’ll agree it’s speedy, reliable and efficient. You can work with and deploy Python applications in nearly any environment, and there’s little to no performance loss no matter what platform you work with.” – Kayla Matthews
But between dread and desire, there is the sweetspot of love. These are the languages that developers enjoy using and want to continue learning and becoming experts at. Tried and tested, they have settled, at least for now, into a very comfortable life of being widely used and appreciated.
What’s so special about Rust to make it the most loved language for three years in a row?
“Rust combines best-in-class speed with low resource usage while still offering the safety of standard server languages.” – Evan Wallace
“Creators of Rust clearly consider documentation of your code just as important as the code itself - and it makes it so much easier to understand other people’s modules. It’s especially important in an environment where creating and sharing your code is encouraged.” – Radoslaw Skupnik
So what do all of these statistics mean?
They provide valuable and actionable insights for both job seekers and those looking to hire developers. If you’re looking for a Groovy developer and wonder why you’ve not received any applications, it might be because they want nothing to do with Groovy. Don’t be disheartened by this - it is a great opportunity to rethink your project plan and perhaps try to adopt a more popular programming language. Or even better, choose one of the languages on the ‘most desired’ list and you will be well on your way to attracting a larger number of quality candidates. We would love to help you find developer talent whether that be on a permanent or contract basis.
Are you a developer? These statistics are a great way to figure out where on the developer spectrum you are as far as your language preferences, years of experience and the direction you want to head in. We have plenty of roles on the go, feel free to explore and apply – you never know where an application might lead! If you’re looking to hire a developer, please look no further – we have been doing this for 30+ years and are well positioned to advise you and successfully fill a role opening you have.