Stack Overflow Dev Survey: Some Fun Facts & Snarky Remarks

I ran across the Stack Overflow 2015 Developer Survey, which is a surprisingly interesting and fun read for the geekishly inclined. Here are some random and fun tidbits:

  • “The average developer is 28.9 years old. He or she was born in April 1986, just as the Chernobyl meltdown was taking place.”

    (Did Chernobyl cause mutant ninja coders?)

  • “The programming field is growing extremely rapidly…. only about 25% of developers worldwide have more than 10 years coding experience. Most of those veteran developers have probably been coding professionally much shorter than that.”

    (Alternative interpretation: Ten years is about as long as most people can stand to do it!)

  • “48% of respondents never received a degree in computer science. 33% of respondents never took a computer science university course.”

    (Now you know why hardly anything ever built actually works properly! I kid, I kid… Univ courses don’t help with that anyway!)

  • Swift and C++11 are the most beloved languages.

    (Cultish fanpersons much?)

  • “Windows maintains the lion’s share of the developer operating system market, while Mac appears to have overtaken the Linuxes among active Stack Overflow devs.”

    (Hey, I thought I was a weird outlier in using Windows 7 rather than a Mac, but Win 7 is still the tops. Admittedly it is a stretch to even consider myself a dev, that is not my raison d’etre by any means. Whether I actually have a raison d’etre… hmm… I’ll get back to you on that…)

  • Tabs v Spaces… “Upon closer examination of the data, a trend emerges: Developers increasingly prefer spaces as they gain experience”

    (Yeah, we learned the hard way.)

  • C++ still pays rather well.

    (Someone has to sort out those pretentious buffer overruns and protect humanity from Skynet.)

  • “Niche or emerging technologies pay big bucks… It’s also likely that developers with niche competencies are just better developers all around.”

    (What about with niche incompetencies?)

  • The average salary of a US developer would buy them 18,712 Big Macs. In South Africa it works out to 19,215, in the UK a paltry 15,757.

    (Note: Only in the US do most developers actually spend their entire salary on Big Macs.)

  • Only 1.9% of developers hate their job.

    (Nowadays people really appreciate actually having a job. Especially one which can buy so many Big Macs.)

Humor aside, there’s a lot of interesting info in the survey, so I recommend taking a look.

As always, take survey results with a large pinch of salt though.


7 thoughts on “Stack Overflow Dev Survey: Some Fun Facts & Snarky Remarks

  1. Oh good, not only am I above average in age, I’m bordering on the 25% of folks with 10+ years of experience (at 9 now, woo!).


    Tabs v Spaces… “Upon closer examination of the data, a trend emerges: Developers increasingly prefer spaces as they gain experience”

    Spaces are the devil. First of all, screw hitting space bar that often. Second of all, if you have an IDE worth it’s salt, you can adjust how wide tabs appear, so Dev A can make them look like 4 spaces, and Dev B can make them look like a tab. Also, technically takes up less space for the source code because fewer characters. Seriously, there’s no good reason to prefer spaces.

    Liked by 1 person

    • These days editors can happily translate tabs into spaces and leave everyone in peace. It may have mattered more in the past.

      You can have some serious disasters when people are cutting and pasting bits of code written by different people with different habits and things end up not nested in the way that they look like they’re nested. There’s somewhat less of those kinds of disasters if it’s spaces all the way.

      Also, Python. You definitely don’t want any whitespace mishaps.


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