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Dev Survey Tracks Everything from Caffeine Consumption to Salaries

If you've got some heads-down coding on your plate, you'd best avoid the new Stack Overflow developer survey, for you might get bogged down in minutiae ranging from how many caffeinated beverages are consumed in various countries to indentation preferences to average salaries broken down by technology and other criteria.

"These results are not unbiased," Stack Overflow warned. "Like the results of any survey, they are skewed by selection bias, language bias, and probably a few other biases. So take this for what it is: the most comprehensive developer survey ever conducted. Or at least the only one that asks devs about tabs vs. spaces."

Stack Overflow, in case you didn't know, is the go-to place for coders to get help with their problems. The site reports some 32 million monthly visitors.

Using this unique status, the site polled 26,086 people from 157 countries in February, posing a list of 45 questions.

One of the key areas of inquiry concerned salaries, of course. The survey found knowledge of Objective-C paid off the best globally, with U.S. coders earning an average of $98,828, followed by Node.js., C#, C++ and SQL.

Who Makes What
[Click on image for larger view.] Who Makes What (source: Stack Overflow)

But if it's purchasing power you're interested in, Ukraine is tops -- at least according to the metric of how many Big Macs you can buy on your salary.

It also might help to work remotely, as coders who don't have to fight commute traffic earn about 40 percent more than those who never work from home.

On the technology front, Apple's young Swift language was the most loved, Salesforce the most dreaded, and Android the most wanted (devs who aren't developing with the tech but have indicated interest in doing so).

Most Popular Technologies
[Click on image for larger view.] Most Popular Technologies (source: Stack Overflow)

Interestingly, the popular Java programming language didn't make the top 10 list of most loved languages, or most dreaded, though it was in the middle of the pack for most wanted and came in at No. 3 in overall technology popularity.

Other survey highlights include:

  • JavaScript is the most popular technology, followed by SQL, Java, C# and PHP.
  • NotePad++ is the most popular text editor, followed by Sublime Text, Vim, Emacs and Atom.io.
  • 1,900 respondents reported being mobile developers, with 44.6 percent working with Android, 33.4 percent working with iOS and 2.3 percent working with Windows Phone (and 19.8 percent not identifying with any of those).
  • The biggest age group is 25-29, where 28.5 percent of respondents lie. Only 1.9 percent of respondents were over 50.
  • Only 5.8 percent of respondents reported themselves as being female.
  • Most developers (41.8 percent) reported being self-taught, with only 18.4 percent having earned a master's degree in computer science or a related field.
  • Most respondents identified themselves as full-stack developers (6,800). Two reported being farmers.
  • And, oh, by the way, Norwegian developers consume the most caffeinated beverages per day (3.09), and tabs were the more popular indentation technique, preferred by 45 percent of respondents. Spaces were popular with 33.6 percent of respondents.

    But there's more to that story.

    "Upon closer examination of the data, a trend emerges: Developers increasingly prefer spaces as they gain experience," the survey stated. "Stack Overflow reputation correlates with a preference for spaces, too: users who have 10,000 rep or more prefer spaces to tabs at a ratio of 3 to 1."

    I'm a spaces guy myself. How about you?

Posted by David Ramel on 04/14/2015 at 12:32 PM


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