JavaScript Most Popular Language: Stack Overflow Report

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2016-03-17 Print this article Print
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Other language-related findings include that developers rated Rust as the most-loved programming language and Visual Basic as the most dreaded programming language. This means a higher percentage of developers who program with it (79.5 percent) don't want to continue to do so than any other programming language. Interestingly, the most loved languages included functional programming languages or languages influenced by functional programming such as F# and Scala. After Rust at number one, Swift, F#, Scala and Go rounded out the top five most loved languages, in that order. And Clojure, another functional language, was number six.

The average developer in the survey is 25 to 29 years old, male, and located in the United States. More respondents (28 percent) consider themselves full-stack developers than any other traditional developer occupation.

"The challenge is that the data is tilted by the demographic," Murphy said. "Most of the people surveyed are 25 to 29. I don't think all the 30- to 50-year-old programmers have disappeared and while they may like JavaScript … it isn't that they would hate VB. As a 25 year old, though, why would you want to jump into VB? There is no future there, it is 'old' and it is probably maintaining someone else's old application that you would rather not do."

Also, while there are still far fewer female developers than there are males, survey results showed that female developers, on average, have two years less experience than their male counterparts, which may suggest that the share of female developers is growing. The survey data suggests that men and women get paid about the same as entry level developers, but the pay gap may widen, with men earning more, as both gain experience.

Regarding pay, the mean salary of U.S. developers based on their occupation ranged from $67,000 to $132,000, according to the survey. Cloud developers familiar with technologies like Spark and Cassandra tend to make more than the median salary for developers in the U.S. Developers versed in Spark made $125,000 and developers with Cassandra skills earned $115,000.

"It is still hard to get at certain truths such as the intensity of skill or usage of certain language," Hilwa said. "For example, a lot of developers claim that they 'know' JavaScript, but it may be from extremely light exposure in light-weight HTML-centric web-apps. To some degree the English-like SQL is likewise a language where many people know it broadly, but only a few have mastery. For example, many may know the basic ‘select’ statement, but very few understand the subtleties of joins or the ‘having’ clause. Intuitively, there is a narrower range for languages like Java and C, which tend to be used professionally by relatively highly skilled devs."

As far as platforms go, the Windows desktop platform has seen a decline in developer use over the past four years with Linux and Mac OS X picking up market share. However, Windows 10 was the fastest growing desktop OS in the Stack Overflow 2016 survey, capturing almost 21 percent of developers in less than a year since its release. Today, 52 percent of developers reported using Windows—down from 60 percent in 2013, 26 percent for Mac, and 22 percent using Linux.

Other findings include that many developers are so passionate about code that they spend their free time working on open-source projects. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they spend at least one hour per week coding outside their regular job. Also, 52.34 percent of respondents to this year's survey said they believe in aliens.


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