More than 50,000 developers—56,033 to be exact—in 173 countries around the world responded to the survey. Stack Overflow is so popular among developers that every eight seconds, a developer asks a question on the site. In January alone, 46 million people visited Stack Overflow to get help or give help to a fellow developer.
“This is a highly impressive survey and one of its kind,” said Al Hilwa, an analyst at IDC. “Stack Overflow has an incredible user base and it is great to see them survey them with such a fairly extensive survey. While I think we can learn a lot from such surveys, we have to realize that there are always limits to what can be intuited. They asked 45 questions, which is at the high-end of the scale of survey length that people—especially developers—are willing to answer.”
“What’s happening is the ramp up in tooling as well as standards with ECMAScript 6 is making it a lot easier to hire one developer to do everything—the back end or the front end,” he said. “And that’s where a lot of our customers are going.”
Meanwhile, the use of the Swift programming language is exploding, the survey showed. Swift grew faster than any other technology last year, the survey showed.
“We see trends like Swift going up dramatically and Objective-C is going down,” Alvaro Oliveira, vice president of talent operations at Toptal, told eWEEK. Toptal provides freelance software engineers and designers to companies in need of development talent. “Swift came along and it just made the entry barrier way lower for developers focused on building iOS apps.”
Thomas Murphy, an analyst with Gartner, said he is intrigued by the survey results regarding Swift.
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.
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.
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.