Stack Overflow touts their 2016 survey as the most comprehensive developer survey ever conducted. And who are we to argue?
Stack is a web-based community of 4.7 million programmers who post and answer questions, sharing advice and code on a reddit-style bulletin board, and their entire community is invited to participate in their annual survey.
This year’s results—compiled from 56 thousand respondents in 173 countries—offer a fascinating view into developer demographics across the globe, including the 5 fun facts cherry-picked below that you might find a little surprising.
Most Developers Refer to Themselves Professionally as … Developers
This may sound like an obvious result, but there are, as any IT recruiter will attest, a boatload of synonyms that basically describe the same profession: full-stack developer, programmer, architect, analyst, ninja, rockstar, etc. There is also healthy debate over whether a developer is justified in using the loftier sounding title of Software Engineer.
But at the end of the day, most developers (71.6%) say they are simply developers.
The Average Developer is Relatively Young (and Inexperienced)
Consider this comparison: the average age of an active licensed physician in the U.S. is around 52 years old. The average age of a U.S. developer is 32 years old.
Software development is a young person’s game, a fact also reflected in Years of Experience as reported in the Stack survey. The average developer has less than 5 years of experience, and three-quarters of developers have less than 10 years of experience.
Developers Learn in Multiple Ways
While 43% of developers report a college degree in Computer Science or some related major, 69% say they are at least partly self-taught. What’s truly interesting is the diversity of educational paths for developers. Some are learning in school, online, on the job or a combination of all of these options.
Developers Prefer Star Wars to Star Trek
The 2015 release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” almost certainly biased these results, but age seems to be the biggest factor in whether one prefers Luke Skywalker or Captain James T. Kirk, with Star Trek fans skewing decidedly older.
Gaming Developers are the Happiest Developers
Almost every industry imaginable employs developers, but the Software Gaming industry employs the happiest developers—or rather, does a better job of keeping them happy compared to industries like Telecommunications and Government, which rank lowest for developer job satisfaction.