What We Can Learn From the 2021 Stack Overflow Developer Survey

in Programming


The 2021 edition of the StackOverflow developer survey reveals the strong dominance of Microsoft’s VSCode and Visual Studio as developers’ most preferred IDE. The survey also shows that web programming is the most common type of programming with different web frameworks like React.js, Vue.js, and Django growing in usage. This article covers more of the essential insights covering technology, tools, and framework usage, salary trends and employment information.

    The Stackoverflow developer survey is an annual survey that gathers data and insights by asking developers across wide demography, geography, and professional positions questions concerning their preference in technologies, tools, and platforms in the software development field.

    Let’s dig into the notable insights from the technology aspect of the survey.

    For the ninth year in a row, JavaScript(64.96%) keeps its healthy margin as the most commonly used programming language, with Python (48.24%) coming third ahead of SQL (47.08%) when considering all respondents but keeps its previous year's 4th place when accounting for only professional developers. Java, Node.js, TypeScript, C# including HTML/CSS complete the top 7 spots in the most popular programming, scripting and markup languages category.

    Python maintains its imposing 5-year lead in the most-wanted language category, with TypeScript (15.29%) and JavaScript (14.59%) placing second and third, respectively. Golang (14.54%), Rust (14.09%), and Node.js (11.9%) follow the trio to occupy the top six spots in the category.

    Rust (86.98%), however, continues its 8-year run as the most loved programming language while Clojure (81.12%), TypeScript (72.27%), and Elixir (72.11%) trail behind it in the second, third, and fourth places, respectively. Python (67.83%) falls out of love coming 6th in the category, with Julia (70.69%) climbing up Python's previous fifth position.

    Clojure developers make the highest annual salary with an average of $95,000. F# pays the second highest ($81,037) closely followed by Elixir and Erlang tieing the third place ($80,077). Trailing behind them is last year’s highest-paying Perl tieing with Ruby ($80,000) and Scala ($77,832) sealing the top five spots.

    React.js (40.14%) overthrows jQuery (34.42%) as the most used web framework, with Express, Angular, and Vue.js trailing behind the duo.

    You should note that StackOverflow keeps the most-used, most-wanted, and most-loved categories separately. Also, most of the percentages add up to over 100, thanks to developers who use multiple languages, tools, and frameworks.

    React.js also dominates the most-wanted web frameworks category with 25.12%, followed by Vue.js (16.69%), Python's Django (9.21%), Angular (8.47%), and Svelte (6.57%).

    Having dominated the first two categories, React.js came third in the most-loved web framework category, with Svelte and ASP.NET Core (71.47%) sharing the first place and FastAPI (70.04%) coming second in the voting.

    React.js continues its good turn in the highest-paid category with two other most-loved web frameworks, Svelte and ASP.NET, taking the 5th ($58,128), 2nd ($62,520), and 3rd ($60,744) places respectively. Ruby on Rails ($77,556) leads the pack, with Gatsby ($60,129) completing the top 5 spots.

    MySQL (50.18%) takes the first spot in the most commonly used category of the database section, followed by PostgreSQL (40.42%), SQLite (32.18%), and MongoDB (27.7%). Microsoft SQL server occupies fifth place in this category.

    Redis (70.71%) and PostgreSQL (70.40%) closely follow each other as the first and second most loved databases -making PostgreSQL the first commonly used database to also appear in this category- followed by MongoDB (60.38%). Elasticsearch (56.70%), Firebase (56.22%), Dynamo DB (55.29%), and MariaDB (54.75%) are in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh places in this category.

    DynamoDB appears to be the highest paying as developers using the database rake in at least $80,936 in average annual salary, followed by Elasticsearch (56.70%), and the third-highest paying, Cassandra ($64,090). The most-loved database, Redis, comes fourth in this category ($64,548%), with IBM DB2 ($64,548) making up the top-five highest paying databases.

    AWS (54.22%) maintains its dominance as the most widely used, most-loved, and most wanted cloud platform. Google Cloud Platform trails AWS in all three categories, with Microsoft Azure following the duplet. Heroku takes fourth place in the most widely-used cloud platform category and fourth in the most loved and most wanted categories. On the other hand, Digital Ocean takes fourth place in the most widely used category and third in the two others. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and IBM Cloud are the other cloud platforms in these categories.

    Visual Studio Code (71.06%) clearly marks its territory as the most widely used integrated development environment IDE, followed by its Visual Studio brother (33.03%). Notepad++(29.71%), IntelliJ (28.74%), and Vim (24.19%) follow the duo to take up the first five spots.

    93.43% of the survey respondents say they use Git making it the most commonly used development tool, followed by Docker (48.85%), Yarn (17.72%), and Kubernetes (16.6%). Kubernetes is, however, third in the most-loved and most wanted lists, while Git and Docker maintain their first and second places in both categories.

    Tensorflow is the most wanted but seventh most loved and fifth most widely used library/framework. .NET Framework, Numpy, and .NET Core/ .NET 5 take the first, second and third places in the most-loved framework category. In contrast, .NET Core takes first place in the most loved category.

    Windows, macOS, and Linux-based OS maintain their first, second, and third most-used operating systems; however, professional developers say they prefer

    When developers get stuck, 89.69% says google is the first platform they think of for a solution, followed by StackOverflow itself (79.69%).

    80.69% of professional developers say they are employed full-time, while 11.21% are freelancers. This figure shows a slight increase in the percentage of freelancers in 2020 (9.5%), suggesting that more developers are gradually moving into the freelancing space.

    Compared to 2020 (65,000), over 83,439 developers from 181 countries responded to the survey. However, this number broadly represents developers who use StackOverflow.

    Developers from African countries are relatively underrepresented. A higher percentage of the survey respondents are from the United States (18.33%), India (12.61%), Germany (6.75%), and the UK and Northern Ireland (5.37%).

    69.7% of the 83,439 respondents consider themselves professional developers, 91% identified as men, 5.31% as women, and 3.69% as other minority groups. This significantly low percentage of participation of women and minorities shows that StackOverflow, as they already admitted, need to put more effort into ensuring that the survey covers more gender groups to increase the credibility of the data it presents.

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