Culture / Development

Developer Dissatisfaction Doubles

28 May 2020 10:00am, by

According to StackOverflow’s 2020 survey, developer job dissatisfaction more than doubled, going from 10.6% being at least slightly dissatisfied in 2019 to 24.1% in the latest results. And since the survey was conducted in February before the full onset of the pandemic crisis, developer unhappiness is probably higher now.

This hidden nugget of data may be an early warning of developer discontent. If so, then remember what makes developers happy. Compensation, location and benefits still matter a lot, but beyond these factors, the languages, frameworks, and other technologies that will be used is most often cited (51.3%) as an important factor when choosing a new job. Women are about ten percentage points less likely to cite this as a factor.

The ability to use open source and learn new skills, oftentimes within an open source community, manifests itself in 72% of developers learning at least one new technique or language each year. Developers repeatedly opt to learn one language over another and want ways to evaluate this decision.

In this context, there continues to be controversy interpretations of programming language popularity soon ensued. Just like in previous years, many people misinterpret the most loved, dreaded and wanted charts from the StackOverflow survey. The results are based on two simple questions: what languages and technologies were used in the last year and which do developers want to use in the upcoming year. In recent years, additional questions were added about databases, frameworks, and platforms. Actual adoption rates are slow to change. For example, TypeScript’s rise among professional developers, going from 25.8% in 2019 to 28.3% in 2020, can be considered a big jump. As we have written previously, hopes about leaving legacy technologies are often just pipe dreams. If all the survey respondents’ wishes were to come true, developers using Java would drop from 38.4% in 2020 to 22.4% in 2021. That is not going to happen. 

A few weeks ago, we spoke to Bruno Borges, Principal Product Manager for Java at Microsoft, about the limitations of developer surveys. He thinks the capacity utilized by workloads using a runtime can be used to measure the importance of languages. He speculated that language popularity would look different based on the CPUs, memory and storage being utilized to run JVM (which runs Kotlin, Scala and many other Java permutations) workloads.

In a perfect world, how would you gauge the adoption level of programming languages and platforms?

More Tweeted Analysis

Feature image via Pixabay.

Participate in The New Stack surveys and be the first to receive the results of our original research.