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Devs Most Likely to Learn Go and Rust in 2023, Survey Says

The report by JetBrains also indicated that three of every four technologists now work mostly from home and collaborate more on their code than they did in 2021.
Feb 2nd, 2023 10:15am by and
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New data on developers and how they do their jobs not only confirms that far more devs work remotely now than before the COVID-19 pandemic but offers a glimpse at which tools they’re using.

Before the pandemic, 67% of participants in a new survey by JetBrains said they mainly worked at an office. Now, 76% spend the majority of their time working from home.

Overall, 53% of developers surveyed said they had edited code on remote machines. Of this group, only 25% use cloud development environments, like CodeSpaces, Gitpod, Cloud Workstations and JetBrains Space.

Among other findings about remote development:

  • Half of the respondents said they engage in collaborative development, up from the 30% who reported the same in the 2022 version of the same survey.
  • Of those who collaborate on development, 49% said they use video calls with screen sharing to work on code with other people, while 20% said they use a code editor or integrated development environment (IDE) with a collaboration feature. A significant portion of respondents, 34%, said they use nothing.
  • Use of in-cloud code editors or IDEs has not changed since last year and remains at 10%, while 73% are using a standalone editor and 76% are using a desktop IDE.
  • The report also discovered that a significant portion of developers who work remotely — 35% — said their computers don’t have enough performance for a pleasant development experience.

The survey is based on responses from 29,269 developers, scattered across 187 countries. It offers a deep dive into not only the tools used by devs and how they use them but also programming languages, work behaviors, salaries, demographics and even the mental health and lifestyles of developers.

Upskilling and Favorite Languages

Upskilling continues to be important to developers, as the study showed that half of all survey participants said they plan to adopt a new programming language. The top five, in descending order: Go, Rust, Kotlin, Python and Typescript.

Forty-one percent of respondents said they spend three to eight hours a week learning new tools, technologies or programming languages, the most commonly cited duration of time spent on upskilling.

Overall, developers in the survey were using an average of 5.4 of the 36 languages that researchers asked about. Survey participants identified — in descending order —  Javascript, Python, Java, HTML/CSS and Typescript as their most commonly used programming or markup languages.

This year for the first time, JetBrains’ survey asked developers for their favorite and least favorite languages. Considering how many developers are actually using a language, Kotlin, Rust and C# are the most popular, while PHP, R and C are the least popular.

We found significant overlap when comparing these results to the Loved and Dreaded list of languages in Stack Overflow’s 2022 Developer Survey.

Kotlin, notably, is not included on the Stack Overflow list yet is the most likely to be thought of as users’ favorite. Since Kotlin is the third most likely language to be in developers’ plans, readers might want to take another look here.

Perl, C and Visual Basic appear in the Top 10 of both the reports' Least Favorite and Dreaded lists; Assembly, PHP and R also show up on The New Stack's weighted analysis of both lists, pictured above. Notably, significantly more JetBrains respondents said JavaScript is their least favorite as compared to being their favorite.

Given that one in four survey participants reported having two years or less of professional coding experience, this could indicate frustration with the learning curve rather than shortcomings with the languages themselves.

Documentation and APIs were the most commonly cited way in which survey participants learned new tools, technologies and programming languages in the past 12 months.

The data shows some shifting in the market for online programming education; Udemy remains the most popular choice for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), with CodeAcademy making slight gains in 2022.

GitHub and GitLab Usage Tracked

The survey tracked a number of trends with regard to tools and technologies:

  • More testers and quality assurance (QA) engineers are using something to store their test cases, going from 59% to 68% year from 2021 to 2022. However, the proportion of those using specific test case management tools actually dropped a percentage point, to 32%. (More than 800 QA engineers and testers participated in the survey.)
  • Among respondents that use databases, fewer are using a version-control system to manage database scripts, going from 54% in 2021 to 41% in the new report.
  • Between 2021 and 2022, company use of GitHub and GitLab for artifact/repository management dropped: GitHub went from 44% to 33% usage and GitLab from 33% to 24%. The number of organizations using more than one of these types of tools also dropped.
  • Yet, this does not mean these companies are seeing contracted use. In fact, regular use of GitHubActions as a CI system at developers’ employer rose from corporate use rose from 21% to 27%.
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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: The New Stack, Udemy.
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