A 2020 Look at Software Developers

Who are we? I think we often don’t have a good view, since most surveys struggle to get 1,000 responses. I know many surveys think that’s a representative number, but I think it feels low. I wish we’d get more data at SSC, but too few people participate in our efforts. The one place that seems to do a great job of getting responses is Stack Overflow. They released the data on their 2020 survey, and an article at Freecodecamp summarized some things.

Everyone looks at this data differently. For example, in the top loved languages, I see these: Rust, TypeScript, Python, Kotlin, and Go. Of these, I’ve really only used one. The most dreaded language is VBA, and I’d concur, but the most wanted language is Python. More developers want to use this than any other. Interesting numbers, but these seem more like emotional items, not practical ones. If we look at what pays the best, the Perl is at the top. I don’t know anyone that primarily works in Perl, though to be fair, I’m Microsoft focused. At least in the tech clusters, most have some relation to some SQL technology.

The database section is very interesting to me. This is my field, and I wonder how developers look at the world. The most loved db is Redis, and I’m not surprised. It’s key-value, blazingly fast, and relatively simple. I went through a couple courses at Redis University and found it to be a neat platform. SQL Server is 7th, with 50% loving it compared to 66% for Redis.  It’s also 8th in dreaded and 12th in wanted. Interestingly, while Oracle and DB2 are dreaded, Couchbase and Cassandra are up there. Redis is the least dreaded, though still 30% of developers dread this. My guess is that developers just struggle with databases in general and get annoyed by having to deal with them.

The other interesting data point in the results is about searching for a solution online. Just over 50% of the people are happy to find a link they’ve already searched on Stack Overflow. That makes me wonder if we aren’t really learning to code better, or if perhaps we don’t bother because we can just search. For a lot of programming research I do in R, Python, and other non-SQL places, SO is a great resource and often gives me a concise, useful answer.

Maybe this is the future of programming? Learn to search and what things to use, and don’t bother memorizing deep syntax or pattern specifics? I don’t think that works for SQL. We need to learn to be better. Perhaps this is why developers dislike SQL because it has few keywords and requires more programming skill to build efficient solutions. Those might be harder to search for on the Internet.

Most developers work overtime, but it’s balanced among the time scales. Only a quarter of people do this every week, which I think is still too much, but at least this isn’t the vast majority. I think 15-20 years ago that would have been different. At last 60+% are slightly or very satisfied. Still about a quarter aren’t satisfied with their jobs.

There are other interesting items in there, and if you are a developer, or you’re looking to grow your career, it’s worth spending a few minutes with the data, and looking at how you view the world compared to others. I don’t know that I’d try to follow the crowd, but I’d certainly think a bit about how I view the world compared to others.

Steve Jones

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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