It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, the beginning of the “Merry” season but also the time when new insights from the world of developers come to everyone’s house (magic may or may not be involved)!
Our 23rd Developer Nation global survey reached more than 26,000 developers in 160+ countries and its findings are bundled in a free “State of the Developer Nation” report.
This research report delves into key developer trends for Q3 2022:
The state of blockchain development
Students’ top career aspirations
Language communities – An update
Why developers contribute to vendor-owned open-source projects
Types of studios game developers work for
The rise and fall of web frameworks
In addition to outlining the report’s major findings, here are a few key takeaway points to spark your curiosity:
The state of blockchain development
25% of developers are currently working on or learning about blockchain applications other than cryptocurrencies.
Developers with 6-10 years of experience in software development are the most likely to be working on blockchain projects.
Though Ethereum is the dominant blockchain platform, it is the only one more popular among learners than those currently working on blockchain applications.
Language communities – An update
In the last two years, Java has almost doubled the size of its community, from 8.3M to 16.5M. For perspective, the global developer population grew about half as fast over the same period.
Kotlin and Rust are the two fastest-growing language communities, having more than doubled in size in the past two years.
The rise and fall of web frameworks
Web developers who use frameworks are more likely to be high-performers in software delivery than those who don’t.
Web developers are gradually settling for a smaller number of frameworks as they stop experimenting with a wide range of tools.
React is currently the most widely used client-side framework and its adoption has remained stable over the past two years. By comparison, jQuery’s popularity is decreasing rapidly.
As you’ll notice, most of the trends we discuss in this report are takeaways from how developers use technology. Our goal is to share these insights with the world to help guide the next generation of development.
Our mission is to help our clients understand what the market looks like, what developers need, what excites developers, what doesn’t, and what they expect from our clients’ (and their competitors’) products and the developer programs that go along with them. So, when we are approached with a request for some custom work, we roll up our sleeves and dive deep into the data.
In this case study, we will be looking at how one of our clients, worked with us to understand the needs and preferences of software developers working with AI.
The client is a company among the top 50 in the 2022 Fortune 500 ranking, which for the purposes of this case study we will be calling “Client”. This is the third installment in our “how we work with clients” series, and you can read part 2 and part 1 with Okta for more details.
In this article, we will look into their request and more specifically:
The questions our Client wanted to answer
How we worked together on their problem
How they used the insights we offered them
Understanding the needs of AI software developers
The Client wanted to better understand the needs of AI software developers, so we worked with them closely to understand the problem they were trying to solve. Then, together we made sure that we added custom questions to our Developer Nation survey, to get the answers from developers.
Question: What was the goal/challenge you were looking to accomplish?
Client: We wanted to get feedback from our customers, who are software developers that work on AI, so we could get a better understanding of their needs:
What they’re actually doing
The specific points that we are trying to optimize.
We wanted to answer high-level questions such as what language they are using and high-level computing preferences. This is why we decided we want to have this survey.
Q: Why did you choose SlashData?
At Client, we have had the experience of working with SlashData. And we did get a high value out of the previous report that you did for us. I was impressed by the support that I got when I needed it, the responsiveness, how you were always on schedule. The real part of working together. I felt how you put the customer at the front, the priority. All of these were very important to us. This is why we chose to work with you again on this project.
I really got the feeling that you’re trying to understand real problems
Q: What did you like about the process of working with SlashData?
I really liked the execution: the ability to execute fast and answer our questions. We worked very well, very collaborative. Truth is, we did have a slow start. But then you said “let’s do this: you will write your assumptions, we will ask questions and approach this project this way”. Once we started that, work was progressing in a much better way. It was hard at the beginning, but I got excellent support. You had excellent questions, I really got the feeling that you’re trying to understand real problems. “What is it that we are trying to solve?”. You also asked questions to learn more about what we are doing, which I found very professional.
Q: What are the things you found challenging when working with SlashData?
We said that we would be adding X custom questions to your survey. But from our side, we tried to add more and more and we were left with all those very complex questions.
Very complex questions are tougher to answer when you are looking to gain something specific. You did tell us to get the simple questions answered. This is what comes to mind in retrospect: Don’t make the questions too complex, trying to squeeze in more. You will get more value out of the simple questions, not the very complex ones.
Deciding using the data
I used a significant part of those questions to presentations I gave to our senior executives.
Q: How did this project/report/data solve your problem/challenge overall? Did you understand the developers’ problems more based on the report?
I used a significant part of those questions to presentations I gave to our senior executives. I was especially more confident to use the less complex questions we asked. If I had my current experience in the beginning, I would have managed to secure a higher budget to ask more, simpler questions.
data that show what our customers think and therefore, we could work with more than just our own thoughts and assumptions
Q: What decisions did you make using the data/research?
The work we did together was part of a huge project that Client is working on. I’m afraid I can’t disclose exactly the steps we did take after going through the analysis you gave us. What I can tell you is that senior management really liked the fact that we spoke to our customers and asked them directly. And not only that, but we also brought data that show what our customers think and therefore, we could work with more than just our own thoughts and assumptions. Client is planning for some huge products and of course there are a lot of parameters and a lot of things being done. But this data helped us pick a direction.
The DevRelX Summit is a community takeover, an opportunity for Developer Marketing and DevRel managers, strategists, practitioners, and enthusiasts to come together.
SlashData, which powers DevRelX and the community behind it, is organising a Developer Marketing/DevRel event for the 7th consecutive year, after the record participation of 1,000+ attendees in 2021. DevRelX is a learning and sharing zone, committed to elevating the understanding of developer audiences and industry trends. A space where regardless of their experience level, everyone gets to access and share knowledge.
This year’s event is an interactive experience of knowledge and expertise sharing, which puts the DevRelX community at its centre. The DevRelX Summit will take place on October 12 & 13 2022, with:
Exclusive sessions and leadership workshops
Developer-focused professionals are invited to join the 2-day schedule Full agenda follows:
October 12 | Milestone Day | 8 am PT.
The first day, “Milestone Day” is invite-only. It is addressed to DevRel strategists, senior managers, seasoned DevRels, and CXOs. Anyone who wants to participate can request an invite via this link.
The Milestone day will offer participants strategic conversations, master classes, and workshops presented by industry pioneers and experts.
October 13 | Community Day | 8 am PT.
The second day, “Community Day”, is open to community advocates at heart. Anyone who believes that a community-centric mindset is the foundation of developer relations can get their ticket via this link.
The Community day will be full of developer community conversations, learning and connecting with peers.
Join the DevRelX Summit, for its 7th consecutive year – the best one yet!
In this slightly up close and personal post, I outline 4 things I’ve learned with a major work and life change. This post is aimed to walk through a few main points of reflection or possible recommendations when the time comes for anyone to take on a new and challenging opportunity.
Now, this is based on my own experience 9 months in as the CEO of SlashData. It’s a few things I recommend someone to consider when changing roles, maybe you are becoming a first-time manager, taking on a larger team, and/or becoming a parent.
If you prefer the executive summary, the gist is: Whatever change you may be planning to make in your personal life and career, it’s my personal experience that you should start preparing early, but be ready for surprises along the way. You shouldn’t start a new role on day one – think about what you can do ahead of time to make the transition smoother. Especially in leadership roles, you might have become the manager, good for you! But, on the flip side, everyone has to have you as a manager now. For more context, keep reading. 🙂
#1 Plan everything but be ready for surprises.
Some sayings are cliche for a reason. You know what they say, how life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans? Well, I felt the irony of that one when I found out I was pregnant 1 week after taking over as CEO. Travelling to my first board meeting, sick as a dog and not able to say anything because it was too early and the doctor’s advice is to keep it between you and your partner for a while. Obviously I want a family, so this was great, but we have to admit, the timing is also funny. I mean, I didn’t even get a headstart before the nausea sunk in.
That said, having seen other women have children and come back from pregnancy leave and continue to grow in their roles successfully, gave me a lot of encouragement. I look up to the women both at SlashData and not, that have done this before me, especially before the era of remote working having to wear business suits and pumps. I can only imagine what it would have been like to be up at 7am and get panty hose on with the belly and swollen feet. Even in the world of remote working though, having a family and working full-time is really an accomplishment for any working parent. Fingers crossed I do it well.
#2. Don’t wait till day one.
I was very lucky to have a founder that was open to me “soft-launching” the role 3 months early. Taking over a leadership role should always have some overlap or shadowing. Since I was already part of the Leadership Team I was very attuned to the ins and outs, but the relationship dynamic changed with me and my colleagues. If you are moving into a new management role, you need to understand and comprehend, there is a relationship shift between you and everyone you will be working with. I hope you expect this before you take the role. Actually let me say things a bit differently. If you really want to be liked by everyone you work with, don’t take the job, it’s going to be very disappointing. Not everyone will be happy you have been promoted and that’s ok. If you are lucky someone will be excited, but people need time to adjust and you will need to give it to them.
Changes like this need to happen in steps. If you can, advocate to allow some time to shadow, be present in your predecessor’s 1-2-1s with your future reports and in cross team meetings. Be aware of what’s being discussed within the leadership team (or the team you will be taking on) and how things are being addressed. Decide what you care about keeping within the agenda and if you might change something, prepare your thoughts as early as possible. Once you take over, have open discussions with your direct reports on what they also think about what they would like to keep, change, or what’s missing for them.
On the one hand, people needed time to adjust, while others had nearly immediate expectations. Be aware, people will not be as open with you once they know you will be the new boss. They won’t tell you directly things you might have discussed openly just a few days earlier. This was something I didn’t consider ahead of time, from the day colleagues were notified, some saw me in a different light. There was an immediate expectation that I would be a different person, take a different approach as to how I communicate, even if they had known me for years. They weren’t as candid any more, they may have been more protective of their opinions, which also meant I needed now to be more careful how I spoke about the future of the company or a new project. Was I speaking hypothetically or sharing a plan that they should expect and take action on? Things change when you take over. It may take some time for you to adjust to this new reality. I took the honest approach, which I recommend. Open communication to explain that the adjustment is on both sides, you also need time to adjust to the new expectations from your new direct reports. Ask for that time from those that may have immediate expectations from you. You probably won’t fit their expectations anyway, your leadership style will be different from your predecessor and the leadership style of others on your team. Ask for that time to find your bearings.
#3. Let your team tell you what to do
Even more importantly for me before I took over, was taking over a strategic workshop we run a couple times a year. This would be a type of all hands meeting for the Leadership team. If you can, take this over early and design it to fit what you need it to achieve.
I took over the last one in Q4 of the previous year.
Even though I hadn’t officially started, I was able to re-design the structure of the meeting to fit what we needed for everyone to feel aligned. They needed not just to be aware of where we are going in my first year as CEO, they needed to own the direction. You’ve taken over, but everything is not about you or what you think should happen right now. Create the opportunity and the safe space for your new team to build your next steps together. You should have an opinion, but let them bring up the issues, and jointly decide on a plan to address them. Let them suggest what your priorities are, chances are you will agree with them too.
Was it perfect? No of course not, I’m a newbie afterall. But, the time was extremely well spent. I planned a workshop that would set the pace for the next year. Everyone gave feedback for improvement, but also said they felt we were more aligned than ever and they knew what to expect in the next year. What everyone seemed to feel at the end of it was above all clarity about what’s next. For a new CEO, I couldn’t ask for more than that. Doing this BEFORE I took over, was 100% the right move. We all brought up the issues, we collaboratively came up with the plan with actions on what to do about them for the next year. We are still executing things we decided in that meeting, 9 months later.
#4 Life happens to everyone, even you
Now it’s possible you may be reading this while I’m off on my maternity leave. Yes, I took the job and 9 months in, I’m taking some time to have a baby. I plan to be in touch and have created a schedule for my leave to allow for time off and check-ins with the team, but I will be 100% off for some time and I know the leadership team has things covered in my absence. After that, we’ve planned a schedule to manage all the major events of Q4 and annual strategic planning to allow me to be on a half time schedule. That said, this is not a model I am advocating for others. This is simply what I felt would work for me at this moment. I have the help and support from my partner and family to allow me to have a flexi-schedule. All parents should have the opportunity and the right to take as much leave as they need while building their families.
It’s up to us to define what leadership and mother-hood looks like. As a first-time mother, and CEO I know I won’t have it all figured out the first time round, but looking at all the women that have done it before me and watching everyone at SlashData take their place in moving the company forward, it gives me the comfort and confidence that I can take the time I need. I always thought I would step back from career progression when I had a family, as it turns out I’m pressing the gas pedal instead.
More and more developers are getting involved in DevOps, with an eye on the ultimate DevOps end goal – to streamline the software delivery process.
Although lacking a widely-accepted, universal definition, DevOps is in essence a set of practices that enable developers to release small but frequent software updates, reliably and safely. These practices are supported by a broader DevOps culture: activities, technologies, and dedicated platforms which work together to achieve the overarching DevOps goal: to streamline the software delivery process.
In this short blog post, we’ll be sharing some key highlights from our latest global survey wave and the answers of 14,000 developers who responded to questions related to DevOps between December 2021 and February 2022. Also, we’ll be looking at findings from the “Who is into DevOps?” chapter of our 19th Edition State of the Developer Nation free report.
If reading this leaves you wanting to dive deeper into our DevOps insights, we are happy to let you know that we have extended our DevOps research to provide answers to questions like:
The DevOps technologies and new tools developers have evaluated, including the top vendors: Atlassian, AWS, Azure, GitHub, GitLab, Google Cloud, Heroku, JFrog, Oracle
The specific DevOps products or plans developers are using
How application security is handled across organisations
Which vendors’ application security tools they are using
The processes developers use to secure their cloud-native applications and
Developers’ top security challenges
If you or your team are working on answering these DevOps questions, we will be happy to help you. Just get in touch.
What are the latest insights on DevOps?
In our latest report “Landscape and trends in DevOps” we look at the current landscape and trends within DevOps from the developers’ perspective. We aim to understand who these developers are, look at what DevOps activities they’re involved in, and whether increased DevOps adoption really leads to higher software delivery process performance.
Here are the main highlights from the analysis:
77% of the surveyed developers are involved in DevOps
Involvement in multiple DevOps activities/technologies is predictive of higher software delivery performance
The average number of DevOps technologies used by DevOps practitioners has increased from 4.2 to 4.6 from Q3 2021 to Q1 2022.
The last highlight means that the number of technologies used by DevOps practitioners has increased by nearly 10%. But DevOps practitioners are gradually exposed to a greater depth of activities too. Looking at each DevOps activity separately, we can see a significant increase in involvement across the board over the past 6 months:
To answer this question and the ones that followed it, we asked developers whether they are involved in any of the activities that commonly fall under the DevOps spectrum, ranging from continuous integration and deployment to application and infrastructure monitoring. For the purposes of this blog post, we only consider developers who are professionals in at least one of the software areas they are active in. All the insights in this section come from our State of the Developer Nation 19th edition which was published on Q3 2020. You can contact us for all the latest insights.
The first thing to note is that the adoption of DevOps practices is widespread among professionals, perhaps even more so than one might expect, given that the DevOps movement is relatively new. According to our data, the vast majority of professional developers (82%) are involved in DevOps in one way or another. For perspective, just over half (52%) of non-professionals are involved in any of the DevOps activities on our list.
The vast majority of professional developers are involved in DevOps, but do not necessarily consider themselves DevOps practitioners
On a separate view of engagement with DevOps in our survey, only one in five developers reported working on DevOps when they were explicitly asked about their involvement in several emerging areas, including blockchain applications and quantum computing, among others. Even if we include those who said that they are learning about or are interested in DevOps, no more than 65% consider themselves to be engaged with the area. This signals that a large portion of the developer population has already adopted DevOps practices but does not necessarily self-identify with the term.
Focussing on the individual steps of the DevOps lifecycle, we find that developers are first and foremost involved in the fundamental activity of releasing frequent but small software updates. The most popular development process related to DevOps is continuous integration (CI), practised by 40% of respondents. Another 37% use continuous delivery or deployment (CD), which expands upon CI by automatically deploying all code changes to staging or production environments.
However, full automation of the software release process – and therefore true commitment to the DevOps culture – is far from a reality. While more than half (52%) of developers use CI or CD to streamline parts of their workflow, only 25% use both practices to automate all steps between integrating code changes into a central repository through to production deployment. As it turns out, developers are still sceptical about fully automated CI/CD pipelines. This is evident by the fact that nearly 40% of them manually give the green light for code deployments to be promoted to production.
Application and infrastructure monitoring, performed by 39% of developers, is one of the most common development practices, but not so much infrastructure provisioning and management (27%), which is still the realm of IT managers and system administrators. Similarly, creating automated tests (25%) and building CI/CD pipelines (23%) are rather specialised tasks, carried out predominantly by quality assurance professionals and solution architects, respectively.
Talking about organisational roles; our research reveals noticeable differences in the level of DevOps adoption, i.e. involvement in any DevOps-related activity, depending on the title that developers hold. First of all, technical company leaders – CIOs, CTOs, IT managers, and engineering team leads – report the highest level of involvement in DevOps activities. Not only do almost all developers with a technical leadership function, about 95% of them, have at least some participation in the DevOps lifecycle, but they are also simultaneously involved in a higher than the average number of DevOps activities (three vs two).
Programmers have largely adopted CI/CD processes, but not so much other DevOps practices
The next tier of the DevOps adoption ranking is mainly occupied by specialist roles, such as network security engineers, QA developers, and system administrators. Between 86% and 91% of developers holding these positions are in some way associated with the DevOps culture. We should note, however, that only architects – system, solution, software etc. – appear to be heavily involved in all phases of the DevOps lifecycle. All other specialists are primarily focused on activities relevant to their expertise. For example, system administrators are naturally focused on infrastructure provisioning and monitoring, whereas QA engineers create automated tests for CI/CD pipelines more than anything else.
Front-line coders and software developers, who represent the majority of respondents in our survey (61%), are also highly likely to be involved in DevOps activities – 81% of them are although not more often than the average professional (82%). Our data suggest that software developers are keen to adopt CI/CD processes, but not so much operational practices such as monitoring applications in production environments. Again, this indicates that the complete shift to the DevOps culture has not yet been achieved. Apart from responsibilities central to their role, programmers are not accountable for additional product lifecycle phases.
Another important indicator of the level of engagement with DevOps practices is the software sectors that developers are involved in. As with roles, we see some interesting variations in DevOps adoption across sectors. For example, close to 90% of developers who create extensions for third-party ecosystems or backend services are into DevOps, as opposed to less than 80% of game developers.
That is partly explained by the extensive coding experience required to implement the DevOps model. We know from our data that DevOps practitioners are far more experienced coders than developers who are not involved in any DevOps-related activity. And developers working on apps for third-party ecosystems, backend services, or industrial IoT projects are among the most experienced in the software economy: up to 85% of them have three or more years of coding experience. In comparison, no more than 73% of game developers have the same level of expertise.
Nonetheless, we find that desktop app developers report relatively low adoption of DevOps practices, even though they are highly experienced professionals – 82% of them have at least three years of experience in software development. This points to limited alignment with the key benefits of DevOps more than anything else. Desktop applications typically receive updates at a lower frequency than applications running on other environments, e.g. servers. Therefore, the fundamental DevOps strategy of releasing small software updates at high velocity is not entirely applicable to desktop application projects.
In conclusion, DevOps signifies a cultural shift whereby developers from different teams work closely together with an aim to deliver software faster and more reliably. The practices of the DevOps model are already widely adopted among professional developers across software sectors and organisational roles, although with some significant variations in the focus on specific activities. These variations reveal, in some cases, that true commitment to the DevOps culture is not yet achieved; many developers are still focused on the core aspects of their role instead of assuming responsibility for additional phases of the product life cycle.
Want more DevOps insights? Get in touch and we can work together on all the questions you need to answer to optimise your strategy.
This is a chapter from our latest State of the Developer Nation 22nd Edition, which is free to download. You can watch our Lightning Session on the key findings and also read below for the whole report and insights on low-code / no-code tools.
Low-code/no-code (LCNC) tools provide a visual approach to software development, abstracting and automating parts of the application development process. This allows those without prior software development experience to create custom applications and provides potential time- and cost-saving for professional developers. In this chapter, we investigate the extent to which developers are using LCNC tools, showing differences according to professional status, geographical regions, and experience levels.
When it comes to reducing development overheads, addressing the challenge of finding skilled developers, and accelerating taking software to market, LCNC tools are becoming increasingly attractive. The sophistication of these tools is increasing rapidly, providing the potential to significantly disrupt the software industry. This begs the question, to what extent are developers1 using LCNC tools for their development projects?
We begin by separating developers according to their professional status – differentiating professionals from non-professionals, who are hobbyists and/or students. We excluded from our sample those who indicated that they were unsure about what share of their development work was done using LCNC tools. Just over half (54-55%) of developers in each group report that they are not using LCNC tools at all for their development work. This proportion is marginally lower for non-professionals who are students (55% of those who are exclusively students and 53% who are students and hobbyists) than non-professionals who identify as exclusively hobbyists (57%).
46% of professional developers use low-code/no-code tools for some portion of their development work
State of the Developer Nation 22nd Edition
The proportion of developers who do use LCNC tools does not differ across groups (46% of professionals vs 45% of non-professionals). This highlights that LCNC tools are finding traction among those less likely to be familiar with coding and that use-cases within professional software development are also common.
As experience increases, developers are less likely to use LCNC tools at all. This is particularly true among those with more than ten years of experience. These tools are often framed as being best suited for simple programming tasks. Hence, the complexity of development work assigned to more experienced developers may be less appropriate for LCNC approaches. Furthermore, experienced developers are likely to have mastery over simpler coding tasks, which leaves little room for the efficiency gains that LCNC tools are often heralded for.
Using LCNC tools without a degree of accompanying manual coding is highly uncommon across all experience levels. The proportion of developers who use LCNC tools for a small amount (up to a quarter) of their development work remains relatively constant (between 17-24%) across the experience spectrum. Therefore, LCNC’s most likely role is as an occasional adjunct to existing coding tools, regardless of developers’ experience.
Experienced developers, particularly those with more than 10 years of experience, are the least likely to use LCNC tools
State of the Developer Nation 22nd Edition
More extensive use of LCNC tools, i.e. for between one-quarter and three-quarters of all development activity, peaks slightly for those with around three to ten years of experience, revealing that it is early to mid-experience developers, rather than newcomers who are most likely to elevate LCNC tools’ status to essential. This is perhaps due to the recognised career importance of gaining traditional development experience, before reducing reliance on writing code. Only 2-4% of developers across all experience levels use LCNC tools for 75% or more of their development tasks, indicating that it is highly uncommon to shift the balance heavily towards LCNC-driven development.
Our data reveal notable differences in adoption and engagement with LCNC tools across different geographic regions. The Greater China area emerges as the region in which developers are most likely to be using LCNC approaches. 69% of developers in this region report using LCNC tools, compared to the global average of 46%. This suggests that the Chinese LCNC tool market has transitioned from an introduction phase to a growth phase. According to Mendix’s State of Low-Code report, IT professionals in China are the most likely to suggest that low-code is a trend their organisation can’t afford to miss (84% compared to 72% globally). Non-developer, or citizen developer, audiences also likely account for a large part of LCNC’s growth. However, as in all regions, the majority of bona fide software developers in the Greater China area currently use LCNC tools for less than half of their overall development work. It remains to be seen whether their reliance on such tools will also expand as the market and tools mature.
19% of developers in North America use Low-Code/No-Code tools for more than half of their coding work – almost twice the global average of 10%
North America has the second-highest LCNC tool adoption rate and stands out for the proportion of developers using LCNC tools to conduct more than half of their overall development work – 19% of developers here report that their use of LCNC tools outweighs their manual coding (comprising 13% using them for half to three-quarters of development work and 6% using them for more than three-quarters); almost double the global average of 10%. Hence, North America appears to be at the forefront of the LCNC movement, providing the strongest evidence that these tools can supplant traditional development approaches – even in a region where 81% of developers identify as professionals.
South Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and East Asia excluding Greater China are all above the global average in terms of LCNC tool adoption. Despite considerable uptake in these regions, LCNC products have not matured to the point where their use is a dominating feature of developers’ processes. Regions such as Western Europe and Israel, Oceania, Eastern Europe, and South America are all below the global average in terms of LCNC tool adoption.
The shortfall in these regions is particularly linked to smaller than average proportions using LCNC tools for more than 25% of their development work. The proportion using them for less than a quarter of their work is more comparable to the global average, suggesting that the market is still in its introductory phase in these regions – developers are evaluating the tools but are yet to rely on them for a substantial portion of their work.
Access the full free report to dive into insights on:
Understanding Developer Personalities
Who is using low-code / no-code tools
Spotlight on China and the Rest of East Asia
How developers generate revenue
If you have questions about the data above, want more or want to explore other topic areas we cover, talk to us.
In this article, we share a chapter from the latest State of the Developer Nation report, which anyone can access. We focus our attention on some of the key differences between developers in East Asia, including the Greater China region, and the rest of the world. Understanding these differences provides valuable insights that can help shape the strategy for developer engagement programs.
For this analysis, we split the Greater China area from the rest of East Asia to provide more regional granularity. In terms of relative size, we find that almost a fifth (18%) of the global developer population is located in either the Greater China region (9%) or the rest of East Asia (9%). Breaking down East Asia into countries, we see that more than half of the developers here are spread across two countries: Indonesia (32%) and Japan (21%).
When comparing developers across regions, we can see that just over a third (34%) of developers in the Greater China region have six or more years of experience, which is notably less than developers globally (43%). Furthermore, the Greater China region has a much smaller concentration (4% vs 22% globally) of highly-experienced developers (16+ years). With generally lower levels of experience in the Greater China area, aspiring developers may find starting a career here less competitive than developers in regions with higher levels of experience.
The Greater China area has a comparatively low concentration of highly experienced developers
State of the Developer Nation Q1 2022
East Asian developers outside China have similar levels of experience to the rest of the global developer population. Both groups have a little more than a third (34%) of their developers with 11+ years of software development experience. However, East Asia’s data are largely propped up by Japan. The developer community in Japan tends to be highly experienced, with almost six in ten developers (59%) having 16+ years of experience. No other country has a higher concentration of developers with this level of experience. With such a high concentration of highly skilled developers, we can expect some differences in behaviour, which we’ll highlight in the last section of this chapter.
More than 50% of Chinese Developers have learned how to code via undergraduate degrees in computing
State of the Developer Nation Q1 2022
The journey to coding mastery lacks a clearly defined path. Developers typically state they’ve used more than two learning methods on average to learn how to code. In general, the self-taught method is the most popular among developers globally, with more than 60% using this method. However, our data shows that the proportion of self-taught developers fluctuates significantly across regions.
In the Greater China area, the most popular method for developers to learn how to code is via an undergraduate degree in computing, with 50% having used this method. This is significantly higher than developers in other regions (41% – 42%). We generally see a higher concentration of professional developers in Greater China (83%) than we do in the rest of the world (70%). It could be that the job market in Greater China more often requires a degree in computing or engineering, which would also explain why self-teaching is used less often in this region.
Developers in the rest of East Asia, however, tend to follow the learning trends of developers in other regions. Here, we see the self-taught method is the most popular method (61%), followed by an undergraduate degree in software engineering (41%). Analysing the data at a country level, we see developers in Indonesia are more diverse learners. Developers in this country stated that they used three methods on average when learning to code. Indonesian developers are more likely to learn via self-teaching, online courses, and developer boot camps than any other developers in East Asia. This is quite different from their peers in Japan who are the least likely to use online courses and bootcamps to learn how to code. Instead, developers in Japan are most likely to use the self-taught (63%) and on-the-job training (45%) methods when learning to code.
Developers in the Greater China area are half as likely to have a Stack Overflow account than developers globally
State of the Developer Nation Q1 2022
Next, we explore how developers interact with the popular online community, Stack Overflow, to understand their engagement levels with programming support. Stack Overflow has become a standard support community for many developers, with more than eight in ten (85%) of the general developer population reporting they’ve used or visited this popular question and answer site.
Our focus on developers in East Asia and the Greater China area shows Stack Overflow’s popularity falls below the global average. Developers in these regions are around three times less likely to visit Stack Overflow than developers in other regions. Developers in the Greater China area are the least engaged, with only 19% having an account, and only 11% having earned at least one badge. Developers in this region have other home-grown Q&A site alternatives, such as segmentfault.com, which could be contributing to the lower adoption of Stack Overflow.
When looking closely at the rest of East Asia, we again see that developers in Japan are skewing the perception of this region. Developers in Japan have even less activity on Stack Overflow than developers in the Greater China area. Here, only a little more than a third (36%) stated they use Stack Overflow. Furthermore, only about 5% have an account. Like developers in the Greater China area, Our data does show usage of Stack Overflow increases among Japanese developers who have gained experience in software development, indicating that less experienced developers are using other platforms for support. Like China, Japan has other home-grown options like teratail.com where developers can field programming support from their peers, which may be the place new Japanese programmers visit more often to get answers to their questions.
That’s just one chapter from the State of the Developer Nation report. There are 5 more chapters you can access. Want more? Download the full report!
When asked about why we do what we do, there’s always one response: we love solving problems for the industry and our clients.
Our mission is to help our clients understand what the market looks like, what developers need, what excites developers and what doesn’t and what they expect from our clients’ products and the developer programs that go along with them. So, when we are approached with a request for some custom work, we roll up our sleeves and dive deep into the data.
In this blog post, we’ll look together into such a request and:
What the client asked
How we approached it
What we offered
How the client solved the problem.
Let’s see how this client, a household name we’ll call “Client”, which is a company among the Top 5 in tech and one of the largest in the world, worked with us to improve their Developer Experience.
Knock knock – The Question
The client chose to work with us to address developer experience. They already had access to our research showing how their satisfaction level compares against their competitors, but what they wanted was to understand what drives developer satisfaction with their product and what they can do to improve it.
What was the goal/challenge you were looking to accomplish?
The product we wanted was a custom project. We’re always really interested in the health of the developer experience. And so we use the Developer Program Benchmarking report as one of the indicators of the health of the Client developer experience. Within that, we are also interested in the adoption and engagement [of our product]. But within my team, we mostly focus on satisfaction as a proxy metric for developer experience. When we decided to do this custom project last year, it really was to understand “what is moving our satisfaction up or down?” and “what are some of the levers that we can adjust in order to improve our developer experience?” Some of this data is confirming things that we already know. And some of it is providing new insights. Both of those are valuable use cases for us.
This report helped us not look at developer experience in a vacuum, but benchmark it against the industry.
Why did you choose SlashData?
Part of that is the sample size. And I think the trusted relationship we already have. Also, I think this ties back into why do we choose the Developer Programs Benchmarking report. The competitive analysis in that report is important to us. While we didn’t focus on that in the deep dive, I do think that is one of the reasons why this data is helpful so that we’re not always looking at Client experience in a vacuum, but we can actually as the report says “benchmark it against the industry experience” as well.
After we looked at what questions our client has, we took a step back and looked at the data points that could help us find the answers. There were several data points to choose from, as we survey 30,000+ developers annually on 11 areas of interest.
How did our data solve your problem/challenge overall?
The area where we found it most useful is getting that cross-section of region, experience level, and product area. So we looked at that data. The place where it becomes a little harder in our process is making those insights actionable within our company. Part of our job is to provide the data and then folks act on it themselves. I think that Client Developer Relations, as a whole, is still thinking about “how do we make this data digestible and more centralised?”. SlashData is a big data source for us. But there’s a lot of information always coming in at us, around developer experience. We’re still trying to navigate how we make that useful and easily actionable for our people. I don’t think we’re there yet. I think we’re at the point where we’re thinking “I want data to do my job better”. And then, we’re at “wow, okay, well, there’s a lot of data. What do we do now?”.
What decisions did you make using the data/research?
What we wanted to focus more on were the top three things that are important to developers this year. I don’t always have visibility into the TA level on what decisions might be made from this data. That’s also something that we want to do better. It’s also hard though because we don’t always expect that there will be a leader who’s going to take this and say “I now declare, we all must focus on this”. We are equally happy if a single engineer sees this data and then goes and makes a change in the parts that they affect. That alone makes the overall developer experience better. There’s this interesting intersection of leadership use and individual contributor use. We know that there’s value to both sides, but we don’t necessarily track what that value is.
Seamless cooperation is key to bringing in good results. That’s why we wanted to know how our client felt about working with us on this project.
What did you like about the process of working with SlashData?
I think that Slashdata is a good partner. Especially when we focus on discovery. We had a case last year when we didn’t necessarily know what we were looking for. Your response was to try out different things. Even when we asked for a random data table, you did not only deliver it, but you also provided a comprehensive analysis and different ways that we could look at the data. Last year we focused a lot on regional topics but we also broke it down by product area. And then at the end of that, we decided that we didn’t care so much about the region. What we needed to focus on more is the product area. We have that partnership where we can do some exploration, and then have things work out well. Even if they don’t work out well, we continue from there. That’s a really important part of this piece. The flexibility is really important to us, and just as much, your responsiveness.
How would you describe the service quality?
I think that’s excellent. We’re not always super buttoned up on what we want and that causes a lot more work on your end, but it’s handled well. I feel like you have helped us navigate that a lot.
What are the things you found challenging when working with SlashData?
We don’t always know what we’re looking for. We are relying on you, the data analysts’ expertise to help guide us. We need the expertise, but you don’t know the business goals. And it’s challenging to try to find that middle ground where I can articulate the business goals well enough for you to provide the expertise and help us decide on the right metrics or analysis that would prove to be useful information for those business goals.
The 22nd Developer Nation global survey from SlashData reached more than 20,000 developers in 166 countries. Its findings are bundled in a free “State of the Developer Nation” report.
This research report delves into key developer trends for Q1 2022, taking a particular interest in the following:
Language communities – An update
Understanding developer personalities
Who is using low-code/no-code tools?
Spotlight on China and the rest of East Asia
How developers generate revenues
Here are some highlights from the report, guaranteed to intrigue your curiosity:
Language communities – An update
Go and Ruby are important languages in backend development but Go has grown more than twice as fast in the past year in absolute terms.
Rust has nearly tripled in size in the past 24 months, from just 0.6M developers in Q1 2020 to 2.2M in Q1 2022.
State of the Developer Nation 22nd Edition
Spotlight on China and the rest of East Asia
More than a quarter of developers in Greater China (26%) and the rest of East Asia (27%) don’t use Stack Overflow, which is more than three times the rate of developers in the rest of the world (8%).
The Greater China area has a relatively low concentration of highly- experienced developers (16+ years of development) when compared to developers in the rest of East Asia and the rest of the world.
More than half of Chinese developers have learned how to code via undergraduate degrees in computing, which is about 10 percentage points more than developers in the rest of East Asia and the rest of the world.
How developers generate revenues
Contracted development is the revenue model of choice across all industry verticals, used by nearly a third (31%) of professional developers.
Less than one in ten (7%) professional developers are generating revenue from selling data.
Usage of the advertising revenue model declines as companies grow in size.
Developers working for large enterprises (5K+ employees) tend to use multiple revenue models less often than developers in smaller companies.
Below we have included a few graphs that illustrate some of the findings.