I wrote about the 2018 Developer Survey and some insights that I found, and after reviewing the 2019 Developer Survey by StackOverflow, I am not surprised by any of the trends I continue to see:
The significant majority of respondents appear to highly weigh the innovative efforts of Elon Musk despite what many believe to be counter-productive social media practices by Mr. Musk:
Age Bias by Industry or Organization Type
Workers at web and SaaS companies tend to have fewer years experience than those working for government or consulting agencies. This would lend credibility to the complaints many of the folks in my various circles have uttered regarding age bias in SaaS companies in the major tech markets of Seattle and Silicon Valley. Having personally worked for a government agency, a consulting company and multiple SaaS companies I can verify there is a noticeable age difference among employees within the three.
Company Size & Worker Experience
"Developers work in companies of all sizes, from small to large enterprise organizations. More software developers in the United States work at larger companies compared to the rest of the world, including Europe. The more experienced a developer is, the more likely they are to work at a larger company. On average, each additional year of professional coding experience is associated with a 30-person increase in a developer's organizational size." - insights.stackoverflow.com/
I find this to be of particular importance. This reinforces the age bias theory within technology companies in particular. I would be very curious to cross-reference this with internal employee data at organizations like Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon to see what their average employee age is relative to the technology industry at large.
Misery Loves Company
Nearly 26% of respondents indicated they are not satisfied with their career nor their job. Particularly interesting is that the higher up the hierarchy within an organization respondents are the more satisfied they appear to be. Particularly at the executive level.
SREs and DevOps respondents appear to buck this trend by being more satisfied than their peers within the industry, which I believe speaks volumes to the DevOps cultural shift I have spoken about and am a big supporter of.
Interestingly, despite many being unsatisfied, nearly 80% of respondents are "somewhat" or very confident in their managers and believe they know what they're doing, and yet only ~25% wish to be managers themselves.
Job satisfaction & what it means for organizations
When more than one quarter of your workforce is not satisfied, it comes as no surprise that upwards of 75% of workers are either actively searching or open to new opportunities. Those in academia, research or design professions are the most interested in greener pastures.
Continuing an unfortunate trend, frequent job changes are still the norm where more than half of respondents have changed jobs within the last two years (~32% within the last year). With that being said, updates to LinkedIn or similar resume profiles appear to be directly correlated to an active or impending job search.
What Developers Want
Finally, to the crux of the conversation; what developers value most:
- Office/Company culture & diversity (>50%)
- Flexibility and/or ability to work remotely (~40%)
- Languages, Frameworks & Technology (>50%, but heavily skewed non minority & male)
This Should Scare Us All
- ~23% of respondents do not participate in code reviews (~7% do so only because they're forced to)
- ~12% of respondents spend less than one hour per week on code reviews (~2.5% spend over 20 hours!)
- ~37% of respondents do not have unit test coverage on their code (~4% are glad they don't!)
- Developers who responded as "Academic Researcher" have significantly less compensation. (Research indicates this is likely not a leading factor for dissatisfaction: see "Total Motivation" theories by Neel Doshi & Lindsay McGreggor in Primed to Perform).
I find this data to be immensely valuable at helping to drive decisions and thought processes around how and why various things are more or less important. Particularly with respect to the factors that are most important to developers and what will lead to happier and more satisfied colleagues, I find this report to be of tremendous value.