Every year, Stack Overflow conducts a survey of its users to help inform the development of its community and platform. This year, more than 80,000 developers shared how they learn, the tools and languages they use, and provided all sorts of feedback valuable to Stack Overflow’s direction. The results also present a snapshot of developers and development as of when the survey was conducted.

The results of the 2021 Stack Overflow Survey were recently shared publicly, along with commentary and insight provided by Stack Overflow. We will take a look at some of the more interesting data points as they pertain to data science, data scientists, and all of the many data-related positions and those professionals who fill them.

Developer Profile

 
 
The first section of the survey concentrates on characteristics of the responding developers themselves: demographic information such as age and geographic location; how long they have been coding; how they learned to code; and more.

A few quick and interesting quotes specifically related to learning to code, as well as developer employment, pulled directly form the overview of the survey are shared below, along with some charts summarizing response frequencies to key developer profile questions.

This year, for example, we observed a significant evolution in the way developers educate themselves. For the rising cohort of coders under the age of 18, online resources like videos and blogs are more popular than books and school combined, a statistic that doesn’t hold for any of our other age cohorts. Overall, the profession is full of new joiners, with more than 50% indicating they have been coding for less than a decade, and more than 35% having less than five years in the trade.

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Figure 1. Responses to 2021 Stack Overflow Survey question “How did you learn to code?

It is no surprise that almost 60% of respondents learned how to code from online resources. Younger respondents tend to learn from online courses, forums, and other online resources. Older respondents, on the other hand, learned from more traditional mediums like school and books.

81% of professional developers are employed full-time, a decrease from 83% in 2020. The percentage of professional developers saying they were independent contractors, freelancers, or self-employed increased from 9.5% in 2020 to 11.2% in 2021 – indicating potential job insecurity or a shift to more flexible work arrangements.

We now turn our…

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