Key Insights From the Stack Overflow Developers Survey 2021

More than two-thirds of the coders have written their first line of codes before the age of 17 years.

The much-awaited Stack Overflow Developers Survey 2021 is released. The annual developer survey conducted by Stack Overflow provides a snapshot of the programming community that may be used to establish hiring strategies and prioritise programming plans. This year’s report was based on a total of 83,439 responses from software developers from 181 countries. 

The USA, India, and Germany are the top three countries in terms of the number of responses received. Here, we have curated some of the key insights from the survey from 25 May 2021 to 15 June 2021. 

Two significant concerns out of the survey need thorough consideration. First, overall, 91 per cent of all respondents and 92 per cent of professional developers have identified themselves as a man — indicating a wide gender gap. Secondly, the Indian picture is worrisome – over 73% of the respondents declared themselves working full-time in 2020. However, the percentage has reduced to a mere 58.39% in 2021.

Coders start Young

More than two-thirds of the coders have written their first line of codes before the age of 17. Half of the software developers are pretty young and have been coding for ten years or less. Almost 60% of those polled said they learned to code using online tools. Online classes, forums, and other online tools are popular among younger respondents. On the other hand, older responders received their education through more traditional means such as school and books.

Taking education into consideration, over 42 per cent of the software developers have completed their Bachelor’s degree, and one-fifth of the respondents have a Master’s degree. 


For the ninth year in a row, JavaScript is the most widely used programming language. Web programming is the most common type of programming for most developers. Python has surpassed SQL to become the third most popular programming language. The orthogonality feature in a programming language allows programmers to construct major commands from a small set of primitive commands, and SQL is a language with bad orthogonality — the bottleneck. Similarly, languages including Julia, F#, Erlang, APL, Crystal and COBOL remained at the bottom. The top ten programming languages are shown below:

Image Credits: Stack Overflow

Some major insights to be looked at include:

  • MySQL, PostgresSQL, and SQLite are the top three databases for professional developers and have opted for Microsoft SQL Server over MongoDB. 
  • AWS maintains its lead as the most widely used cloud platform, with nearly 60 per cent of the professional developers voting in favour. Additionally, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure made substantial gains from last year.
  • Windows, macOS, and Linux-based operating systems maintain the top spots for most popular operating systems.
  • Python is the most wanted language for the fifth year, and Rust is the most loved language for the sixth year.
  • TensorFlow, React Native, Flutter, Torch/Pytorch, and NumPy are the five top most wanted libraries for developers.
  • React.js replaced jQuery this year to be the most commonly used web framework. Git is used by almost 90% of responders, implying that it is an essential tool for developers.

Image Credits: Stack Overflow

  • When stuck with a problem, most developers look out for two ways: Google it, or visit Stack Overflow.

Work and Pay 

Nearly 81% of the professional developers said they were working full-time, although it was 83% in 2020’s survey. The number of professional developers who said they were freelancers, self-employed, or independent contractors climbed from 9.5 per cent in 2020 to 11.2 per cent in 2021, indicating possible job insecurity or a transition to more flexible work arrangements.

After being the highest-paid language the previous year, Perl falls from first to fifth place in pay this year. Clojure developers make the most money, with a median income of 14k more than F# developers. 

Image credits: Stack Overflow

Also, the number of freelancers has increased from 4.9% in 2020 to 6.5% in 2021 – too early to call it a significant shift to be witnessed in the coming years.

The annual developer survey evaluates all aspects of the average developer’s experience starting from the job search and ending at career satisfaction while touching education and opinions on open-source softwares as well. This year’s survey has interesting trends worthy of note.  

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