Golang Wants Your Opinion
Written by Lucy Black   
Tuesday, 03 December 2019

A call has gone out to all Go developers, past and present and future, to participate in the fourth annual survey conducted on behalf of Golang.org. You have until December 15th to provide your opinions and to encourage other Go devs to do so.


Announcing the survey Todd Kulesza, UX research lead for the Go programming language at Google wrote:

We'd love to hear from everyone who uses Go, used to use Go, or is interested in using Go, to help ensure the language, community, and ecosystem fit the needs of the people closest to it. 

He also emphasized the importance of the survey results in shaping the ongoing development of the language saying that developer feedback:

has played an enormous role in driving changes to our language, ecosystem, and community, including the gopls language server, new error-handling mechanics, the module mirror, and so much more from the latest Go 1.13 release. 

Although Go has been going as an open source language for 10 years the survey was only initiated in 2016. I Programmer has reported twice on its results see see Go Survey Revelations and Go Survey Shows Show Continuing Preference For Go for the 2017  and 2018 editions respectively,

This year's Go survey is estimated to take about 15 minutes to complete. It  is well-designed survey that has a logical structure, starting with where you program in Go and permitting multiple choices: 


The next question is about number of employees you work with, choices ranging from "Just me" and "2 - 9 employees" up to "10,000 or more employees ". There is also "I do not work full- time".

Then comes a question about the areas in which you work with Go. There are fourteen options listed alphabetically, from "Databases" to "Web Development" plus "Other" with a box to write in your answer and you are asked to select all that apply.

The next question asks for a single choice that best describes the industry in which your organization operates. If none of the 11 options fit there is again "Other" to supply your own answer.

The crucial question about your degree of immersion in the Go language comes next, asking you to choose from 5 options:

gosurv3There are three-follow up questions to this. The first is the length of time you've used go, ranging from "Less than 3 months" to "8+ years" in a total of 6 bands.  To put this in context you are next asked "How many years have you coded professionally" with 7 bands going from "Less than 1 year" to "More than 20 years" and "I've never coded as part of my job" to distinguish students and hobbyists. Finally in this section you are asked about what you write in Go - Desktop/GUI applications; Libraries or frameworks, CLIs, Mobile Apps etc. There are 10 specified options plus Other and you are asked to select all that apply.

Next come questions about satisfaction and pain points. These start with the ubiquitous:

On a scale from 0 - 10, how likely are you to recommend Go to a friend or colleague?

Then there are three statements to respond to on a 7-point scale ranging from "Strongly disagree to "Strongly agree" with N/A as the final option:

  • Go is critical to my company's success
  • I would prefer to use Go for my next project
  • Go is working well for my team

Then come a list of eight reasons that might inhibit use of Go - such as lack of educational/support resources, lack of critical libraries, team preferences for other languages. Depending on you choices here you might be asked to provide  more information such as:

Which developer tools or infrastructure are you using that don't work well with Go?

What prevents Go from being an appropriate language for what you're working on?

All respondents are asked to respond to: 

What is the biggest challenge you personally face using Go today?

Next the survey asks questions about how you use Go - which operating system(s) you use, your choice of editor, how quickly you start evaluating new releases of Go and where you deploy Go programs to and  and the other tools you use.

The next page of the survey presents twelve statements about Go and asks you how important  they are to you on 5-point scales that go from "Not at all important to Critically important". N/A (not applicable) is an option each time.

Then comes a set of twelve statements about Go that asks for a satisfaction rating on a 7-point scale, again with N/A as an option. This is followed by four statements asking you to agree or disagree again on a 7-point scale.

This page of the survey also asks for you to select which of eight techniques relating to testing and debugging you use when developing in Go and to provide feedback on what prevents you from diagnosing bugs and performance issues. It also asks about tools you use for Go package management. 

Turning to Go community issues there are questions about attendance at Go events, use of resources for Go-related questions and your involvement in open source projects written in Go. You'll find more 7-point agree/disagree scales here and an opportunity to suggest changes that might make the Go community more welcoming. 

Changing tack the next pages asks you to rank programming languages in terms of preference - asking for your top five. You are asked to do the same with your expertise in languages. The form has an alphabetical list of languages from Bash to TypeScript plus an Other box and  lets to drag and drop them interactively into an answer box: 


Right at  the end of the survey the topic returns to the topic of the Go community, starting with the question"What is your preferred spoken/written language" and a drop-down list of choices. This is followed by two questions pertaining to inclusively both prefaced by a carefully worded request for possibly sensitive information:

We want the Go community to be inclusive; we want to see how we're doing and how to improve. If you would like to, you can tell us whether you identify with:

a traditionally underrepresented group

as female

In both cases the option "I prefer not to answer" is provided.

I found this an interesting and at times thought-provoking survey that has the potential to provide the Go project with useful feedback so it is worth spreading the word of its existence.

Looking back at the previous surveys 3,595 Go developers participated in the first one; this number of respondents jumped to 6,173 for the second survey but then dropped back to to 5,883 last year.

This is a tiny fraction of all Go developers. According to an estimate by Russ Cox, the Go programming language tech lead at Google, who uses data from a number of sources to compute the formula:

Number of Go Developers  =  Number of Software Developers  ×  Fraction using Go 

there were between half a million and a million Go developers worldwide in July 2017 and in November 2019 this had risen to between 1.15 and 1.96 million. How he arrives at these estimates is  detailed in the post How Many Go Developer Are There? If the survey could reach even 1% of this total it would be upwards of 10,000 respondents and surely, with a bit of social media promotion it could do better than that. 

Let's see if we can reach the under-surveyed million or more Go developers and  invite them to help in the future of Go. 

Although Go has recently launched a new developer portal, go.dev it doesn't currently have a link to the survey so the link to share, as well as to this article, is Take the 2019 Go Developer Survey.   


 More Information

Take the 2019 Go Developer Survey

 How Many Go Developer Are There?

Go Dev Homepage

Related Articles

Go Survey Shows Show Continuing Preference For Go 

Go Survey Revelations

Go.Dev Portal Now Online

Go 1.13 Modernizes Number Literals

A Programmer's Guide To Go 

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 03 December 2019 )