Shifts & Stability In Developer Landscape
Written by Janet Swift   
Wednesday, 20 July 2022

There's a wealth of information in the Stack Overflow Developer Survey. After looking for changes in the programming languages used by developers the conclusion is that there's not a lot of churn. The tool that has overtaken the field is Visual Studio Code which now towers head and shoulders over its competitors.

Not only is Stack Overflow's the largest developer survey it is also cross-platform which means it has results of interest to all of us. It has also been going a long time so we can use it to look for trends.

2022desurvsq

One result that has been consistent for almost the entire history of the survey is that JavaScript is the most commonly used programming language. You have to turn the clock back to 2013 to find in it very close second place to SQL (yes SQL!) - with both of them on 57%. Back then HTML/CSS wasn't included as an option and the question was about "Most Popular Technologies" and Node.js and Angular.js were included alongside 10 languages. It was 2018 when Programming, Scripting and Mark Up Languages was made into a grouping and in that year JavaScript was used by 70% of respondents, HTML by 69%, CSS by 65% and SQL was still on 57%. HTML/CSS became a single option in 2019, recording 64% to JavaScript's 68%. SQL lost a few percentage points to 54%. In 2021 Python overtook SQL, 48% to 47% while JavaScript had 65% but this year Python was back in 4th place: 

SOlangs 

This year Stack Overflow split All Respondents, which in the case of this question numbered 71,547 into Professional Developers (53,421) and Learning to Code (6,239). The most used language for the latter group was HTML/CSS (62.59%), pushing JavaScript into second place (59.79%) with Python a close third (58.33%). Java came in fourth, but with only 38.67% almost level pegging with SQL (37.8%).

Turning to the development environment, Stack Overflow's results do reveal that Visual Studio Code, which only appeared on the scene in 2015, has steadily, but convincingly, become the dominant source code editor. Although it isn't a full IDE it has many of the helpful features required by programmers, such as syntax highlighting, intelligent code completion, snippets, code refactoring and support for debugging.

Here's the result of the 2022 survey:

SOIDEsAmong those learning to code VS Code is even more popular (81%) and so is PyCharm (26%). 

It is when you compare 2022 to to 2018 that you see how VS Code has captured the market. Back in 2018 it was only just ahead of Microsoft's paid-for Visual Studio which was on a par with the free but primitive Notepad++. GitHub's Atom was at its most popular in 2018 and now it is being ditched in view of VS Code's obvious greater popularity. 

SOIDEs2018

 

VS Code has embedded Git support for version control and in 2022 Stackoverflow included new questions probing version control that revealed differences between Professional Developers and those learning to code. Whereas only 1.4% of Professional Developers answered "I don't use one" to the question:

What are the primary version control systems you use? Select all that apply. 

17% of those learning  to code chose that answer. Git was overwhelmingly the tool of choice with 97% of professional developers and 82% of those learning to code using it.

The command line is the primary way developers interact with their version control systems but Command-line was a less popular option for those learning to code (77.48%) and Code editor more popular (57.58%) among those learning to code.

SOversioncontrol2

Just as VS Code is head and shoulders ahead of the competitors, so is GitHub:

SOversioncontrol

While GitHub is the most popular version control for both personal and professional use,  GitLab, Bitbucket, and Azure Repos are more likely to be used for professional purposes rather than personal ones. 

so2022change

More Information

Stack Overflow 2022 Developer Survey 

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 July 2022 )