State of the Union: programming professionally in 2016

Stack Overflow released their latest annual developer survey last month. (For any non-programmers reading: Stack Overflow is a website where you can ask questions about programming. For many programming problems, the answer will already be up there. It’s an amazing resource that almost everyone in the industry uses.) A few key points stood out for me.

Education: 43% of programmers have a BA or BS in Computer Science or a related field. This is a much smaller number than I would have guessed. It’s amazing to think that most programmers don’t have a CS degree. The survey methodology has changed from last year, when respondents could only pick one option for their education, Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised. During a recent retrospective at Pivotal, I noted that of the handful of people in the room, most either had a degree in a non-CS subject or didn’t have a degree at all.

Bootcamp graduates: 6.5% of developers with over five years’ experience have taken a full-time intensive programming course – that’s over 1 in 20, more than I expected. It suggests that bootcamp alumni are finding their feet as professional developers, and shouldn’t have problems getting jobs as long as their skills stay relevant. Bootcamp graduates’ salaries are 20% above average – a similar uplift to having a CS PhD.

Salary by gender: there’s no gender pay gap for young developers in the US – but there’s a significant pay gap for those above 30. The effect is smaller, but still significant, when comparing by years of experience instead of age.

Gender balance by age: women make up much more of the youngest and oldest age groups than those in the middle. The peak in the over-60 age group certainly corresponds to the 1980s peak – and subsequent collapse – in the number of women taking CS degrees, and when those women would have entered the workforce. Perhaps we’re seeing an uptick in the number of women entering the industry.

The stack: JavaScript is the most used technology by front-end, back-end and full-stack developers. Wat.