This past March, Stack Overflow released the results from its 2018 Developer Survey. Over 100,000 developers took the 30-minute survey and responded to questions about their favourite technologies and their job preferences. While many of the questions appeared in previous versions of the survey, we also asked developers to respond to a few new topics, ranging from artificial intelligence to ethics in coding.
Now that we’ve had a couple of months to digest all of the findings, there were a few things in particular that grabbed our attention. Let’s take a closer look at a high-level rundown of the key takeaways that stood out from the 2018 Stack Overflow Developer Survey.

DevOps and Machine Learning Continue to Rise

DevOps and Machine Learning are two of the most important technology trends today. Not surprisingly, the languages and frameworks that are closely associated with them are on the rise. The top five amongst DevOps developers are JavaScript, SQL, Java, Python, and PHP in that order. When you compare that to the most commonly used languages (JavaScript, SQL, Java, C#, and Python), it’s not difficult to see the growth of all of the technologies used in DevOps and Machine Learning.
Additionally, as these trends and their related technologies continue to rise, developers working in these areas command the highest salaries. DevOps Specialists currently earn an average of $60,215 U.S. dollars, while Machine Learning Specialists trail by a small margin at $57,000 U.S. dollars.

Most Developers Wouldn’t Write Unethical Code

Back in 2016, Bill Sourour wrote a now-viral post about writing code for an unethical cause. Based on what we learned in this year’s survey, a vast majority of developers still agree with this sentiment. In fact, over half of our respondents said that they wouldn’t write such code.
That being said, developers also agree that ethical situations can be complicated. Over 36% of respondents said that it would depend on the job, with just over 4% saying that they would write this code. It’s clear that even though determining ethics is a case-by-case basis, many developers still find it incredibly difficult.

Developers Are Optimistic About the Possibilities of Artificial Intelligence

With more developers than ever working on machine learning and artificial intelligence projects, we added questions to this year’s survey to get their thoughts on what they think is dangerous and exciting about these technologies.
Regarding positives, over 40% of respondents were most excited about the ability to automate jobs, with another 23% saying that they’re optimistic about algorithms making important decisions. On the other hand, there wasn’t much consensus about the biggest dangers of artificial intelligence. While algorithms making important choices was selected as the most significant risk by over 28% of developers, each answer was chosen roughly equally.

Python is Growing in Popularity Amongst Developers

In 2017, 32% of developers said that Python was the most commonly used programming language. This year, that number grew to over 38%. Remember, over 100,000 developers responded to the 2018 edition of our developer survey, compared to 64,000 the year before. With that in mind, it’s clear that Python has a solid claim to being the fastest-growing programming language on the technology landscape.
According to Dr. Dave Robinson, the growth of Python can be attributed to a couple of factors. For starters, Robinson suggests that the fastest-growing use of Python is for data science, machine learning, and academic research. At the same time, he says that its growth is spread evenly across industries, which indicates that data science and machine learning have become more common at all types of companies.

Job Priorities Are Different Amongst Developer Types

Over the last few years, we’ve asked developers about their biggest job evaluation criteria. This year, we took it a step further and quickly realized that job priorities differ significantly across all developer types.
The male respondents to our survey said that their biggest priorities are compensation (19%) and the technologies they’d be working with (17.6%). Our female respondents had very different answers. Nearly 17% of the women that completed the survey listed the office environment or company culture as their biggest priority. Not far behind that was professional development, with 16.8% of female developers saying that it was one of their most important job evaluation criteria.

Want to dive deeper into the data? We’ll make the anonymized results of the survey available for download under the Open Database License (ODbL) on May 30th. In the meantime, you can see the full data sets from previous years here.

Rich is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow, where he covers the latest in tech recruiting and developer engagement. When he’s not writing, Rich can be found hanging with his wife, watching his favourite college football team with his dad, or running around Manhattan in preparation for his next marathon.