Developers value flexibility, tech stack in a hybrid working world

Developers value flexibility, tech stack in a hybrid working world

Stack Overflow's latest developer survey shows that most developers are working remotely and favour a flexible working environment where they can use their favourite technologies.

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Most software developers are now working remotely at least some of the time, and flexibility is more highly valued than ever, according to the 70,000 developers that responded to the May 2022 Stack Overflow Developer Survey.

Key takeaways from the report include insights into shifting developer priorities at work and the technologies engineers most love and loathe for their projects.

New rules for developer hiring and retention

Developer teams were forced to go fully remote in 2020, and many are still grappling with how it's impacted their working habits. This year, 85 per cent of developers say their organisations are at least partially remote, with a near-even 43 per cent split between fully-remote and hybrid organisations. Large enterprise organisations are the most likely to be hybrid over fully remote, at 51 per cent.

"The world has made the decision to go hybrid and remote, I have a lot of confidence given the data I have seen that that is a one-way train that has left the station," Prashanth Chandrasekar, CEO of Stack Overflow told InfoWorld.

Chandrasekar says that flexibility and the tech stack developers get to work with are the most important contributors to overall happiness at work. "Many developers drop out of the hiring process because of the tech stack they will be working with," he said.

The number of professional developers that are independently employed also jumped to 17 per cent this year, an increase of five percentage points from last year.

Organisational culture is also shifting, and cloud-native techniques have taken hold among Stack Overflow survey respondents. Most professional developers (70 per cent) now use some form of CI/CD and 60 per cent have a dedicated devops function. 

However, only 38 per cent of respondents have an internal developer portal to find the tools and services they need. Only 16 per cent of organisations use innersource techniques to share code and knowledge.

Technologies developers love and loathe

JavaScript continues to be the most popular programming language among Stack Overflow respondents, used by 68 per cent of the 53,000 professional developers who responded to this question.

While popular, JavaScript is not the most loved language; that accolade went to Rust for the seventh year running, with 87 per cent of respondents saying they want to continue using it.

JavaScript frameworks like Node and React kept their footing as the most used web frameworks, with a combined 90 per cent usage among professional developers. Elsewhere, Phoenix overtook Svelte as the most loved web framework, while Angular.js remains the most dreaded, and React.js the most wanted.

It's a multi-cloud world

Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains the most used cloud platform among the 44,000 professional developers that responded to this question, at 55 per cent of respondents. Microsoft Azure (30 per cent) and Google Cloud Platform (26 per cent) are next in line.

"It is very much a multi-cloud world, and a lot of AWS developers are learning about GCP or Azure and asking lots of questions about those platforms," Chandrasekar said.

Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) options like Google Firebase (21 per cent) and Heroku (18 per cent) proved somewhat popular with respondents, but were less popular with professional developers than those learning to code. For newer developers, Heroku is the most popular overall platform at 35 per cent, followed by Firebase at 30 per cent.

Docker use is steady and rising

Docker appears to be seeing a resurgence. Usage among professional developers jumped from 55 per cent to 69 per cent this year, making it the most commonly used tool by professional developers. It’s also the most loved, with 77 per cent of developers saying they want to continue using Docker. When it comes to tool usage, in second place was the ubiquitous package manager npm, followed by Yarn, Homebrew, and Kubernetes.

Lastly, Web3 still has software developers torn, with 32 per cent of respondents favourable, 31 per cent unfavourable, and 26 per cent indifferent. Web3 refers to the emerging idea of a decentralised web where data and content are registered on blockchains, tokenised, or managed and accessed on peer-to-peer distributed networks.

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