We all know why developers are important. They write the software that makes the world run.
But how much do we know about who developers actually are? The answer, in many cases, is very little. After all, most developers work behind the scenes, hidden away from end-users. Unlike actors in a movie or authors of a book, developers rarely receive credit for their work. You might stand in line at the grocery store behind the person who wrote code for your email app, or who helped program your smart thermostat, but you’d never know it.
That’s part of the reason why Worldpay produced a survey of professional coders to figure out what makes developers tick. The survey doesn’t help raise developers from the anonymity in which they work, but it does provide critical insights into what payments developers are like, why they chose to become programmers, and what interests them.
Here’s a summary of key findings from the survey report:
The path to a coding career
One major focus of the survey was understanding what leads people to become developers, and how they gain the skills necessary to program.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of professional developers said they have been coding at least since they were teenagers. Most also reported that they have been working as coders for at least 10 years.
Coloring that finding is the fact that, age-wise, it turns out that most developers are young. Millennials account for the largest share of the coder population today. Millennials also make up the largest portion of today’s workforce overall, so that is probably at least part of the reason why they are well-represented among the coding population.
How did all of these developers learn to code? The survey found that about half of developers learned to program via formal schooling. However, self-taught programmers accounted for a large portion (38 percent) of respondents. And somewhat surprisingly, a mere 4 percent of respondents said they learned to code through a programming bootcamp, suggesting that the interest that bootcamps have generated in the media in recent years is not proportionate to the number of people who actually become professional programmers through them.
Development tools and strategies
All developers write code, but the way they do it varies widely — and “modern” coding strategies are not as prevalent as you might think.
According to the survey, Agile stands out as the most popular approach to coding, with more than 57 percent of developers saying they rely on Agile methods. In contrast, DevOps, which receives lots of press these days, was among the least popular development methodologies, with only 4 percent of respondents saying they use it. Conversational development was the second-most popular approach, with 13 percent of developers embracing it.
When it comes to programming languages, Python is the most popular by far, with 39 percent of respondents identifying it as their favorite language. C++ was second, at 26 percent. Ruby and Java were both identified as favorites by only 9 percent of programmers, which I found surprisingly low, given how widely used these languages are.
Where developers work
Coders might be in their line of work partly because they like it, but most do it for a paycheck, too. When it comes to earning that paycheck, a majority of developers work solely in an office, although 38 percent said that their teams are allowed to work remotely, too. And while most developers work on small teams of two to five people, about a quarter work alone. (The survey didn’t distinguish between freelance developers and those employed by a company, so it’s hard to say whether developers who work alone are self-employed, or just work solo within a company.)
As for company size, the types of organizations that employ developers are spread pretty evenly between small companies with fewer than 10 employees, medium-sized ones and large enterprises, although companies with between 11 and 99 employees had the highest representation among developers surveyed.
One of the more interesting questions on the survey was about how hard it is to integrate payments into an app. That may not be a task that developers think about until they sit down and actually do it, but given how many apps have to process payments today, payment integration has become an important part of coding.
On this topic, most developers said it was “somewhat easy” to integrate payments, but about 35 percent said it was somewhat difficult or very difficult.
Above are just some of the findings from Worldpay’s developer survey report. For full details and specific data points, as well as some interesting results involving developer preferences regarding cats, dogs and more, check out the report.