Insights and Key Points from the StackOverflow Developers Survey 2021

October 18th, 2021

Evgenia Kuzmenko KITRUM Brand ManagerEvgenia Kuzmenko

The Stack Overflow Developers Survey2021 was recently published, and just like always, this year’s survey is insightful and reveals the trends, overview, and futuristic path of the programming world.

This year’s research was informed by the responses of 83,439 software engineers from across 181 countries. Here we have summarized the key points from this most recent report; you’d find them interesting.

Key Point 1: It’s unfortunately still a man’s world

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Going by the responses from the survey, programming remains largely a male-dominated profession. The report indicates that 91.67% of all participants and about 92% of expert developers identified as males. This stance has been corroborated by the FRG consulting survey that revealed that about one in every ten developers is a woman.

But don’t get gloomy yet, the tides are gradually changing, and we are slowly but increasingly having more females interested in technology. As of 2016, the male folks made up 94% of the total programmers. A Techjury report projects that women would make up 40% of tech positions by 2030. Cheers to a balanced future!

Key Point 2: Coders learn early

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Many programmers have admitted to having developed an interest in coding at a very young age. More than 50% of the participants revealed that they wrote their first strings of code between the ages of 11 -17. The report further revealed that more than 89% of expert developers were below the age of 45. The Stack Overflow report of 2018 indicated that the average age of coders ranges between 22 – 29.

But don’t get disinterested just yet if you’re above 45; it’s never too late to learn something new. You just have to be willing to commit, and age would not be a barrier. 0.95% of expert programmers wrote their first line of code between the ages of 45-65.

Key Point 3: Full-stack coders are still leading the pack; while designers are dwindling

Full-stack developers still make up the bulk of programmers (49.47%); however, they are closely followed by backend and frontend developers, who make up 43.73% and 27.42%, respectively. The report also admitted that the roles of designers have dwindled in the past year, with many substituting their roles for that of system administrators.

Key Point 4: Online education is becoming more mainstream and effective

Contrary to the bias that online education is not effective and never enough, almost 60% of respondents admitted learning how to code by utilizing online resources. While 59.53% accessed videos and blogs online, 40.39% have earned an online certification or taken an online course on coding. 31.62% learned a lot of their skills from online forums.

Key Point 5: Hurray! developers are increasingly becoming aware of mental health

In the near past, mental health was not given the desired attention by most employers and employees and even amongst programmers. The case seems to be a little different now. The report states that the response gotten on the issue of mental health is more than twice the percentage that responded the previous year.

Notwithstanding, mental health disorders should be taken more seriously as they remain a prevalent issue among programmers. Some report posits that a programmer is more prone to mental health disorders than an average person.

If you are reading this, you should pay more attention to your mental health.

Key Point 6: There have been some disruptions in the technology ranking, but JavaScript retains its place

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Take a bow for King JavaScript! It remains the most used coding language for the ninth year in a row, and I don’t see this changing anytime soon. Python moved three places to become the third most popular language, displacing SQL in the process; it is also the most wanted language for the fifth year. At the same time, Node.JS moves up to become the sixth most used technology. COBOL is the least used programming language, with just 0.53% of respondents using the technology. People seem to be more in love with Rust, though. Below are some of developers’ favorite platforms. 

  1. For databases
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About one-half of professional developers would prefer to use MySQL server over other alternatives. PostgreSQL follows closely in the preference order.

  1. For cloud platforms

AWS retains its leadership position as the most utilized cloud platform. However, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure follow closely in the second and third positions, respectively.

  1. For web frameworks 

React.js has eclipsed jQuery to become the most used framework this year, with 40.14% of respondents choosing it over jQuery and the other frameworks. The Svelte framework is, however, the most loved.

  1. Other tools

Most software engineers overwhelmingly selected git as a basic tool for their job.

Key Point 7: The moneybag has changed hands

Perl was the highest-paying language for software engineers in 2020, but Clojure seems to be giving programmers the fat check for this year. Perl is now the fifth-highest paying language. Clojure developers have an average salary of $95,000, while Dart developers come last with an average salary of $32,986.

Engineering managers receive the highest salary per developer type, followed by C-suite employees, DevOps experts, and data engineers. Mobile developers and student developers are the least paid, earning $41,597 and $19,452, respectively.

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Key Point 8: full-time professional programmers are switching to a more flexible work schedule

According to this year’s survey, 11.2% of professional programmers claim to be independent contractors, self-employed, or freelancers, as against 9.5 percent from last year. Again, 81 percent of coders say they are full-time employees. This is less than 83% from 2020.


Stack Overflow Survey is an annual practice by the Stack Overflow community that aims to aggregate the preference, trends, and happenings of programmers globally by issuing surveys to participants (who, of course, are programmers and developers). This 2021 outlook will help you harness change and improve your projects in the year ahead.