The numbers are in

3 out of 5 developers contribute to open source, new Slashdata report claims

Sarah Schlothauer
open source
© Shutterstock / vladwel

Slashdata’s Developer Economics report examines data from over 17,000 developers from around the world. See what devs think about open source, the rise of Kotlin for mobile programming, and what emerging tech is trending.

Keeping a finger on the pulse of the developer community is important. It helps us see the bigger picture of where we are now, how far we’ve come, and what things will likely look like in the future.

Slashdata’s Developer Economics report examines data from over 17,000 developers from around the world. Survey respondents were asked about their favorite programming languages, their contributions to open source, rising tech trends, and more.

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JS is king, but Kotlin is on the rise

It comes as no surprise, but the JavaScript ecosystem is huge. Slashdata reports that roughly 12.2 million developers use it. (One million people more than the last estimate we saw.) JS excels in web development, the cloud, and third-party app extension ecosystems.

According to Slashdata, JavaScript, Python, and Kotlin have grown the fastest in the past two years. Python’s popularity recently edged out over Java, likely in part due to the popularity of machine learning and its usage in data science.

Kotlin is once again proving itself to be a strong programming language for developing Android apps, and increasingly continues to act as a replacement language for Java. (Over the past two years, it doubled in usage.) Popular apps such as Duolingo saw success after migrating from Java to Kotlin.

Top 10 programming languages

According to Slashdata, these are the top 10 most-used coding languages and what sectors they excel in.

  1. JavaScript: Web development
  2. Python: Data science
  3. Java: Mobile apps
  4. C/C++: IoT apps
  5. C#: AR/VR
  6. PHP: Web development
  7. Kotlin: Mobile development
  8. Swift: AR/VR
  9. Go: Cloud
  10. Ruby: Cloud

Importance of open source

Open source software is paramount in the enterprise and for hobbyists. According to Red Hat, 95% of IT leaders agree that enterprise open source software is important. Slashdata asked respondents about their contributions towards FOSS and found that developers value it immensely.

3 out of 5 developers contribute to open source. Furthermore, people who contribute to open source are more likely to adopt emerging technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality.

Reasons for working on open source projects are layered. 29% of devs contribute to open source to help improve their coding skills. 14% work on their reputation while contributing and 22% contribute because it is just plain fun. Only 3% of respondents were paid to contribute to open source.

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Tech trends

Virtual reality and augmented reality have come a long way from the sci-fi fantasies of our past. At the beginning of the year, Gartner speculated that virtual reality tech would grow in 2020 and expand into a “multisensory experience”.

Slashdata’s report reveals that AR/VR development is still a small slice of the pie and most involved are hobbyists. In commercial fields, AR/VR is still finding its legs.

Top 10 emerging technologies

According to Slashdata, these are the fastest-growing technology trends, calculated in terms of development engagement.

  1. DevOps
  2. Robotics
  3. Computer vision
  4. Mini apps
  5. Self-driving cars
  6. Biometrics for ID verification
  7. Quantum computing
  8. Drones
  9. Blockchain applications (not counting cryptocurrency)
  10. Voice search and conversational platforms

Although DevOps is the leader of the pack, Slashdata suggests that “DevOps may have reached the apex of its hype curve”. 59% of developers are interested in the concept and are engaging with it.

Read the full report from Slashdata and compare your own strategies to the data.

Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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