Python rates as the most wanted programming language

Stack Overflow developer survey 2019: Python more popular than Java

Sarah Schlothauer
stack overflow
© Shutterstock / NicoElNino

Stack Overflow’s annual developer survey is back with results for 2019. Find out what technology is most loved, most dreaded, and most wanted. This year there are more insights about the global developer profile, demographics, and what challenges get in the way of workflow. With nearly 90,000 responses from around the globe, this is the world’s largest developer survey.

Stack Overflow’s annual Developer Survey sheds light on trending programming languages, technology developers love (and dread) and what direction developer salaries are moving in globally. The 2019 survey results are now available for your perusal, as well as some key takeaways.

Nearly 90,000 developers took the survey, representing responses from 179 countries from around the world. Let’s take a look into what the data entails.

Python slithers up in popularity

Stack Overflow recently crowned Python has the most questioned language on their site, overtaking JavaScript.

Now, the Developer Survey 2019 reveals that Python has “edged out Java” and is the second most loved language. Stack Overflow refers to Python as the “fastest-growing major programming language”.

This year it also ranks as the number one most wanted language.

Loved, dreaded, and wanted

Each year, the survey asks developers about which languages they want to continue using, and which they hope to never work with again. Here are the annual most loved, dreaded, and wanted languages across the board:

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Top 5 most loved languages:

Rust: 83.5%
Python: 73.1%
TypeScript: 73.1%
Kotlin: 72.6%
WebAssembly: 69.5%

2019 marks the fourth year in a row with Rust at the top of the loved charts.

Top 5 most dreaded languages:

VBA: 75.2%
Objective-C: 68.7%
Assembly: 64.4%
C: 57.5%
PHP: 54.2%

Compared to last year, this list differs a bit. For instance, PHP was previously much further down on the “dreaded” list, while this year it broke into the top 5. C also moved up a few notches in the dreaded list, meaning that developers no longer wish to work with them.

Top 5 most wanted languages:

Python: 25.7%
JavaScript: 17.8%
Go: 15.0%
TypeScript: 14.6%
Kotlin: 11.1%
The top most wanted languages are nearly identical to last year’s report.

Measuring employment

Globally, over 90% of professional developers are employeed in some capacity (full-time, part-time, or freelancing). Of those 90%, a majority report satisfaction with their career and jobs. 40.0% report that they are “very satisfied” and 34.3% are “slightly satisfied”.

According to the data, developers frequently change jobs. 32.4% of respondents last changed jobs less than one year ago. Over half of respondents changed jobs within the past two years.

Globally, top earning roles remain fairly consistent after job salary converts from local currency to USD.

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Top 5 best paid developer positions:

  • Engineering manager: $95k
  • Site reliability engineer: $85k
  • DevOps specialist: $71k
  • Data engineer: $66k
  • Data scientist or machine learning specialist: $61k

For the first year, Stack Overflow asked the amount of hours developers work. A majority (51.7%) self-reported working between 40 to 44 hours a week. Senior executives/VPs pulled in the most weekly hours with an average of 47.7.

What challenges do developers face? In the professional sphere, respondents reported distracting work environments as the biggest challenge to productivity. Following this, meetings, non-development work impacted workflow.

Demographic results

The demographic results reveal who makes up the global developer profile.

When it comes to developer roles, these are the top five most common developer types:

  • Full-stack developer: 51.9%
  • Back-end developer: 50.0%
  • Front-end developer: 32.8%
  • Desktop or enterprise application developer: 21.3%
  • Mobile developer: 18.1%

45% of developers report that they learned to code less than 10 years ago. Meanwhile, the majority of respondents (41.0%) have been coding professionally for less than 5 years. A majority of respondents (45.3%) have a Bachelor’s degree, or an equivalent level of formal education.

Globally, 91.4% of respondents were men. 8.5% of respondents were women and 1.3% were non-binary or genderqueer. In the United States, the amount of women respondents rose from 9% in 2018 to 11% in 2019. A separate identification question reveals that 1.2% of respondents are transgender, doubling the number from last year.

2019 is the second year that the Developer Survey asks about sexual orientation. With similar numbers compared to last year: 93.0% of respondents are straight/heterosexual; 5.5% are bisexual; and 2.7% are gay or lesbian.  These numbers point to a gradual improvement in gender diversity and LGBT inclusion.

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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