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Developer 2021 - Projections based from Stack Overflow's 2020 Developer Survey

Back when writing on Medium, I wrote about the Stack Overflow survey of 2019. I want to see if I was correct, and what I project for 2021. Now please note I will not link my old article if you want to find it, search "2019 vs 2018 Developer Surveys" by KaiLikesLinux. Trust me, it's bad.

My old Predictions:

  1. 2020 will see another shrink in Windows and another rise in macOS and Linux.
  2. Rust will become mainstream.
  3. JavaScript/TypeScript will continue to be reliable.
  4. Python has the possibility of shrinking
  5. VSCode will continue to be the IDE of choice for a lot of developers.
  6. The wants in languages will not change much (if at all)

Now these predictions are not well written, but I remember what I meant. 1 is obvious, I predicted macOS and Linux to rise in the developer market while Windows slowly drips. 2, when I make mention of "mainstream" I pretty much mean 2020 will see a bunch more Rust usage professionally. 3 is simple enough, JS and TS will either rise or not drip from top 5. 4 was mostly a guess from the end of Python 2. 5 is that VSCode will be the code editor of choice for most developers as it was for 2018 and 2019.

6 is an interesting one. It means that the languages of Python, Golang, JavaScript, TypeScript, and Kotlin will stay at the top 5, as they have done from years prior.

I have yet to see the data, but here is what I want to look at: the wanted programming languages, the unwanted languages, the most used IDEs/Code editors, and the operating system usages.

Most Wanted of this year

The top 3 most wanted languages this year were:

Name Percent
Rust 86.1%
TypeScript 67.1%
Python 66.7%

This would be the first time in the survey's history (since 2018 at least) that TypeScript surpassed Python by percent. While a small margin, still historical. TypeScripts... mother? brother? cousin? ... JavaScript this year is 10th with 58.3%. This is lower than in the last two years! JavaScript even saw a rise from 2018 to 2019 but is now lower than in 2018.

While we cannot fully say JavaScript will die any time soon, I would but a half-point for the third prediction. For the second prediction, with Rust, it's safe to say Rust is coming hard into main-stream programming. I congratulate Mozilla for their achievement. Python also did shrink so that was correct too.

Most unwanted (dreaded)

VBA still is hated, and really nothing interesting to share, nor anything I predicted being applicable.

Wanted (the top 5)

I was amazed when I saw there was one MASSIVE change. Rust took place for Kotlin in the top 5. While 6 was proven wrong, this does further solidify Rust as a mainstream language. The other four are the same.

Nothing else interesting to mention other than VBA is less than 1% wanted.

Code Editors and IDEs

They seem to be omitted from this survey, meaning 5 is null. I remember vaguely that I answered the code editor question, but still I am not too happy to see it go. Sad.

Operating Systems

Did Linux and macOS rise while Windows 10 fell? No. It remained fairly stagnant from last year, which is a Debby-downer for me.

However, I want to make my point clear that according to Statcounter macOS is rising, Windows is falling, and Linux is fairly stagnant. So I will take this as a half-point again.

Projections for 2021

Since a Mayan screwed up the date of the world ending and this is probably the year it happens (sarcasm), I will say stagnation. Nothing horribly cool for next year. Who knows, maybe V Lang will be added to the list - finally.


I want to do another for 2021, but who knows if I will. I have things to develop, and FreeBSD's to bee screwing around with. Have a good one.

Discussion (1)

dheepak profile image

2021 is here.