Commentary

No Surprise: Study Shows Lack Of Diversity In Coder Community

From mobile developers to designers to data scientists to product managers to system administrators: these are the folks who make the mobile world go ‘round.

While not always pretty, Stack Overflow’s annual developer study paints the clearest picture imaginable of this influential lot.

Based on a survey of more than 100,000 respondents in 183 countries, the report reveals that the vast majority of coders are still college-educated (about 70%), white (74%), heterosexual (93%), men (93%) between the ages of 18 and 44 (90%).

Stateside, the developer community is no less homogeneous, the programmer haunt found.

This year, 7.4% of professional developers in the United States identified as black, Hispanic or Latino/Latina, or Native American.

On a slightly more encouraging note, more than 10% of student programmers in the United States identified as a member of one of these minority groups.

Citing data from Quantcast, Stack Overflow also found that women account for about 10% of its domestic Web traffic.

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When considering a career in coding, men and women clearly have different value systems. Women said their highest priorities were company culture and opportunities for professional development, while men said their highest priorities were compensation and working with specific technologies.

Overall, the developer community is quite green. More than a third have been coding for fewer than six years, while the majority (57%) have been doing so professionally for fewer than six years.

Consistent with the broader population, roughly 25% of respondents reported living with some form of mental illness or disability. Opposing a popular stigma, however, only 2% of developers said they live with autism. Mood disorders (9%) and anxiety disorders (8%) were much more commonly reported.

Suggesting some degree of work-life balance, only 13% of respondents reported spending more than 12 hours a day on their computers -- although they were not asked about the additional time they spent on other gadgets.

Boding less well for their physical health, about 70% of respondents said they only spend between 30 minutes and 2 hours a day outside.

Meanwhile, if companies or other organizations want to host a hackathon, they should know that fewer than a fifth (19%) of coders say they participate in such events for the money.

Instead, most (76%) say they do it for enjoyment; to improve their coding skills (66%); or to familiarize themselves with new coding language, framework, or other technology (51%).

As for preferred platforms, nearly half (48%) said they favor Linux, 35% went with Windows, while 30% aligned themselves most closely with Android.

Additionally, about 18% said they preferred Mac OS, 16% picked iOS as their favorite platform, while 16% cited WordPress as their top choice.

Finally, to end on an ominous note, about 5% of respondents freely admitted that they would write code for an “unethical purpose,” while more than a third (37%) said such a choice would depend "on what it is.”

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