The Developer Landscape Unpacked

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90,000 software developers have spoken.

The developer landscape is shifting, and Stack Overflow – the online community for developers – have revealed exactly how in their 2023 Developer Survey… But we think there’s another side to the stats.  

We’ve taken a good hard look at the survey’s findings, compared them against the market, and contributed our own findings as a leading recruiter in the UK’s digital space to give you the bigger picture as an employer – and crucially, the all-important edge on your future hires. 

Note: The Stack Overflow Developer Survey was conducted worldwide with 17% of respondents (approx. 15,300) residing in the UK. Subsequently, the scope is limited for UK businesses. Please use the following, and the contents of the survey, with caution. 

Polishing Up on Rust 

Among the survey’s ‘Admired and Desired’ findings, Rust has found itself out on top, with almost 85% of all developers stating they wish to use it again next year.

Along with a host of benefits, Rust’s focus on safety, reliability, and performance makes it a much beloved language in developer communities, as it has been for a few years now.

As such, we expect to meet a lot more candidates versed in the language going forward. 


JavaScript Rules, but There’s a Snake in Its Boot 

JavaScript remains the dominant programming language for the 11th consecutive year.

However, a certain serpent has slithered into third position, with Python ranking just below HTML/CSS and overtaking SQL.

With over 8,000 UK Python vacancies against 5,500 JavaScript vacancies (as of 19/06/23), we’re seeing the demand for Python far exceed JavaScript’s.

Despite Stack Overflow reporting negative salary growth for both Python and JavaScript worldwide, we’ve seen a contrasting trend. IT Jobs Watch found that Python Developer roles are currently averaging £100,000 per annum (as of 19/06/23), reflecting an 8% year-on-year increase.


Phoenix is Flying 

The survey’s ‘Admired and Desired’ findings have also shone a light on Phoenix, a framework that’s certainly not as popular as React or Node.js, and was developed using Elixir – a language most developers have not used commercially. 

When respondents were asked what frameworks they’ve done extensive development work in over the past year and which they wanted to work in over the next year, an enormous 82% of respondents stated Phoenix – almost 20% more than those that stated React or Node.js.


All Aboard the AI Train?

With AI being all the rage, Stack Overflow introduced AI as a brand-new category to the 2023 survey.

70% of respondents already use or are planning to make use of AI tools to increase their productivity, accelerate their learning, and work more efficiently, but not everyone’s sold. 

It may not come as a surprise, but the majority of developers that use AI are those still learning to code — a demographic typically made up of younger talent — and those that fall in the pro developer category are more likely to feel ‘indifferent’ about using AI tools in their workflow. 

In the market, we’re seeing more employers demand experience in AI tools from their candidates — tools like OpenAI’s Codex, GitHub’s Copilot, and DeepMind’s AlphaCode. As these tools improve at a rate of knots, we’re certain we’ll see more talent use and perfect them over the coming year. 


Full Stack vs. The Whole Hog 

With a little over 33% of respondents considering themselves full-stack developers, it’s clear to see that employers are demanding more from them. Young talent is trying to fill demand, as shown by those with just 1 to 4 years’ experience under their belts – a significant 24% of all respondents. But do these stats intersect in the market, and if so, what are the outcomes? 

One outcome we’ve noticed is an outcry for this type of talent, but in contrast to the survey, a seeming lack of project-ready supply. 

When finding young full-stack developers for our clients, capability vs. on-paper experience is the reoccurring roadblock we face. In short, the candidate may have the skills, but without real-world experience, it’s tricky to get them through the door.

As a result, the young talent that does have the desired experience and the right skills come at a premium, which in turn puts them out of reach of otherwise-suitable employers.  


Good Luck, Google 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains the leading cloud environment choice for developers by a huge margin over Microsoft Azure (48.62% to Azure’s 26.03%), but further down the rankings, new options like Digital Ocean and Netlify have gained traction, surpassing the likes of VMware in the process. 

The survey still shows Google Cloud Platform (GCP) as a favourite in third, but Google’s attempts to grow its market share in the cloud space have faced obstacles, with AWS and Azure maintaining a strong hold on the market.

At Digital Gurus, we’ve seen this reflected in the market. 62% of our clients’ request AWS skills from their candidates, whereas GCP is only requested 7% of the time; as employers request the skill less, we’re sure to see candidates migrate.

Unless Google can pull something out of their back pocket, could GCP’s days be numbered?


Big Gains for PostgreSQL 

PostgreSQL has well and truly surpassed MySQL as the most commonly-used database environment by professional developers, credited for its “faster handling [of] massive data sets, complicated queries, and read-write operations” over MySQL. However, for the current generation of developers learning to code, MySQL is still preferred.  

Digital Gurus are seeing this shift up close with afar greater demand for experience in PostgreSQL from candidates, though MySQL is still a highly sought-after skill.  


Hybrid Work Isn’t Going Anywhere 

Though the survey shows a 2% increase in office-based workers, more than half of the survey’s respondents continue to work between the office and home, particularly employees from large organisations. 

As for fully remote roles, we’ve seen a 180° switch post pandemic. At Digital Gurus, less than 10% of our active roles are fully remote, and the same goes for just 15% of current software engineer roles in the UK (LinkedIn, 19/6/23).  

Undoubtedly, developers prefer the hybrid model, and we expect this trend to remain commonplace for quite some time yet. 


An Unaddressed Issue 

The tech industry's gender disparity is a well-documented issue, and the developer community is no exception.

Criticism has been levelled at Stack Overflow for not including gender-related questions in its 2023 survey, as reported by WIRED UK.

This omission highlights the ongoing need for more inclusivity in the tech industry and the importance of addressing these disparities in hiring practices.


So, what’s our verdict? 


While the survey certainly sheds some light on some good-to-know facts, as well as the kind of trends we can expect to see in future candidates, the survey is not wholly indicative of the digital hiring landscape. Instead, it should be seen as a retrospective of just how individual today’s developers are. 

Whether it be their wildly varying preferences, their complex processes, or where in the world they make their magic happen, it’s apparent that no one developer is the same. 

This has always been the case.

It’s why our teams work as hard as they do to discover, develop, and nurture their relationships with some of the most exciting talent our country has to offer — understanding their ambitions before bringing them to you so your business can blossom, boom, or break the mould as you see fit. 

The market is an ever-moving beast and a migraine on the best of days. We wish you luck in grabbing it by the horns, but if your head’s still hurting and you can’t shake the ache, just know that we can.

Reach out to our Gurus: your hiring painkillers at

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