The results of Stack Overflow’s annual developer survey, which was relaunched on May 25, 2021, came out on August 2, with more than 80,000 developers taking part in the survey. For the ninth year in a row, JavaScript topped the list of most used programming languages. React.js overtook jQuery as the most used Web framework for the first time, while Svelte came from behind to capture the most popular Web framework. Rust topped the list for the sixth year in a row, with more than 86 percent of developers liking it. Let’s take a look at how developers have changed in 2021.

Developers in the era of the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has changed the way developers work. At this point in time, many countries are still experiencing severe COVID-19. This is an unprecedented time.

  • About 33 percent of respondents answered questions about mental health, double the number in 2020
  • A higher proportion of respondents were working part-time or on campus, while those working full-time fell by 2 per cent

A new finding is that developers under the age of 18 are more likely to use online resources such as videos and blogs to learn about development techniques. There is also a significant trend towards younger developers, with less than 50% having more than 10 years of experience and more than 35% having less than 5 years.

More than 50% of respondents said they wrote their first line of code between the ages of 11 and 17, compared to more than 15% under the age of 10.

It’s also worth noting that of the 80,000 respondents, only about 1,000 were in China, less than a tenth of the number in the United States. The majority of developers are still from the US (18%) and India (12.6%), with less than 10% from other countries, so the survey data does not fully reflect the current situation of Chinese developers.

Technology trends

JavaScript topped the list for the ninth year in a row

It’s no surprise that JavaScript holds the top spot as the most commonly used programming language. The language, which took just ten days to prototype in 1995, has been in fact the most widely used programming language in the world for nine years, with HTML/CSS close behind. Python overtook SQL for third place this year.

This data is consistent with JetBrains’ 2021 Developer Ecology Report:

Stack Overflow says, “For most developers, programming is Web programming.” But is that really the case? Let’s take a look at the survey’s developer type data:

As can be seen from the data, the ratio of full-stack developers to back-end developers is much higher than that of back-end developers. The situation is similar in China, where the number of front-end developers is much smaller than that of back-end developers. So why is JavaScript so widely used? In addition to the flexibility and simplicity of the language, the node.js boom has made JavaScript useful on the back end and on the desktop as well. JavaScript is not only the most used language for front-end developers, Full-stack and back-end developers also use JavaScript in their daily development. This can also be seen in the main development languages of the 2021 Developer Ecology Report:

According to CSDN’s 2020-2021 China Developer Survey, Java is still the most popular language used by Chinese developers, although the percentage of Java developers has decreased by 10% compared to last year.

React has officially overtaken jQuery as the top front-end framework for the first time

Yes, the backlog of projects supported by jQuery is still huge. Back in 2018, Sophie Alpert, then React Core group Manager, talked about the current state of React in the React Conf 2018. Google Trends data listing React has surpassed jQuery for the first time.

After 3 years, React finally surpassed jQuery as the most commonly used Web framework for developers. JQuery ranked second due to its huge user base. JQuery still has a long way to go.

In the CSDN developer report, the domestic vue. js has a large market share, and the React. Js developers are even less than ASP.NET:

For the sixth year in a row, Rust ranked as the most loved language

This is the sixth year Rust has been ranked as the most popular language among developers, with more than 86 percent of developers falling in love with Rust after using it. On February 9 this year, Rust Foundation, led by AWS, Huawei, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla, was officially established. In addition to American tech giants, Huawei is also among them, which is a very positive signal for domestic developers.

The favorite Web framework, Svelte, took the top spot

Svelte, the 2019 Web framework launched by Rich Harris, beat the pack and won the title of the year’s favorite Web framework. The idea of static compilation to reduce the amount of code the framework runs on has also inspired many new wheels.

React.js was the most requested Web framework for respondents, followed by Vue.js. Django is a strong third place among JavaScript Web frameworks, a sign of the sheer scale of Python developers.

Database, DB2 is time to retire

In terms of databases, MySQL is the most used database by developers, with over 50% of users using MySQL in the past few years. Less than 15% of the financial industry uses Oracle and DB2.

For the second year in a row, DB2 was the bottom favorite database and the one respondents didn’t want to use. Developers and financial institutions stopped paying for DB2, and it was time for DB2 to retire.

Visual Studio Code is invincible in IDE

In terms of IDE, Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code is the most commonly used IDE by developers by a wide margin, with 71%.

Developer data from CSDN shows that JetBrains’ IntelliJ is preferred by domestic users, which confirms the high number of domestic back-end developers.


Stack Overflow’s developer survey has been running for 11 consecutive years since 2011. Despite the lack of data on the vast majority of Chinese developers, we can still see the changes and invariable changes in developers, languages and tools from this iterative data. As a member of the vast number of developers, in the great change of the Internet era, we should be more tolerant to cope with the change, self-improvement, to be afraid of change, face the future.

The resources

  • Stack Overflow Annual Developer Survey
  • Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2021
  • The 2021 Developer Survey is now open!
  • The 2021 Stack Overflow Developer Survey is here!
  • Podcast 363: Highlights from our 2021 Developer Survey
  • The State of Developer Ecosystem 2021 – JetBrains
  • China Developer Survey report 2020-2021 – CSDN
  • What do you think of svelte as a front-end framework? – Yu Yuxi’s answer – Zhihu
  • Rust Industry Research report 2021
  • React today and Tomorrow I — Status and problems