Utopia For Developers

Aarya Brahmane
5 min readJun 24, 2020

Every year from 2011, Stack Overflow conducted a survey to be able to know better the IT landscape from the perspective of developers. The survey asks a lot of questions about developers job such as how many hours do they work, how much their salary, their background, academics etc.

In this article, I used Stack Overflow Survey Data 2019 to answer several questions like how is developers job satisfaction level, how much their total salary, etc. If you are interested in analyzing the data by yourself, you can find it in this link.


There are several questions I asked myself about the survey, and these are three questions that I am going to answer in this article:

1. Which country is having the highest job satisfaction for developers ?
2. Is there a difference in job satisfaction between developers whose undergraduate major is IT-related an those who are not ?
3. Do developers who contribute to open source projects have higher salary than those who are not ?

I have filtered the survey data so it only contains the respondents who work as a developer.

Data Exploration

1. Country with the highest job satisfaction

In this 2019 survey there are nearly 90,000 responses from over 170 countries, and for this question I am going to use only the top 30 countries based on the total number of respondents.

As a developer, we want the best workplace and environment for us to be able to grow personally and professionally. One of the indicator we can take a look is job satisfaction of its employees. I am curious which country in this survey that has the highest job satisfaction for developers.

Figure 1: Job Satisfaction Percentages per Country

The data shows that United States is the best country in terms of job satisfaction of its employees with almost 40% of the developers feel very satisfied, and from the visualization above we know that 5 of top 10 countries with the highest job satisfaction level are in Europe.

2. Job satisfaction based on developers background

We all know anyone can be a developer even if they do not have computer science background. There are tons of online and offline resources and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) they can learn from. In fact, the result shows that 29% of developers do not have IT-related background (their undergraduate major).

I wanted to know more about job satisfaction when it comes to their undergraduate major. Is there any differences between them? Do developers whose background is not IT-related is struggling with his job so that the job satisfaction is lower? I did the analysis and the result is interesting.

Figure 2: Job Satisfaction Percentage by Undergraduate Major

I found that developers whose undergraduate major is not IT-related have slightly better job satisfaction compared those who have IT-related background with 34% and 30% respondents feel very satisfied respectively.

3. Contributing to open source makes your salary higher?

One thing that I was interested in from this survey was about contributing to open source. Does this have impact on developers salary? That was the question I asked when I first saw the survey data.

We can see from the data that the more frequent the developers contribute to open source, the higher their salary. On average, people who contribute to open source once a month or more have 7% higher salary than those who never contribute.

The correlation between these two variables does not mean if we want the higher salary, we have to start contributing to open source. We need to remember one thing, correlation does not imply causation. One thing that seems reasonable about those correlation is, one need to have some sort of skills if you want to contribute to open source (I did not mean that a newbie in programming could not contribute but we can agree that the more experienced developers must be better at doing this), thus by contributing to open source can make one a more skilled and better developers, and the more skilled someone, the higher their salary.


In this article I did the analysis about developers from Stack Overflow Survey Data 2019, and these are the summary of what we have done.

  1. I measured the job satisfaction level for each country and found that United States has the highest job satisfaction level for developers in the world, and 5 of top 10 countries with the highest job satisfaction level are located in Europe.
  2. I then looked at their undergraduate background and found that developers whose undergraduate major is not IT-related have slightly better job satisfaction.
  3. Finally, I found that developers who contribute more to the open source have higher salary (although ”does it have the direct causation?” is still debatable).

These are some of the key takeaways that I got from analyzing the data, I hope it also helps you gain some insights about the developers job.

Thank you for reading my article! Feel free to leave a comment below and feel free to connect and leave a message in my Linkedin profile if you want to discuss any ideas of Machine Learning and Data Science. You can see my work in my Git profile.



Aarya Brahmane

Data Science Summer Associate at Navy Federal Credit Union| Ex- Analyst at Caterpillar Inc.