1 in 4 Developers Started Coding Before They Could Drive

Lawless Research had the honor of analyzing data from HackerRank’s global survey of developers. According to HackerRank’s 2018 Developer Skills Report, 26% of developers began coding before they were 16 years old. Developers who grew up in the seventies and eighties during the PC revolution were especially precocious. Almost half (47%) of developers who are 45 to 54 began programming when they were 5 to 15 years old. And there’s a correlation between the age developers begin coding and their level of achievement. Tech company founders, CEOs and CTOs are three times more likely to have begun coding when they were 5 to 10 years old: 15% vs. 5% of those in other technical roles.

Learning is lifelong for developers.

Most developers have an insatiable thirst for learning, becoming proficient coders through a combination of self-teaching (74%) and school (69%). On average, developers know four languages and plan to learn four more. What are the top languages they know now? The majority of coders know Java (71%), JavaScript (66%), C (63%), C++ (56%) and Python (51%). And they are most eager to learn the languages made popular by Silicon Valley tech giants: Go (38%), Scala (27%), Kotlin (27%) and Swift (24%).

Developers use Stack Overflow, YouTube and books to learn how to code.

Developers use a mix of tools for self-learning, with nearly 9 out of 10 logging in to Stack Overflow. More than 6 in 10 rely on YouTube tutorials to learn coding basics or sharpen their skills. Developers who are 18 to 24 show a stronger preference for YouTube than developers who are 45 or older (69% vs. 53%). Digital platforms haven’t made books extinct, however developers who are 45 to 54 rely on books more often (71% vs. 56% of 18- to 24-year-olds).

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