Review of the 2021 Stack Overflow Developer Survey

As we noted in our previous article about The State of ColdFusion, Webapper is committed to cloud native development using AWS as our canvas. Stack Overflow recently released “The 2021 Stack Overflow Developer Survey,” a report sharing the collective opinion of  developers around the world about their habits, tools, needs, and compensation. The results were based on a survey of over 80,000 qualified software developers from 181 countries that ran in May & June of 2021.

Stack Overflow’s survey reflects our alignment with the direction of the overall market. That’s not to say that we’re all lemmings marching into the sea — it’s more of a high adoption rate for the tools that get the job done well. We’ve used a number of languages, tools, and platforms over the past twenty-something years. And we’re firm believers in using the right tool for the job. It’s comforting to see that our affinity for certain tools is shared by many — we’ll have an easier time recruiting, training, and developing quality software. That is, with a deep talent pool, adoption and evolution of frameworks, and deeper entrenchment with the cloud, software development collectively improves. Consider how far we’ve come since Web 1.0 or Web 2.0. That momentum will continue to accelerate.

Living on a Technology Island

Perhaps we can attribute our joy to confirmation bias, but living on a technology island gets lonely. Although being first or unique often brings benefits, more often than not in modern technology, moving faster wins. That’s precisely why we’ve embraced cloud computing, cloud native development, and CI/CD.

With that backdrop, let’s explore the direction shown in the Stack Overflow Developer Survey. We’ll focus on the numbers most appropriate for the “tech stack” side of the conversation. Let’s look at what the survey reveals about cloud platforms, programming languages, web frameworks, databases, and other preferred tools.

Cloud Platforms

According to many sources, the most widely used cloud platform is Amazon AWS. The survey shows that Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure are growing in popularity, which underscores the proliferation of cloud applications and multi-cloud implementations. We are regularly approached to look at cloud migration projects, moving from on-premises to the cloud. Although our focus is on AWS, cloud computing is entrenched and growing steadily.

Programming Languages

Unsurprisingly, the most popular options among programming, scripting, and markup languages are cloud-friendly. Atop the 2021 Stack Overflow Developer Survey list are JavaScript, HTML/CSS, Python, SQL, and Java. In addition, other top ten languages included Node.js, C#, and PHP, all of which are supported in writing AWS Lambdas. Other viable options for Lambdas — Powershell, Go, and Ruby — made the list. The takeaway is that it’s possible to find developers who can write cloud native applications — and that means it’s easier to invest in this long-term strategy.

Web Frameworks

Web frameworks accelerate our development process and reduce time-to-market. Over the years, we’ve used a number of frameworks, including Angular and jQuery. Our most recent projects have used React, which passed jQuery on Stack Overflow’s list as the most popular web framework. We can understand why…


Popular databases included in the survey are no surprise. They all work well in the cloud (they have to!) to meet market demands. MySQL leads the way in popularity.

Other Development Tools

Wow! Over 90% of respondents to the 2021 Stack Overflow Developer Survey use Git. Talk about dominance. The most widely used modern version control system in the world is Git, and the survey quantifies its position. In addition, almost half of those surveyed use Docker, which says something about building & deploying apps in the cloud.

What It All Means

The 2021 Stack Overflow Developer Survey illuminates the journey developers worldwide are making toward cloud-friendly technologies. In each area, the most popular choices enjoy good reputations based on their time-to-market capabilities and robust communities. That is, developers have more options available, such as frameworks and tools, and more resources to tap into, such as user groups and knowledgebases. Not to beat a dead horse, but choosing modern application development tools is a winning strategy. It’s a means to developing higher-quality software faster, delivering better customer experiences, responding quickly to market changes, and surpassing competitors. Over time, these platforms will  evolve and improve, and cloud momentum will continue to accelerate…

If you have  questions about cloud migration or cloud native application development, we invite you to contact us.

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