IN ANY INDUSTRY, IT IS WISE TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH RELEVANT TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGES that could affect your career. In a field such as software development where the tools change so rapidly, this becomes an increasingly challenging task. This report is intended to give a quantitative look at the various careers and profiles of software professionals, and shed some light on what your next step might be, whether it is to learn a new language or to shift roles.

Surveys certainly have drawbacks, especially when the sample is self-selected. In our conclusions here, we rely on the assumption that the people who took the survey are reasonably representative of the entire software development world, or at least some important subset of it. The O’Reilly programming audience—from which the respondents generally come—has a proclivity toward choosing open source and emerging technology, and this will affect the results: the percentages of respondents who used certain tools, for example, are probably not good estimates of the global development rates.

The correlation-causation distinction should certainly be kept in mind when reading this report, but it is worth noting that, while correlation does not imply causation, correlation does not deny it, either. If you were planning on learning a new tool or language anyway, it’s not a bad idea to choose one that correlates positively with salary, if it suits your professional needs. Generally speaking, a broader skillset is respected in the ...

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