Self-taught developers favour newer languages

The recent Developer Economics: State of the Developer Nation report, a global survey of up to 25,000 developers conducted each year by London-based technology firm VisionMobile, has revealed that self-taught developers favour newer programming languages such as Swift and HTML5/JS.

46% of developers using Swift, the new programming language for iOS and OS X released by Apple in 2014 and open sourced in June 2015, do not hold a university-level computing science degree, according to the report, while 45% of HTML5/JS developers have no degree and 28% are entirely self-taught.

Apple’s Swift has enjoyed dramatic growth in the past year

Java programmers have the largest number of computing science degrees, with 73% holding relevant university-level degrees. 72% of C# developers hold computer science degrees, while 65% of C/C++ programmers are degree holders.

Outside formal education, Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are playing a role in supporting Swift developers as they get to grips with Apple’s new language, while developers learning niche languages such as Ruby, Lua and Python are also benefiting from the wide availability of MOOCs.

State of the Developer Nation also revealed a number of regional differences, with Asian developers generally favouring older, more established programming languages. 63% of developers in Asia use Java as their primary or secondary programming language, compared with 55% of developers in North America. Similarly, 71% of North American developers favour HTML5/JS as their primary or secondary programming language, compared with just 58% of developers in Asia.

A separate report by the technology research firm RedMonk in June revealed that Apple’s Swift has enjoyed dramatic growth in the past year, rising from the 68th most popular programming language in 2014 to 18th place in 2015. Unsurprisingly, Swift’s growing popularity has had a knock-on effect for Apple’s legacy language, Objective C, helping to push it out of Tiobe Index’s top 10 for the first time in five years.

Are you a self-taught developer who favours a newer language? Share your experience in the comments.

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