Survey says: DevOps and site reliability engineers are most satisfied with work. (Remote work doesn’t hurt, either.)

For companies that employ developers and system engineers, you may be surprised to learn that they are your most satisfied tech-related employees. The latest Developer Survey from Stack Overflow shows that DevOps specialists and site reliability engineers report the highest levels of work satisfaction.

In the annual survey, the company’s ninth iteration, nearly 90,000 developers across the globe responded to questions on a lot of topics, including job experience and education, preferred stacks, and overall satisfaction and optimism.

Companies with a specific DevOps approach will be satisfied that DevOps engineers and similar SREs are the most content with their work. But in the tech sector, the survey indicates certain areas for improvement, especially for American companies. Let’s take a look.

Good news: DevOps specialists are most content IT workers

In the IT world, the most content workers include DevOps specialists and site reliability engineers. Though the job titles might be new to most companies, the work has existed for some time. DevOps specialists straddle the overlap between traditional code-focused devs and sysadmins who support infrastructure and internal teams, and their work may center on automating developer processes like testing, building, and deploying.

SREs also work within a DevOps structure, but they tend to focus more on the product: ensuring scalability and working to avoid unnecessary downtown.

The survey results indicate that both roles are the least likely to be looking for new work, likely because these specialists tend to be the most experienced IT employees in any company and among the most well-paid. While they aren’t looking for new work in large numbers, it seems DevOps experts and SREs tend to take the long view, as they report higher satisfaction with their overall career than with their specific current job position.

As developer teams grow and apps become more complex, DevOps specialists and SREs are more necessary to smooth workflow and successful product. This might seem like a stressful prospect, but these employees indicate that because of their confidence, they maintain a certain confidence that their work is useful, particularly when it’s challenging.

Emerging specialties, like DataOps and MLops, means these workers can explore new technologies, so that their jobs aren’t the same routine day in and day out.

In contrast, developers who cite the least satisfaction with their jobs include designers, scientists, and academic researchers – perhaps because the impact of their work isn’t always so apparent.

Python is still the reigning coding language

Another key takeaway from the Developer Survey is more affirmative in nature: Python is still the de rigueur programming language. In 2019, Python edged out Java to move into second place for most beloved language, just behind upstart Mozilla Rust. (Though Rust is more avowed, it is a relative newcomer, so there are fewer users.)

Python is also the fastest-growing language thanks to its ease of use and plethora of tutorials and user groups. A standard entry-level programming language, Python also fuels a lot of DevOps scripting, artificial intelligence, and IoT, ensuring it will be around for a long time.

U.S. is lagging in developing and diversity

Of course, the survey also illustrates weaknesses. The U.S. isn’t as dominant a developer community as in prior years, despite the tech beacons of Silicon Valley and the Bay Area and tech upstarts popping up in New York City, Austin, and Washington DC. This could be due to the early approach to coding that countries like the U.K. and Australia are taking, or the mounting competition from emerging developers in countries like Brazil and India.

As for diversity, men still outpace female developers significantly. Girls start programming much later than their male counterparts. Once in professional roles, more than half of women respondents feel less competent in their overall professional experience than man, despite being satisfied at similar levels.

Bonus: developers love remote work

Perhaps our favorite takeaway from this year’s survey? Over 40 percent of developers would rather work away from the office. Whether it’s working from home or a café or co-working space, developers are increasingly seeking remote work. With technology supporting such arrangements and more companies embracing it, remote work seems to be here to stay.

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