The 6 most desirable coding jobs (and the types of people drawn to each)

Ngoc Huynh

Free Code Camp asked 15,000 people who they are, and how they’re learning to code. I separated them by their job preference, then explored their differences.

6,503 new coders answered the question: “Which one of these roles are you most interested in?”

Here are the 6 most popular coding jobs and the (very different) types of people drawn to each:

These roles are full-stack developer, front-end developer, back-end developer, data scientist/engineer, mobile developer, and user experience (UX) designer.* For each, we’ll look at three categorical variables:

  • gender
  • citizenship by continent
  • school degree

and five numerical ones:

  • age
  • programming experience
  • hours dedicated to learning per week
  • current salary
  • expected next salary (the first one after advertising their new coding skills)

1. Gender

UX designer is by far the most diverse discipline in terms of gender, with 52% males, 46% females, and the highest percentage of agender, genderqueer, and trans respondents (2%). Mobile development is the most male-dominated discipline at 81%, though full-stack and back-end development are close.

2. Continent

Mobile developer is the most diverse role in terms of citizenship. UX design is the most North American of all of the disciplines.

3. School Degree

Data science and data engineering are most skewed towards post-secondary studies. Mobile development has the highest percentage of respondents with no, some, or only a high school education, though back-end development is a close second.

4. Age

Mobile developers are indeed the youngest. Their 25th percentile is two years younger than the next youngest role. Mobile being a newer discipline probably has something to do with this. Front-end development is the oldest discipline with an average age of 29 years. Note that data science/engineering is second-youngest, not back-end development.

By the way, here’s how to read this chart (and the other box plots in this article): the “x” is the mean. The horizontal line is the median (a.k.a. the 50th percentile). The bottom of the box is the 25th percentile, and the top of the box is the 75th percentile. Whisker length is 1.5 times the height of the box. The circles are outliers. All y-axes are on a logarithmic scale to better visualize the outlier-heavy data.

5. Programming Experience

Data scientists-, data engineers-, and back-end developers-in-training have programmed the longest with a median experience of eight months. UX designers have the lowest first quartile — by two whole months — at two months. Programming experience is so positively skewed that some of the means, which should be taken with a grain of salt, are above their third quartile.

6. Hours Dedicated to Learning

Full-stack developers dedicate the most time to learning each week, with 25% of respondents dedicating 30+ hours weekly. UX designers spend the least amount of time learning per week with a mean of 12 hours per week.

7. Current Salary

Aspiring data scientists and data engineers clearly have the highest current salaries. Their third quartile of $60k per year is $8k higher than the next highest discipline. There isn’t much income differentiation between the remaining job roles of interest, though all are above the 2014 US median income of $28.9k.

8. Expected Next Salary

Those interested in data science and data engineering expect to earn the most at their next job, with a median expected salary of $60k. Front-end developers are the least optimistic discipline (and yes, this difference in means is statistically significant). Note that expected salaries are higher than current salaries across the board.

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