In the competitive world of technology careers, standing out is crucial. Stack Overflow Jobs provides you with the opportunity to create a Developer Story that not only showcases your achievements but also propels your career forward. Among the myriad options available to you when crafting your Developer Story, one stands out—adding tags that signify your preferences, both in terms of technologies you’d like to work with and those you’d rather avoid. This seemingly small choice offers a unique window into the opinions of hundreds of thousands of developers. In this article, we’ll delve deep into the insights derived from these tags, exploring what technologies people tend to dislike and why. We’ll also analyze the relationship between a technology’s growth and the sentiment it generates among developers.
To measure the sentiment associated with different technologies, we employ a unique approach. By examining the tags developers add to their “Disliked” section relative to their “Liked” or “Disliked” tags, we gain valuable insights. A tag’s polarity is determined by the fraction of times it appears in the “Disliked” tags compared to its presence in either “Liked” or “Disliked” tags. For instance, a 50% polarity indicates that a tag is equally disliked as it is liked, while a 1% polarity signifies that 99 people like it for every one who dislikes it. This analysis utilizes the empirical Bayes method for estimating averages and credible intervals.
Let’s start our exploration by focusing on programming languages, specifically those with at least 2,000 mentions in Developer Stories. Among these, Perl, Delphi, and VBA emerge as the most disliked languages, followed closely by PHP, Objective-C, Coffeescript, and Ruby. Interestingly, R defies the trend by being the least disliked programming language relative to the number of people who appreciate it.
This analysis aligns with previous observations that show a connection between a language’s growth and its likability. Rapidly expanding languages like R, Python, Typescript, Go, and Rust tend to be less polarizing, while shrinking languages like Perl, Objective-C, and Ruby often generate more negative sentiment.
To further investigate this relationship, we compared language size, growth, and the percentage of people disliking it, focusing on high-income countries such as the US, UK, Germany, and Canada. The results reveal a strong correlation between a technology’s growth and the likelihood of it being disliked. Languages disliked by more than 3% of developers typically experience a decline in Stack Overflow traffic, with only a few exceptions like VBA.
Notably, the functional language Clojure stands out for its scarcity in negative sentiment despite a recent decline in popularity. MATLAB, on the other hand, is shrinking without many expressing dislike for it, suggesting a limitation in measuring sentiment when some technologies, like MATLAB, have limited relevance in certain developer domains.
While our previous analysis centered on programming languages, it’s important to broaden our perspective and consider other technologies. Among technologies mentioned at least 1,000 times, Microsoft technologies, especially Internet Explorer and Visual Basic, are often disliked, along with the “Microsoft” tag. The “Apple” tag, although disliked to some extent, does not generate as much controversy. Older languages like COBOL, Fortran, and Pascal also make appearances on the disliked list.
It’s crucial to emphasize that this data does not pass judgment on the technologies’ quality or popularity; it merely reflects the sentiment expressed by a subset of developers who feel comfortable sharing their dislikes publicly.
On the flip side, let’s explore technologies that are almost universally liked. To be included in this list, a technology must be mentioned at least 10,000 times. Git stands out as the most lopsidedly liked tag in Developer Stories, indicating widespread favor among developers. Data science-related tags like machine learning also garner significant positive sentiment. Tags such as Python-3.X, CSS3, and HTML5 suggest that developers seldom specify disliking specific versions of technologies. jQuery maintains its popularity, enjoying favor among developers.
Bringing it all together, we can construct a network of technologies to depict the overall software ecosystem. By coloring nodes based on the degree of dislike, we uncover the polarizing clusters within the ecosystem. Microsoft technologies, including C# and .NET, form a contentious cluster. The PHP ecosystem, which includes WordPress and Drupal, also sparks significant debate. Mobile development, particularly Objective-C, reveals a divisive landscape. Meanwhile, operating systems like Linux, Ubuntu, and Unix remain relatively uncontroversial.
In the world of technology, rivalries abound. If someone has a preference for a particular tag, are there specific tags they’re more likely to dislike? Measuring this dynamic using a phi coefficient, we uncover intriguing tech rivalries. Linux and OSX often clash with Windows, Git competes with SVN, and there’s an age-old battle between vim and emacs. These rivalries don’t necessarily involve opposite technologies but represent different approaches to similar problems. They often signify a transition from older, less favored technologies to more modern solutions, reflecting how developers shape their resumes based on their preferences.
In closing, it’s essential to clarify that this analysis does not intend to stoke “language wars” or pass judgment on users who express their technology preferences. Instead, it aims to shed light on the diverse landscape of technology sentiment within the developer community. Personal experiences, such as the author’s transition to a .NET stack despite a background in Mac and UNIX, highlight the importance of defining oneself by the work they want to do rather than avoiding specific technologies.
As you embark on your journey to advance your career, remember that your Developer Story on Stack Overflow Jobs is a powerful tool to convey your preferences, showcase your expertise, and find opportunities that align with your goals. By understanding the dynamics of technology sentiment, you can navigate this landscape with greater insight and confidence.