HackerRank recently published the results of its 2018 Developer Skills Report, in which it asked programmers when they started coding.
39,441 professional and student developers completed the online survey from 16 October to 1 November 2016, with over 25% of the developers surveyed writing their first piece of code before they were 16 years old.
How programmers learn
In terms of how programmers learnt to code, self-teaching is the norm for developers of all ages, stated the report.
“Even though 67% of developers have computer science degrees, roughly 74% said they were at least partially self-taught.”
On average, developers know four languages, but they want to learn four more.
The thirst for learning varies by generations – developers between 18 and 24 plan to learn six languages, whereas developers older than 35 only plan to learn three.
What programmers want
HackerRank also looked at what developers want most from an employer.
On average, a good work-life balance, closely followed by professional growth and learning, was the most desired requirement.
Segmenting the data by region revealed that Americans crave work-life balance more than developers Asia and Europe.
Students tend to rank growth and learning over work-life balance, while professionals rate compensation more highly than students do.
People who work in smaller companies tended to rank work-life balance lower, but it was still in their top three.
Age also made a difference, with developers 25 and older rating work-life balance as most important, while those between 18 and 24 rate it as less important.
“In some ways, we’ve discovered a slight contradiction here. Developers want work-life balance, but they also have an insatiable thirst and need for learning,” said HackerRank.
It advised that focusing on doing what you enjoy, as opposed to trying to learning everything, can help strike a better work-life balance.