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  1. And 2 in 5 programmers gripe they are underpaid The Go programming language tops the list of skills that software developers say they'll learn next, according to a survey of 116,000 programmers conducted by hiring biz HackerRank. Some 36.2 per cent of respondents expressed interest in the Google-backed language, which is suitable for systems programming for those reconciled to the potential performance impact of built-in garbage collection. Python came next on the planned study list, with 27.7 per cent looking to enjoy the chaos of the language's package management ecosystem, followed by Kotlin, a more approachable, less litigation-prone Java, at 24.9 per cent. Typescript, JavaScript's more responsible younger sibling, finished fourth in the beauty contest, at 20.7 percent. In its wake came R (20 per cent), Scala (18.7 per cent), Swift (16.7 per cent), Rust (16.3 per cent), Ruby (15.9 per cent), and JavaScript (15 per cent) – which happens to be the most widely known language. JavaScript, for all its bad parts, is the language skill corporate hiring managers most look for (53.6 per cent) when recruiting, according to the survey. That's followed by Python (49.5 per cent), Java (44.1 per cent), C# (19.7 per cent), C++ (18.3 per cent), PHP (17 per cent), no preference (14.3 per cent), C (11.5 per cent), Go (11 per cent), and Ruby (7.9 per cent). The most common role companies are looking to fill is full-stack developer, followed by back-end developer, and data scientist. Among coders looking to maximize compensation, it's not JavaScript that pays the most. That honor goes to Perl. According to the survey, Perl devs earn 54 per cent more than the average developer, which perhaps explains why it was deemed the most hated programming language a few years ago. Scala (+42 per cent above salary average) and Go (+33 per cent above salary average) also appear to pad one's paycheck. HackerRank speculates that the higher salary average correlates with developer seniority, since about 10 per cent of senior developers know Perl, beloved by El Reg, while only about two per cent of developers do. Nearly one in three hiring managers (32 per cent) have brought in coding bootcamp graduates and most (72 per cent) found bootcampers to be at least as well equipped for the job as other hires. It has been suggested that the buggy app produced for the recent Iowa Democratic Caucus came from inexperienced developers. Make of that what you will. Also, self-taught programmers may be heartened to learn that 32 per cent of developers who work for companies of 49 people or less do not have a college degree. That figure is only 9 per cent among companies with more than 10,000 employees. In the US, the highest paying metro areas in terms of average salary for developers are San Francisco ($147,947.71), Seattle ($134,538.52), Los Angeles ($129,079.97), Boston ($116,803.62), and New York City ($115,792.24). New York City is the most expensive US city in recent cost-of-living figures, with San Francisco coming in third behind Honolulu. US developers make more on average ($109,167.36) than anywhere else in the world. Next on the list are Australia ($88,538.51), Canada ($72,771.32), Netherlands($68,194.06), and the UK ($65,387.57). If you ask developers around the world whether they're being paid fairly, only 35 per cent believe so. About 39 per cent contend they're not being paid what they're worth. And 26 per cent aren't sure. Perhaps the most distressing stat put forth in the survey is a look at how developers spend their leisure time. Asked what they do to take a break from coding, 2.8 per cent said they never take a break from coding. The Register hopes this represents the percentage of people who amuse themselves by deliberately submitting false data to surveys. The full 2020 Developer Skills Report can be found on the HackerRank website. Source
  2. C, Java, and Python hold onto the top 3 spots in the TIOBE Index for February 2021 R and Groovy moved up the list of the most popular programming languages while Go and Swift dropped lower. Image: iStock/SeventyFour C is at the top of the list of TIOBE'S Index for February 2021 with Java in second place. Those two languages swapped positions on the list as compared to 2020, but the rest of the list is almost exactly the same as a year ago. Python is in the No. 3 spot followed by C++, C#, Visual Basic, JavaScript, PHP, and SQL. Assembly Language rounds out the top 10 list, up from spot 12 in 2020. R moved up two spots over the last year from 13 to 11. Groovy jumped to the 12h spot, up from 26 a year ago. Classic Visual Basic is on the rise also moving up four spots to 18. Go and Swift both declined in popularity over the last year. Paul Jansen, CEO of TIOBE Software, said in a blog post about this month's index that positions 9 and 10 are not as fixed as the top 8. "The last 12 months, these 2 positions were occupied by SQL, Assembly, R, Groovy, Go, and Swift," he said. "I am curious to know which of these languages will become a steady top 10 player." The TIOBE Programming Community Index reflects the popularity of programming languages and is updated once a month. The ratings are based on the numbers of skilled engineers, courses, and third-party vendors as well as activity on search engines. Python's consistency in the top three of the index reflects hiring and training efforts in the industry. Python is at the top of the priority list for hiring managers who are recruiting new developers, according to a new survey from programmer training company CodinGame. The language is third after JavaScript and Java as the other most in-demand languages, as Owen Hughes wrote for TechRepublic. Sixty-two percent of recruiters said they were looking for people with JavaScript skills, followed by Java at 59%, and Python at 48%. A recent O'Reilly survey found that developers have Python at the top of their to-learn lists, as Lance Whitney wrote for TechRepublic. The report, "Where Programming, Ops, AI, and the Cloud are Headed in 2021," found that Python is the most popular language for people to learn, reflecting a 27% increase over the previous year. Cambridge Quantum Computing just gave Python developers a new tool for working with quantum algorithms. The company's latest quantum software development kit provides open access to the Python module. Tket is an architecture agnostic quantum software stack and compiler. Pytket, the Python module, interfaces with tket. This latest release allows any Python user with access to a quantum computer to deploy the tket SDK in any commercial or research context. In addition to encouraging professional developers to learn Python, Microsoft is working with NASA to get students to learn the language. The two organizations created a series of lessons based on space exploration efforts, as Dallon Adams explained on TechRepublic. The project includes three lessons designed to teach programming fundamentals by using a space exploration theme. Source: C, Java, and Python hold onto the top 3 spots in the TIOBE Index for February 2021
  3. Can a Programming Language Reduce Vulnerabilities? Rust offers a safer programming language, but adoption is still a problem despite recent signs of increasing popularity. When Microsoft wanted to rewrite a security-critical network processing agent to eliminate memory-safety vulnerabilities causing recurring headaches for the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC), the company tasked an intern and told him to rewrite the code in Rust. Rust, a programming language that has claimed the title of "most loved" among developers for five years in a row, could change the vulnerability landscape by practically eliminating certain types of memory-safety errors. The language's claim to fame is that it provides the speed and control of C and C++, while delivering security and safety guarantees of other languages, such as Go and Python. Nearly 70% of the vulnerabilities that the MSRC processes are classified as memory-safety issues, so eliminating the class of vulnerabilities is critical. Discussing his newly found preference for Rust, Alexander Clarke, the MSRC software intern, stated in a blog post that, while it may be easier to write a program that will compile in C++, the resulting program is more likely to have errors and vulnerabilities. "The [Rust] compiler's error messages are justly famous for how useful they are," he says. "Through the error messages, Rust enforces safe programming concepts by telling you exactly why the code isn't correct, while providing possible suggestions on how to fix it." More than a decade after Mozilla adopted and began rewriting code for its Firefox browser using Rust, the language may be ready to take off. While adoption continues to be anemic — only 5.1% of developers use the Rust language, according to the "StackOverflow 2020 Developer Survey" — a number of large companies have committed to using Rust in specific development projects. The Mozilla Foundation shipped code developed using the language in its Firefox browser starting in 2016. In 2019, Microsoft stated its intention to adopt Rust more widely for writing system software in Windows. And in February, Mozilla spun off the project to be managed by the new Rust Foundation, with founding sponsors Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Huawei. Why the increasingly popularity? It's not just about speed and security, at least not for developers, says Ashley Williams, interim executive director of Rust Foundation. "My joke answer is that we have an animal mascot," she laughs. "In reality, when people talk about loving Rust, there is the language and the compiler, but also the notion that the community should be welcoming and the package management should be first-class. There are all these values that people appreciate." For companies, the decision boils down to the capabilities Rust does not allow. When the language is properly used, the compiler alerts on — and refuses to compile — certain coding patterns that lead to buffer overflows, use-after-free vulnerabilities, double-free memory issues, and null-pointer deferences. "You make a blood pact with the compiler," says Williams. "You write your code in a specific way so the compiler knows your code is correct." For Microsoft, the errors that Rust can prevent account for the majority of vulnerabilities for which the company assigns Common Vulnerability and Exposures (CVE) identifiers. Using the programming language to build its core system components can help reduce a major source of vulnerabilities, said Ryan Levick, principal cloud developer advocate at Microsoft, in a blog post. "We believe Rust changes the game when it comes to writing safe systems software," he said. "Rust provides the performance and control needed to write low-level systems, while empowering software developers to write robust, secure programs." Yet programming languages promising extra security have not always done so. In January 1996, Sun Microsystems announced Java 1.0. The language boasted portable code — as in "write once, run anywhere" — but Sun also touted a number of security attributes, such as automated memory management — that is, "garbage collection" — as well as type safety and the ability to isolate applets from modifying system resources. Fast forward to today. With adoption at about 40%, Java is the fifth most-used language — behind JavaScript, HTML/CSS, SQL, and Python, according to the StackOverflow survey. However, Java programs accounted for 15% of the more than 6,000 vulnerabilities found in open source components in 2019, behind C, which accounted for 30%, and PHP, which accounted for 27%, according to "The 2020 State of Open Source Security" report published by software security firm WhiteSource. Java shows that developers, in the name of efficiency, often will not use security features and instead continue to create insecure code. Rust is more opinionated in its approach than Java, but the language will likely not avoid the potential to have security undermined by developers. While Rust provides memory safety, it also allows a way around it — the "UNSAFE" keyword. Using the keyword is a way for a developer to override the compiler and prevent the compiler from checking a block of code — ostensibly because the developer asserts the code is safe. Many Rust enthusiasts — "Rustaceans," as they are called — argue that overusage of the keyword undermines the Rust model. While the debate is nuanced, Williams understands the point. "There are people who use the UNSAFE block in a way that is unsafe," she says. "If you put something in the unsafe block, the compiler won't check it, and if you are wrong then you could introduce a memory error." Yet, she points out, even if using the capability to only override the compiler correctly, vulnerabilities will likely creep into developers' programs, and — because security researchers and hackers tend to find the problems that developer leave behind — those vulnerabilities will be found. Case in point: The Rust-focused security site RustSec lists more than 250 vulnerabilities in the Rust packages — or "crates" — and the language. "The vulnerability landscape is not an absolute one, so there are always new vulnerability areas," says Williams. "Some languages can be safer than others, but ... there is no such thing as a fully secure system, especially if your target language has a lot of hackers looking at it." Source: Can a Programming Language Reduce Vulnerabilities?
  4. Plus: What puts off developers from adopting cloud? Price A new developer survey has shown the popularity of C#, the primary language of Microsoft's .NET platform, slipping from third to sixth place in three years, though usage is still growing in absolute terms and it is particularly popular in game development. Research company Slashdata surveyed over 17,000 developers globally for its 19th “State of the Developer Nation” report. The researchers make a point of attempting to measure the absolute number of programming language users, rather than simply looking at relative popularity, as done by indexes from the likes of StackOverflow or Redmonk. SlashDataTM, CC 4.0 According to the report, JavaScript tops the charts with 12.4 million active software developers, followed by Python at 9.0 million, and then Java at 8.2 million. The next three are all-but tied, with C/C++ at 6.3M, PHP at 6.1 million and C# at 6.0 million. TypeScript is included in the JavaScript numbers. Slashdata compared these figures to those from mid-2017, noting that JavaScript developers have increased by 5 million over that period and Java has gained 1.6 million developers. Python growth since 2017 is not stated, but the researchers said it has added 2.2 million developers in the last year alone, driven by rising use of data science and machine learning. C# has fared less well. “The fact that C# lost three places during the last three years is mostly explained by its slower growth compared to C/C++ and PHP,” the report stated. “C# may be sustaining its dominance in the game and AR/VR developer ecosystems, but it seems to be losing its edge in desktop development – possibly due to the emergence of cross-platform tools based on web technologies.” SlashDataTM, CC 4.0 The games we play C# is least popular in data science, machine learning and mobile, the report added. The categories of web and cloud are not mentioned in the context of C#, indicating middling usage, whereas JavaScript, Java and PHP score strongly in those areas. The use of C# for gaming will be largely due to its presence in popular game engines. Microsoft recently posted on this topic, mentioning Unity and CryEngine, which use C# for scripting, as well as .NET game engines like MonoGame and Stride. While Microsoft will be happy to see .NET popular in game development, it is likely to see web and cloud use as more strategic, since this aligns with the profitable enterprise software market. It seems, though, that JavaScript, Java and PHP are all winning more developers than C# in those categories, though as ever the raw figures will not tell the whole story and it is possible that the enterprise sector skews more to C# than choices such as PHP. Even so, the survey is not a positive one for .NET, indicating that it is losing ground to alternatives in the most strategic markets, and that efforts to establish .NET in mobile via Xamarin technology have not won over sufficient developers - though we can speculate that if Microsoft had not made .NET open source then cross-platform C# would have slipped by much more. Slashdata also examined use of cloud technologies, asking developers their technology preferences and reasons for adopting or rejecting cloud technologies. Backend developers love containers, they discovered, with 60 per cent adoption, followed by database as a service (45 per cent) and cloud platform as a service (32 per cent). Container orchestration was also popular (27 per cent), over half of which is Kubernetes. Serverless, meaning services like AWS Lambda or Azure Cloud Functions, came in at 26 per cent. But what drives these choices? The top factors are price, support and documentation, and ease/speed of development. Performance was called out as the least important factor in Slashdata’s survey results. Even more notable were the reasons for non-adoption of cloud technology. Top of the list by far was price, especially when it came to virtual machine infrastructure as a service, cited by 48 per cent of developers, but also for other categories like database as a service (38 per cent) and serverless (34 per cent). Slashdata apparently did not ask about issues such as control, reliability or data compliance. Finally, the researchers also exampled DevOps trends. Combining the figures for Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery showed 77 per cent adoption, though the researchers said that “developers are still sceptical about fully automated CI/CD pipelines,” with 40 per cent giving manual approval to deployment into production. Source
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