This post was updated in October 2017 with new information.
For many developers, the desire to learn new technologies is powerful. Whether it’s learning a new language for their job or dabbling in a new technology for their side project, developers have a passion for code. So it’s no surprise that the developers we surveyed said that learning new technologies was important to them at work. Additionally, 75% of developers said they work on side projects as a hobby.
Everyone has a different motivation for wanting to learn new languages and technologies. Some would take a pay cut to be able to work with a new technology, while others may want to learn to advance themselves in their careers. Based on our annual developer survey, here are some of the top reasons why developers want to be continually learning.
35% of respondents stated it simply – “I want to learn new languages/technologies because I want to be a better developer.” Although this statement itself can sound vague, it really means something different to each and every developer.
One way a developer can become “better” is to improve their problem-solving skills. The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master does a great job of explaining this in Tip #8, saying, “Learn at least one new language every year. Different languages solve the same problems in different ways. By learning several different approaches, you can help broaden your thinking and avoid getting stuck in a rut. Additionally, learning many languages is far easier now, thanks to the wealth of freely available software on the Internet.”
29% of developers said they are constantly looking to learn because they are curious. One survey respond even answered, “…because I can't restrain myself from learning new things and finding better ways to do things.” We think that sums up a developer’s curiosity pretty well.
16% of developers learn new technologies to keep their skills up-to-date. Since the world of technology is constantly changing, the language that is frequently used now could be obsolete in a few years. Learning new technologies not only expands one’s mind and career options but can also help developers better understand aspects of languages they previously thought they knew.
It’s no secret that coding skills are in high demand, as are certain programming languages and technologies. Some of these languages are more important to companies than others, which can mean higher salaries or better job opportunities for employees with that skill. This could be why 5% of developers said that they want to learn new technologies so they can pursue their career goals.
Additionally, “career goals” doesn’t always equate to something like getting a higher salary. A career goal could be an internal goal the developer has, such as switching from a financial company to a tech startup.