Rust Use Continues To Increase
Written by Janet Swift   
Wednesday, 16 February 2022

The 2021 Rust Survey, the results of which have just come out, show not only increased use of the language for work purposes but also that developers are gaining confidence for using it for production-ready code.


Although a relatively new and niche language, Rust punches above its weight and has attracted a strong following since its was pioneered in 2010 by Mozilla as a safe, fast and concurrent language. Rust has consistently emerged as the "Most-loved" language in Stack Overflow's Developer Survey despite only being used by relatively few. In the 2021 edition of the survey it again gained this accolade with 87% of those who had worked with Rust wanting to continue to do so. However, it had been used by only 7% of all respondents and 6% of Professional developers.

The sixth annual survey of Rustaceans was conducted in December 2021 and had a larger number of complete responses than ever before, 9354 respondents, which exceeded the previous year's total by roughly 1500 responses. The number of  respondents who reported they used Rust had also increased, from 83% in 2020 to 90% in 2021. Another 5% stated they had used Rust at some point in the past but no longer did so, (compared to 7% the previous time) and 4% had not used Rust.

For the first time respondents were asked about their expertise in using Rust. While only 8% claimed to be expert in the language, three quarters of respondents felt able to write useful code, although 27% admitted to struggling at times.

rust expertise

The blog post from the Rust Survey Team also noted:

Overall, Rustaceans seem to be having a great time writing Rust with only 1% saying it isn't fun to use. Only a quarter of a percent find Rust doesn't have any real benefit over other programming languages.

Rust has also moved further towards being a language used for work purposes with 59% of respondents using it at work - turning the tables on the previous year when only 42% did.

rust work

 Of respondents using Rust at work, 89% said their teams found it fun and enjoyable to program amd 90% agreed with the statement that their teams were likely to use it again in the future.

The report notes:

As for why respondents are using Rust at work, the top answer was that it allowed users "to build relatively correct and bug free software" with 96% of respondents agreeing with that statement. After correctness, performance (92%) was the next most popular choice. 89% of respondents agreed that they picked Rust at work because of Rust's much-discussed security properties.

2021 was an important year for the Rust community as is saw the formation of the Rust Foundation. This represented an important step towards a secure future for the language after Mozilla ditched its experimental Servo browser-rendering engine and laid off the experienced Rust programmers who had led its development as an open source project. 

Responses to questions probing concerns for the future revealed that 30% were worried that Rust would not find the proper support they need to continue to develop the language and community in a healthy way. Commenting on behalf of the Rust Foundation the blog post states:

With the establishment of the Rust Foundation, support structures are coming into place that hopefully will address this point, but no doubt plenty of work is still ahead of us. 


More Information

Rust Developer Survey Results

Rust Website

Related Articles

Rust Survey 2020

Daily Rust Use Increases, Survey Finds 

Rust Survey Revelations

Rust Team Announces Rust Foundation

Mozilla Layoffs - The Fallout

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 August 2023 )