Go Developers Still Well Satisfied In 2023
Written by Janet Swift   
Wednesday, 13 December 2023

The results of the latest survey of Go developers has been released with insights into how they consider AI-powered tools might be useful to them.

gosurveysqThe survey has been running since 2016 and is now on a bi-annual basis with this one conducted in August 2023. Participants were recruited via a public post on the Go blog and a randomized prompt in VS Code, resulting in 4,005 responses, although the number of respondents to a question was around 3,500. 

Reporting the results of this survey, Todd Kulesza, UX research lead for the Go programming language at Google, noted:

We primarily focused survey questions around a few topics: general sentiment and feedback about developing with Go, technology stacks used alongside Go, how developers start new Go projects, recent experiences with toolchain error messages, and understanding developer interest around ML/AI. 

The Go Developer Survey always records a high level of satisfaction with the Go ecosystem and this time the split was 90% satisfied versus 6% dissatisfied and only 4% neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. In fact 52% chose the Very Satisfied rating option. 

Linux is the preferred developer environment for Go, used by 63% with macOS a close second (58%). Even when WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) is added to Windows it is used only by 41% and as respondents were asked to "select all that apply" there could be a completed overlap between WSL (16%) and Windows (25%).

As shown in this chart, more experienced users of Go were even less likely to use Windows:

Which operating systems do you use when developing with Go?
(select all that apply)

 

Go23Linux.jpg

 Commenting on the use of Windows, Kulesza writes:

We do continue to see that newer members of the Go community are more likely to be working with Windows than more experienced Go developers. We interpret this as a signal that Windows-based development is important for onboarding new developers to the Go ecosystem, and is a topic our team hopes to focus on more in 2024.

In terms of deployment, Linux systems are overwhelmingly prevalent and macOS is less used than Windows:

Go23Deploy

 

Linux is universally the OS of the cloud and the survey recorded that three out of every four respondents work on Go software that also uses cloud services. The preference for Linux is also reflected in the incidence of target databases with Microsoft SQL Server having only 5%: 

Go23database

Questions about how developers start new Go projects and their recent experiences with toolchain error messages were intended to provide feedback that the Go team use to develop the language. Kulesza summarized the outcomes:

  • Our experiment with project templates (gonew) appears to solve critical problems for Go developers (especially developers new to Go) and does so in a way that matches their existing workflows for starting a new project. Based on these findings, we believe gonew can substantially reduce onboarding barriers for new Go developers and ease adoption of Go in organizations.

  • The top requests for improving toolchain warnings and errors were to make the messages more comprehensible and actionable; this sentiment was shared by developers of all experience levels, but was particularly strong among newer Go developers.

With regard to AI he noted that, rather than writing code for AI/ML applications and service, respondents were more interested in being able to use AI-powered tools to improves the quality, reliability, and performance of their own code, as this chart shows: Go23AI

Only 22% respondents said they didn't want any support from AI/ML when working with Go. The top three uses cases that devs considered useful were help in writing tests (49%), suggesting better coding practices (47%) and catching common mistakes (46%). The least attractive were help with brainstorming ideas (11%) and with creating examples (14%).  Only 15% wanted AI to convert code from another language to GO and 20% wanted it to generate Go code from a natural language description. It will be interesting so see how Go developers are actually use AI in the next survey.

gosurveysq

More Information

Go Developer Survey 2023 H2 Results

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 13 December 2023 )