Two years ago, we ran a survey to find out what makes developers happy. This year, we wanted to go one step further and find out what really drives them. What ambitions do they have for their career, their skills and their community? We got 1000+ responses from developers across Europe and had a lot of fun learning from the wide array of responses and comments. Hopefully this report will bring the community closer together (and help employers understand how to keep you developers happy)!
In this report, you'll find the topics grouped into four sections: Career, Personal Growth, Office & Geography, and Community.
YES, you can get a pdf version to share! Find our full Developer Ambitions Report here.
1. Career Ambitions (DACH)
Developer Role Ambitions
31% of developers in DACH aim to be a team lead or middle management in a company.
Company Size Preferences
The #1 choice for developers is to work for a startup.
A whopping 89% of developers have a company size preference. Though there are several reasons to choose a specific size of company, two details stand out: The biggest reason to switch to a startup is the decrease in bureaucracy as well as feeling more valued. Those who seek security and a bigger paycheck will opt instead for an enterprise-sized company.
Industry of Employment Preferences
Only 15% of respondents reported that they have no preference about which industry they work in.
According to some, working for FAANG is the crowning achievement for a developer. FAANG pays more, as more prestige and generally make people go ‘ooh, aah’. However, we found that only 6% of our respondents report wanting to work for FAANG.
6% want to work for FAANG
36% want to work for a company with a good cause.
Criteria for Next Job
Work-life balance is the most important criteria for developers considering a role.
After work-life balance, developers agreed that team/culture, salary and remote options were the next most important factors.
'Job Hopping' Preferences
47% of developers don’t have a preference as to how often they switch jobs.
Most developers reported not really having an opinion on whether they should or shouldn’t job hop. In fact, 28% prefer to stay with the same company while 25% would prefer to job hop. Our chart below compares how long a developer has been at their current company with their preferences for 'job hopping'.
2. Personal Growth Ambitions (DACH)
Drivers and Motivation
28% of developers are driven by the desire for personal satisfaction and pride.
Developers reported that a variety of factors and ambitions are driving their career. However, it’s clear that networking and status are the least important overall.
Side Projects Ambitions
31% of developers want to work on side projects that solve real world problems.
Only 4% of developers report not wanting to work on any side projects. Whether it’s having fun or solving problems, it’s clear that developers are generally driven to use their skills outside of working hours.
Developers are most likely to hone their skills through self-study and regular work. Despite the prevalence of bootcamps and self-taught developers, 8% of respondents reported an interest in completing a university degree. Sometimes you can’t go wrong with old-fashioned college education!
Soft Skill Growth and Ambitions
53% of developers would like to work on their negotiation & conflict resolution skills.
It seems developers are not only interested in negotiating and speaking better but also at managing their time. While the interest in time management decreases for developers as they gain experience in the field, it does appear to be a clear point of interest for developers across the board
Mentoring and Coaching
51% of developers report wanting to mentor others.
On top of this, 69% report being interested in having a mentor. This isn’t so surprising given the complex nature of the work. Developers must regularly learn new things and creating a reliable community and sharing culture within organisations would likely help developers do their jobs better.
Dealing with Burnout
64% of developers report that vacation is a key defense against burnout.
Meditation and mindfulness also appear popular with developers of all skill levels. Interestingly, developers report being more likely to switch jobs than speak to a therapist or other professional when faced with burnout.
‘When I worked in construction, after I went home, I didn’t start building in my free time. I just enjoyed my free time. I didn’t have to worry about not being able to get a job if I don’t learn 10,000 things in an afternoon… but I have a bad relationship with tech, because I feel the need to always learn stuff and create.’
3. Office and Geography Ambitions
Most Desired Locations in Europe
Top City: Berlin
Even when we removed respondents who are currently living in Western Europe from the data, Germany still came out as the most desired European country to live in. However, we must note that many of our respondents were also users of the Honeypot platform—a job platform specifically for DACH and the Netherlands. This could mean that respondents were more likely to have an interest in these countries than other developers.
Office Wants and Expectations
42% of developers want to work fully remote.
Remote work has been all the rage the past couple of years. Even today you can’t stand up without hitting your head on an article about how it’s changing the world. However, it seems reality is slightly more nuanced as 74% of developers still have an interest in being in the same country as their employer. Only 26% would like to be in a different country from their employer entirely.
Social Wants at Work
The vast majority of respondents reported a desire for social interactions at the office but no particular need to turn workmates into best friends.
Politics at the Workplace
When it comes to employers having a stance on political topics, most developers fell somewhere in the middle. However, it seems that nearly half of developers believe their employers should have a clear position on major topics.
In particular, Northern Europe proved to be the most political and Eastern Europe the least. 20% of developers located in Northern Europe report wanting employers to go the full nine-yards in terms of politics. On the other hand, 51% of those in Eastern Europe preferred an office with no political topics at all.
4. Community Ambitions
Biggest Problems to Solve
#1 Problem: Bad Project Managers
There’s no doubt about it, developers really, really dislike bad project managers. Apparently we shouldn’t have even asked.
Ambitions for Popular Topics
For our final question, we wanted to ask a more complicated question. We asked developers what they would like to see more focus on in the developer community, and they were allowed to only select three options. Overwhelmingly, respondents voted for work-life balance and mental health. While gender equality had a number of votes (26%), POC and LGBTQ+ inclusion had far fewer (6% and 7%).