About this report

Every year, we turn to our valuable developer and HR communities to find out more about what’s going on in the tech space. We ask them about their projects, their challenges and their priorities. We dig deep, to find out just what it means to be a developer and recruit developers in today’s job market.

We surveyed close to 15,000 developers and HR professionals from all over the world to bring you this report.

You’ll find exclusive and valuable insights, such as:

  • 80% of HR professionals recruit developers with non-academic backgrounds
  • 48% of companies offer developers the possibility to work 100% remotely
  • DevOps are the most in-demand developers for 2021  
  • Candidate experience is what the majority of tech professionals will focus on in 2021

About CodinGame

We’re on a mission to build the most engaging online platform where developers can sharpen their coding skills for free, by playing games and solving puzzles. CodinGamers can also connect with top companies to land jobs that fascinate and challenge them. We’re paving the way for tech hiring based on skills, not resumes! Over 2 million fans of code have already joined us at

We also strive to help companies looking to hire and retain skilled programmers (Facebook, Bank of America, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Warner Bros, etc.). Our clients turn to our all-in-one tech recruiting platform CodinGame for Work to source, screen and retain tech talent like never before. How? Thanks to our innovative sourcing tool, reliable online technical tests and addictive game-based hackathons.


Learning to code: more than 1 in 3 developers are self-taught

The majority of programmers (58.8%) learn to code either at university or at school. However, close to 35% consider themselves to be self-taught. 

Although more than 1 in 3 developers learn to code all on their own (thanks to free resources such as tutorials, books, YouTube, etc.) none of them consider that they simply learnt “on the job”.

How did you learn computer programming?

Recruitment and unconventional coders

It’s safe to say that developers with non-academic backgrounds (self-taught, bootcamp, MOOC, short-term training course, etc.) are making a name for themselves. 

In fact, close to 80% of HR professionals say that they already recruit developers with non-academic backgrounds, and 24.4% do so regularly. 

There’s no “right” way to get into computer programming.

Do you recruit developers with non-academic backgrounds?

Programming languages: JavaScript in pole position

JavaScript, Java and Python are (consistently) the most well-known programming languages out there. More than half of developers know how to code in these 3 languages. 

Companies are in sync with developers when it comes to major programming languages JavaScript and Java: close to 60% have high demand for these languages. 

However, when it comes to other languages such as Python, C or C++, there’s a spanner in the works. For example: 45.1% of developers code in C, but only 15.4% of companies need C development.

Frameworks: React is 2021’s most sought-after framework

Node.js, React and .NETCore are currently the most popular frameworks amongst developers. 

React is the most sought-after framework: 59% of tech recruiters are on the lookout for developers who know React. Unfortunately, only 27.6% of programmers say that they know how to use the open-source JavaScript library. 

Another framework that makes recruiters’ top three is Angular2+. Indeed, 41% of recruiters are on the lookout for Angular2+ specialists. Alas, only 16.9% of developers say that they know the application framework. 



Do you struggle to hire qualified developers?
Find and hire talented developers with our powerful tech recruitment platform.

Recruitment targets in 2021

We asked our HR community how many developers they planned on recruiting in 2021.

We found that the majority of companies (64%) are looking to hire up to 50 developers this year. 

Other hiring teams have more ambitious recruitment targets: 14.4% of teams plan to hire 50 to 100 developers and 13.5% hope to recruit over 100 new developers.

In 2021, how many developers do you plan to recruit?

Developers are confident in their ability to find a job

The job opportunities are there – and developers know it! 

When we asked developers, on a scale of 0 to 10, how easy they thought it would be to change jobs as a developer in 2021, they gave an average answer of 7. 

Despite the difficulties 2020 has thrown at the world, developers are just as confident this year as they were last year (in our 2020 survey, developers also gave an average score of 7 out of 10). 

0: It’s extremely difficult to change jobs as a developer.
10: It’s extremely simple to change jobs as a developer!

On a scale of 0 to 10, how easy do you think it is to change jobs as a developer?

HR pros predict they’ll struggle to hire DevOps in 2021

We asked HR professionals which positions they have demand for, but predict they’ll struggle to recruit in 2021.

The top three? DevOps, back-end developers and full-stack developers. 

Indeed, close to half of HR pros (43.3%) think they’ll struggle to find qualified DevOps for their tech teams in 2021.

Which positions do you think you’ll struggle to source/recruit in 2021?

HR priorities in 2021: candidate experience is a prime concern

We asked HR professionals what they planned to focus on and/or invest in this year. Candidate experience, talent retention and employer branding came out on top. 

Clearly, companies will be putting all their efforts into attracting, engaging and keeping talented developers. 

We can expect to see new initiatives in terms of team building, recruitment events, new processes, online presence, etc.

What do you plan to invest in/develop in 2021?

Developer salaries across the industries

After cross-checking respondents’ industry and salary, we were able to draft a list of average international tech salaries per industry. 

We found that the best-paid developers work in the “Security” industry, followed by “Technology”, “Insurance” and “Energy”. 

There’s a difference of roughly $15,000 (annual) between developer salaries in these high-paying industries and developer salaries in lower-paying industries such as “Public administration” or “IT services”.

Tech positions and average developer salaries

With an average annual salary of $74,585, we found that Software architects are (for the second year in a row) the world’s best-paid developers, followed by Data scientists.

Both of these high-flying positions boast average annual wages of above $55,000. 

However, wages for other positions, such as Front-end developer or Tester, are considerably lower. Indeed, we found that Front-end developers across the world are paid $34,946 on average.

Like what you’re reading?

Why not subscribe to our monthly newsletter?
Once a month, you’ll receive a hand-picked selection of HR in tech content: 
blog posts, checklists, podcasts, videos, studies and statistics…
including insights from our own developer and HR communities! Just drop us your email below.

Are developers open to relocation?

In a word, yes. Many developers are willing to move to another country for a job opening. 

In fact, 44.4% of developers are open to international job opportunities, but they need winning over! Chances are, they’re looking at job opportunities within their home city or region too. 

36.5% of HR professionals look overseas for tech candidates. Will this number increase in 2021, with the generalization of remote work?

Geographically, where would you look for new job opportunities?

Remote work and developers

Remote work is on the rise and has won developers over. 

When we asked coders if they preferred to work remotely or at the office, only 5% said that they’d choose to work 100% at the office. 

The vast majority of developers would prefer some sort of office/remote organization. The winning set up is “a few remote days per week” (43.2%).

How do you prefer to work?

Is remote work the way forward?

Companies are on the same wavelength as developers: only 5.8% say they offer no remote working possibilities and the majority (52.9%) offer the possibility of working from home a couple of days each week.

Remote work has become a lot more acceptable for companies this year (most likely because the Covid-19 pandemic gave them little choice but to adapt). 

Indeed, in last year’s survey, we found that only 4% of companies allowed developers to work 100% remotely. This year, 48% of companies said that 100% remote work was a possibility at their organization.  

What remote working possibilities do you offer developers today?

What matters most to developers when considering a job offer?

Developers are still looking for the same things in job opportunities: technical challenges, flexible working hours and a competitive salary. 

Unfortunately, HR pros haven’t quite got the message. While they consider, rightly, that technical challenges and salary are of top importance to developers, they fail to see the significance of flexible working hours:

  • Developers say that flexible working hours/good work-life balance is the second most important thing to them. 
  • Only 6.9% of recruiters think that work-life balance is a deal-breaker for developers. They imagine that flexibility comes after the company’s technical stack, for example.


Tech recruitment challenges: competition between hiring companies is as fierce as ever

Our community of HR professionals listed their main difficulties when hiring developers: 

  • Finding qualified candidates
  • Standing out from other companies to attract talent
  • Aligning with hiring managers’ demands/job requirements
  • Recruiting within tight time frames

Indeed, the tech talent market is as tight and competitive as ever. Companies of all sizes will spend 2021 scrambling to fill an increasing number of tech positions, in less time.

What are your main challenges when recruiting developers?

Finding and promoting new job opportunities

We asked developers where they go to look for job opportunities. LinkedIn is their go-to spot for job openings (78.3% of respondents), followed by job boards and! 

When looking for developers, recruiters also head to LinkedIn. However, they then turn to networking events. 

It would seem that hiring companies are yet to see the real value in tech-oriented, niche platforms. For example, 27% of developers say they visit to look for jobs, but only 15.7% of HR pros engage with developers via this channel.

Developers have had enough of irrelevant requests

We asked developers what they hated most about today’s recruitment process. 

More than half of respondents (50.4%) answered “being targeted with irrelevant job offers by headhunters and HR pros”.

In second and third position: “lack of feedback after interviews” and “irrelevant technical questions and exercises”.

What do you dislike about the recruitment process?

Preferred interview formats

We asked HR professionals and developers which interview format they preferred. 

While both groups prefer face-to-face interviews, they have diverging opinions on video conferencing.

Practical, cost-effective and efficient, more than 1 in 4 interviewers say that video calls are their preferred interview format. 

Interviewees on the other hand, prefer informal interviews (21.9%) or live coding interviews (19%). Only 15% of developers think that video conferencing is the best way to go.

Are remote tech interviews the new standard?

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic drastically changed recruitment processes. Interviews, paperwork, onboarding, etc. were forced online. 

How many developers were affected by this change? Can we expect remote hiring to stick around in 2021?

Of the 51.6% of respondents who have recently been through a hiring process, the vast majority say that the process was either entirely or partially remote. 

In fact, only 6% say that they’ve experienced a non-remote recruitment process in the past 8 months.

Have you experienced a remote hiring process in the last 8 months?

Technical skill assessment: developer expectations

When it comes to technical assessment, developers place these methods in their top 3: 

  • Hands-on assessment tests with real coding questions
  • Live coding interviews
  • Non-boring technical tests with challenges and/or games

However, respondents took to the comments section of this question to warn about tests that are too long or don’t allow for discussion. 

Respondents also suggested that talking over past projects (for developers with previous experience) is a relevant trail to follow.

Which kinds of technical assessment tests do you think are acceptable as part of the tech recruitment process?




Each year, we survey our developer and HR communities. We analyze and compare their valuable feedback to create this annual data-filled report. Why? We want to rule out misunderstandings and stereotypes, making the tech talent market a better and fairer place. In 2020, there’s been some major market shifts, with the generalization of remote work and the rise of non-academic developer profiles, for example. However, some things remain the same: programmers are still on the lookout for technical challenges and flexible working hours, LinkedIn is still a hotbed of tech hiring and recruiters still struggle to find qualified candidates.  In 2021, we will continue to empower developers at and support HR professionals with our CodinGame for Work platform.


Who, when and how?

CodinGame’s 2021 annual survey was carried out at the end of 2020 (from October to December 2020).

The survey was hosted by SurveyMonkey and promoted across various online channels (social media, email, and on our own website). 

Close to 15,000 developers and HR professionals from 134 countries around the globe (France, the United States, India…) took part in this year’s survey. We gathered feedback from developers and recruiters with diverse academic and professional backgrounds.

Our developer community

We gathered feedback from close to 15,000 developers, from 134 countries, with diverse professional and personal backgrounds. 

Although a bunch of student coders took part in our survey, our developer community was majoritarily represented by professionals, working in various positions and industries. 

The “IT services” industry was the main represented industry across our coder panel and “Full-stack developer” was the top represented tech position.

Our HR community

We surveyed close to 300 HR professionals from 35 countries, with varying professional experience and responsibilities.

We identified over half of respondents as female professionals aged between 25 and 34 years old. The main represented industry was “IT services” and the most frequent position among the HR professionals polled was “Talent acquisition manager”.


Share it
Hungry for more?
Why not subscribe to our monthly newsletter?