title: Go 2017 Survey Results date: 2018-02-26 by:

  • Steve Francia tags:
  • survey
  • community summary: What we learned from the December 2017 Go User Survey.

Thank you

This post summarizes the result of our 2017 user survey along with commentary and insights. It also draws key comparisons between the results of the 2016 and 2017 survey.

This year we had 6,173 survey respondents, 70% more than the 3,595 we had in the Go 2016 User Survey. In addition, it also had a slightly higher completion rate (84% → 87%) and a higher response rate to most of the questions. We believe that survey length is the main cause of this improvement as the 2017 survey was shortened in response to feedback that the 2016 survey was too long.

We are grateful to everyone who provided their feedback through the survey to help shape the future of Go.

Programming background

For the first time, more survey respondents say they are paid to write Go than say they write it outside work. This indicates a significant shift in Go's user base and in its acceptance by companies for professional software development.

The areas people who responded to the survey work in is mostly consistent with last year, however, mobile and desktop applications have fallen significantly.

Another important shift: the #1 use of Go is now writing API/RPC services (65%, up 5% over 2016), taking over the top spot from writing CLI tools in Go (63%). Both take full advantage of Go's distinguishing features and are key elements of modern cloud computing. As more companies adopt Go, we expect these two uses of Go to continue to thrive.

Most of the metrics reaffirm things we have learned in prior years. Go programmers still overwhelmingly prefer Go. As more time passes Go users are deepening their experience in Go. While Go has increased its lead among Go developers, the order of language rankings remains quite consistent with last year.

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Go usage

In nearly every question around the usage and perception of Go, Go has demonstrated improvement over our prior survey. Users are happier using Go, and a greater percentage prefer using Go for their next project.

When asked about the biggest challenges to their own personal use of Go, users clearly conveyed that lack of dependency management and lack of generics were their two biggest issues, consistent with 2016. In 2017 we laid a foundation to be able to address these issues. We improved our proposal and development process with the addition of Experience Reports which is enabling the project to gather and obtain feedback critical to making these significant changes. We also made sigificant changes under the hood in how Go obtains, and builds packages. This is foundational work essential to addressing our dependency management needs.

These two issues will continue to be a major focus of the project through 2018.

In this section we asked two new questions. Both center around what developers are doing with Go in a more granular way than we've previously asked. We hope this data will provide insights for the Go project and ecosystem.

Since last year there has been an increase of the percentage of people who identified “Go lacks critical features” as the reason they don't use Go more and a decreased percentage who identified “Go not being an appropriate fit”. Other than these changes, the list remains consistent with last year.

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Development and deployment

We asked programmers which operating systems they develop Go on; the ratios of their responses remain consistent with last year. 64% of respondents say they use Linux, 49% use MacOS, and 18% use Windows, with multiple choices allowed.

Continuing its explosive growth, VSCode is now the most popular editor among Gophers. IntelliJ/GoLand also saw significant increase in usage. These largely came at the expense of Atom and Submlime Text which saw relative usage drops. This question had a 6% higher response rate from last year.

Survey respondents demonstrated significantly higher satisfaction with Go support in their editors over 2016 with the ratio of satisfied to dissatisfied doubling (9:1 → 18:1). Thank you to everyone who worked on Go editor support for all your hard work.

Go deployment is roughly evenly split between privately managed servers and hosted cloud servers. For Go applications, Google Cloud services saw significant increase over 2016. For Non-Go applications, AWS Lambda saw the largest increase in use.

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Working Effectively

We asked how strongly people agreed or disagreed with various statements about Go. All questions are repeated from last year with the addition of one new question which we introduced to add further clarifaction around how users are able to both find and use Go libraries.

All responses either indicated a small improvement or are comparable to 2016.

As in 2016, the most commonly requested missing library for Go is one for writing GUIs though the demand is not as pronounced as last year. No other missing library registered a significant number of responses.

The primary sources for finding answers to Go questions are the Go web site, Stack Overflow, and reading source code directly. Stack Overflow showed a small increase from usage over last year.

The primary sources for Go news are still the Go blog, Reddit’s /r/golang and Twitter; like last year, there may be some bias here since these are also how the survey was announced.

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The Go Project

59% of respondents expressed interest in contributing in some way to the Go community and projects, up from 55% last year. Respondents also indicated that they felt much more welcome to contribute than in 2016. Unfortunately, respondents indicated only a very tiny improvement in understanding how to contribute. We will be actively working with the community and its leaders to make this a more accessible process.

Respondents showed an increase in agreement that they are confident in the leadership of the Go project (9:1 → 11:1). They also showed a small increase in agreement that the project leadership understands their needs (2.6:1 → 2.8:1) and in agreement that they feel comfortable approaching project leadership with questions and feedback (2.2:1 → 2.4:1). While improvements were made, this continues to be an area of focus for the project and its leadership going forward. We will continue to work to improve our understanding of user needs and approachability.

We tried some new ways to engage with users in 2017 and while progress was made, we are still working on making these solutions scalable for our growing community.

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At the end of the survey, we asked some demographic questions.

The country distribution of responses is largely similar to last year with minor fluctuations. Like last year, the distribution of countries is similar to the visits to golang.org, though some Asian countries remain under-represented in the survey.

Perhaps the most significant improvement over 2016 came from the question which asked to what degree do respondents agreed with the statement, “I feel welcome in the Go community”. Last year the agreement to disagreement ratio was 15:1. In 2017 this ratio nearly doubled to 25:1.

An important part of a community is making everyone feel welcome, especially people from under-represented demographics. We asked an optional question about identification across a few underrepresented groups. We had a 4% increase in response rate over last year. The percentage of each underrepresented group increased over 2016, some quite significantly.

Like last year, we took the results of the statement “I feel welcome in the Go community” and broke them down by responses to the various underrepresented categories. Like the whole, most of the respondents who identified as underrepresented also felt significantly more welcome in the Go community than in 2016. Respondents who identified as a woman showed the most significant improvement with an increase of over 400% in the ratio of agree:disagree to this statement (3:1 → 13:1). People who identified as ethnically or racially underrepresented had an increase of over 250% (7:1 → 18:1). Like last year, those who identified as not underrepresented still had a much higher percentage of agreement to this statement than those identifying from underrepresented groups.

We are encouraged by this progress and hope that the momentum continues.

The final question on the survey was just for fun: what’s your favorite Go keyword? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most popular response was go, followed by defer, func, interface, and select, unchanged from last year.

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Finally, on behalf of the entire Go project, we are grateful for everyone who has contributed to our project, whether by being a part of our great community, by taking this survey or by taking an interest in Go.