How many Scala developers are there in the world?

I was curious how many Scala developers there are in the world, so I did a little research. There aren’t a huge number of data sources, but here’s what I found.

18.5M to 23M developers in the world

A 2017 daxx.com article suggests that there are between 18.5 and 23 million software developers in the world, and that number will reach 27.7M by 2023. (Those last two values come from EvansData.com.) A few links I share in the “Notes” section below all show around 20M developers.

4.4 to 5% of them use Scala

This Stack Overflow (SO) survey states that Scala is used by 4.4% of the developers in their survey.

As another data point, this JetBrains survey from early 2018 states that 5% of their survey respondents use Scala “regularly.” (Another 4% plan to adopt it in the future.)

The survey says ...

Therefore, if you assume there are 20M developers in the world — roughly splitting the difference of the 18.5-23M values — the SO value of 4.4% says that there are 880,000 Scala developers in the world, and the JetBrains value of 5% equates to 1,000,000 Scala developers in the world.

(JetBrains only shows whole numbers on their survey, so “5%” may actually be in the range of 4.51% to 5.49%. My calculation assumes 5.0%, but if you prefer to use 5.49% to estimate the high end, that equates to 1,098,000 Scala developers.)

Summary: Assuming that there are 20 million developers in the world, the data shows that there are 880,000 to 1,000,000 Scala developers.

Update: I wrote this article in mid-November, 2018, and since most of that data is from 2017 or early 2018, I think it’s safe to say that there are one million Scala developers in the world.

Verifying these numbers

As a way of trying to verify these numbers, I knew that in 2010 Oracle claimed that there were 9M Java developers. So if you take the same approach with Java, you’ll see that SO says that 45% of all developers know Java, and with 20M worldwide developers that gives you 9M Java developers. That number is consistent with Oracle’s claim, albeit it eight years later.

I’m sure there are other ways to verify these numbers. If you know of any concrete data points, feel free to leave a note in the Comments section below. Also, see the next section for more data resources.

Notes about the data

A few other notes about the data used in this article:

  • The SO programming language percentage values are based on 78,334 survey responses
  • JetBrains states that they surveyed 6,000 developers; I don’t see a number of how many people responded, so it’s not clear if their survey is based on 6,000 responses or not
  • The JetBrains survey shows that 4% of their respondents plan to adopt Scala in the future
  • SO estimates that they have 50M monthly visitors, and 21M of them are professional developers and university-level students
  • The daxx.com article shows several data sources with estimates of approximately 4M developers in the U.S., which is consistent with the SO estimate of 4.1M U.S. developers
  • A 2013 computerworld.com article stated that there were 18.2M developers in the world at that time
  • This 2017 Redmonk article says there might be 21M developers in the world.
  • The EvansData.com web page (and paid report) is stated as a source by many websites, including Wikipedia

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