Where Do Developers Want Their Careers to Go?

Where do developers want their careers to go? According to the recent Stack Overflow Developers Survey, a majority of these folks want to either found their own company, or else work in a more specialized technical role than their current one.

Specifically, some 33.9 percent say that, within the next five years, they hope to be “working in a different or more specialized technical role than the one I’m in now.” Another 25.7 percent aspire to found or co-found their own company during that period.

Nearly a fifth of those surveyed (19.4 percent) aspire to just do the same work over the next half-decade, which could be a reflection of their job satisfaction: in the same survey, some 36.5 percent of respondents reported being “moderately satisfied” with their careers and jobs, while 18 percent were “extremely satisfied “ and 17 percent were “slightly satisfied.”

Only 6.6 percent of developers aspire to become a product or project manager, and only 9.9 want to be an engineering or functional manager; managing other people is clearly not in the imagined career pathway of these tech pros. (Only 2.8 percent plan on switching to a career in a totally different industry within five years, and 1.7 percent have their eye on retirement.)

“Overall, career satisfaction does not vary significantly by industry,” Stack Overflow added in the report accompanying the survey data. “However, current job satisfaction is significantly lower for developers working in financial services and IT. Career satisfaction is highest for older developers, with ages of 50 or higher, and those with 20, 30, or more years of professional experience. Job satisfaction, by contrast, is highest for developers between 35 and 44 years old.”

If developers are happy, that’s obviously a good thing. But even happy developers can think about their next career moves, or how learning certain skills can boost their earning potential. Check out the Dice Salary Predictor to see how much your skills are worth.