Edinburgh was the UK’s fastest growing tech hub in 2017

overflowDeveloper platform Stack Overflow has today launched its Q4 Developer Ecosystem report, which takes a look at 2017’s technology trends and what’s in store for next year. Edinburgh was the UK’s fastest growing tech hub in 2017, according to Stack Overflow’s machine learning platform.

Edinburgh’s developer population grew 8% in the second half of 2017, bringing the total developer population to nearly 20,000, or seven developers per 100 people in the labour force.

But data scientists were the real story this year, says the company. The number working in Edinburgh grew 19% over the same period, a sign that Scottish institutions such as The Data Lab are succeeding in their push to drive more participation in Scotland’s burgeoning data science sector.

This chimes with Edinburgh’s growing status as a major European tech hub. According to Tech City UK’s 2017 Tech Nation report, Edinburgh is the second strongest tech hub in the UK. In 2016, it secured £159 million of investment in 2016, more than any other tech cluster outside London.

London remains home to the UK’s biggest developer population: with over 300,000 developers, the city boasts more technical talent than the entirety of Italy, Spain or Poland, according to Stack Overflow’s data. Birmingham and Manchester have the UK’s highest developer populations outside London, at 40,300 and 39,000 respectively. Glasgow trails behind with approximately 16,500 developers, or 6 developers per 100 people in the labour force.

Each month 50 million professional and aspiring programmers visit Stack Overflow to get their questions answered. For this Q4 report Stack Overflow has analysed the traffic to tags across the website to develop a list of the fastest growing tags on the platform, from July 2016 – October 2017, with Angular as the clear winner.

Technologies go out of style just as fast as they appear. Stack Overflow has analysed which tags are losing popularity among UK developers and it’s bad news for Meteor, iPhone and Objective-C which may be shrinking due to the rise of Swift, Apple’s programming language for iOS.

Python and C# have both been high up on employers’ wish-lists for some years now, but in 2017 Python finally made it into the top three most-used tags in Stack Overflow jobs postings in Q3 2017. Python was also the most popular language among developers in Q3 2017, with posts featuring the tag making up 11.6% of UK traffic on the site, far ahead of JavaScript’s 9.9%.

Python, much celebrated for its simplicity and scalability, is one of the most commonly used languages in the world of AI development, which is likely one of the chief reasons behind its growing popularity.

Tag popularity as a percentage of total jobs on Stack Overflow
JavaScript 24%
Java 22%
Python 15%
C# 12%
ReactJS 10%

Considering the changing popularity of different technologies, Robert Eriksson, head of engineering, digital and transformation at Lloyds Banking Group, emphasises the need for businesses to become more agile: “To succeed companies need to adopt a new mind-set all the way from the top, with IT capabilities embedded in local business units to create self-organising and autonomous teams.

“Companies that choose to continue with a centralised IT structure will lack the necessary agility and responsiveness to stay competitive.”

Sean Bave, general manager and vice-president of talent at Stack Overflow, added: “Technology moves quickly; even just a couple of months can make a difference to the languages and methodologies developers are interested in and it can sometimes be difficult for employers to keep up with the trends.

“What’s fascinating about this data is the pace at which different technologies rise and fall. It’s more important than ever for employers to keep their ears to the ground and look at data like this to make sure they’re using the right technologies and attracting the right talent as we move into 2018.”

Founded in 2008, Stack Overflow partners with employers to help them understand, reach, and attract the world’s developers.