Two years ago, we ran a survey to find out what makes developers happy. This year, we wanted to go one step further and find out what really drives them. What ambitions do they have for their career, their skills and their community? We got 1000+ responses from developers across Europe and had a lot of fun learning from the wide array of responses and comments. Hopefully this report will bring the community closer together (and help employers understand how to keep you developers happy)!
In this report, you'll find the topics grouped into four sections: Career, Personal Growth, Office & Geography, and Community.
YES, you can get a pdf version to share! Find our full Developer Ambitions Report here.
1. Career Ambitions (NL)
Developer Role Ambitions
26% of developers in the Netherlands aim to be an individual contributor in a company while 25% want to be middle management.
Company Size Preferences
The #1 choice for developers is to work for a startup.
A whopping 88% of developers have a company size preference. Not surprisingly, those who reported wanting to work at a startup overwhelmingly said it was so they could work with less bureaucracy.
Industry of Employment Preferences
Only 14% of respondents reported no preference on the industry they work in.
According to some, working for FAANG can be a developer’s crowning achievement. These companies pay more, have plenty of prestige and generally make people go ‘ooh, aah’. However, only 10% of our respondents reported wanting to work for FAANG. On the other hand, the most popular option, by far, is to work in an industry with a good cause.
Criteria for Next Job
The #1 most important criteria when considering a role is work-life balance, closely followed by team & culture.
After work-life balance, developers across the board agreed that team/culture, remote, and salary were the next most important factors.
'Job Hopping' Preferences
Nearly 42% of developers don’t have a preference as to how often they switch jobs.
Most developers reported not really having an opinion on whether they should or shouldn’t job hop. In fact, 38% prefer to stay with the same company while only 19% would prefer to job hop. This is a bit surprising compared to what we found on average for Europe, where only 26% of developers prefer to stay with the same company for several years.
Only 10% reported that they do not know how long they will stay with their current company and will simply leave when a better offer comes along.
2. Personal Growth Ambitions (Netherlands)
Drivers and Motivation
28% of developers are driven by the desire for personal satisfaction and pride.
Developers reported that a variety of factors and ambitions are driving their career. However, it’s clear that networking and status are the least important overall.
Side Project Ambitions
32% of developers want to work on side projects that solve real world problems.
Only 5% of developers report not wanting to work on any side projects. Whether it’s having fun or solving problems, it’s clear that developers are generally driven to use their skills outside of working hours.
Soft Skill Growth and Ambitions
45% of developers would like to work on their negotiation & conflict resolution skills.
It seems developers are not only interested in negotiating and speaking better but also at managing their time.
Mentoring and Coaching
50% of developers report wanting to mentor others.
On top of this, 54% report being interested in being mentored by a friend or business connection. Only 28% would like to be mentored by their manager.
'Mentoring is a process. It’s not a toolbox that you open up… You start by talking about something that you have in common and then go deeper.
As a mentor, I’m going to try to open the door. At the end of the discussion I‘m going to try to leave the discussion open so that person has something to think about and something to come back with. I want this person to come back to me and talk again.
You have to start getting comfortable talking to people—about whatever suits you. Just pick something you like and see where that leads you.'
Dealing with Burnout
66% of developers report that vacation is a key defense against burnout.
Meditation and mindfulness also appear popular, coming in third after vacation and talking to one’s manager. Interestingly, our Europe-wide study found that only 26% of developers would prefer to talk to a therapist as opposed 33% of developers in the Netherlands.
3. Office and Geography Ambitions
Most Desired Locations in Europe
Top City: Amsterdam
Office Wants and Expectations
38% of developers want to work fully remote.
Remote work has been all the rage the past couple of years. Even today you can’t stand up without hitting your head on an article about how it’s changing the world. However, it seems reality is slightly more nuanced as 74% of developers in the Netherlands still have an interest in being in the same country as their employer.
Social Wants at Work
The vast majority of respondents reported a desire for social interactions at the office but no particular need to turn workmates into best friends.
Politics at the Workplace
When it comes to employers having a stance on political topics, most developers fell somewhere in the middle. However, it seems that nearly half of developers believe their employers should have a clear position on major topics.
In particular, Northern Europe proved to be the most political and Eastern Europe the least. 20% of developers located in Northern Europe report wanting employers to go the full nine-yards in terms of politics. On the other hand, 50% of those in Eastern Europe preferred an office with no political topics at all.
4. Community Ambitions
Biggest Problems to Solve
#1 Problem: Bad Project Managers
There’s no doubt about it. Developers really, really dislike bad project managers. Apparently we shouldn’t have even asked. We are so sorry.
Ambitions for Popular Topics
For our final question, we wanted to ask a more complicated question. We asked developers what they would like to see more focus on in the developer community, and they were allowed to only select three options. Overwhelmingly, respondents voted for work-life balance and mental health. While gender equality had a number of votes (21%), POC and LGBTQ+ inclusion had far fewer (7, 6%).