top of page
  • Writer's pictureBleona Bicaj

The types of content developers prefer

Updated: Mar 14

In the dynamic realm of software development, with technologies and tools evolving so quickly, understanding developers’ content consumption preferences is vital for producing relevant and engaging developer resources. So, let’s pull back the curtain and explore these preferences using data from the SlashData Q3 2023 Developer Nation survey, which reached more than 17,000 developers globally.

How do developers prefer to learn new things?

The vast majority of them (87%) report at least one preferred method for learning, engaging with more than four types of content on average. So, it’s not just about coding; it’s also about how they absorb new knowledge and stay ahead of the curve. But what exactly do they consume? As it turns out, long-form content is the go-to learning method for developers.

A sizable 62% of developers rely on long-form recorded video, and 57% choose long-form text, making these the two most popular types of content for educational purposes. This strong preference for long-form content is a testament to developers’ commitment to deep, immersive learning experiences. Our research suggests that these long-form resources are especially common among experienced individuals. That’s potentially because they delve deeper into technical nuances and advanced concepts, which might be interesting to those with a solid foundational understanding of the field.

At the other end of the spectrum, social media is the least preferred content type, used by only 31% of developers for learning purposes. That being said, the younger and less experienced developers are shaking things up with their preference for social media, with 37% of beginners with up to two years of experience in software development preferring this type of content, as opposed to 20% of those with more than a decade of experience. This shift towards more engaging learning reflects a broader trend: the rise of a generation that seeks knowledge on the fly, combining quick, impactful insights with the rapid pace of digital innovation.

graph showing developers' preferred content types for learning

Geography plays an important role in developers’ learning preferences too. While long-form content consumption is universally popular, it rises in importance among European developers. But what’s behind this continental divide in learning styles? Dive into our latest insights, and you’ll find there’s a higher-than-average concentration of seasoned professionals in Europe. These developers naturally gravitate towards in-depth articles and comprehensive tutorials, seeking to deepen their understanding and mastery of complex topics.

Keeping up-to-date: Navigating tech news

In the fast-changing developer tooling landscape, staying up-to-date with new technologies is non-negotiable, and different sources are constantly competing for developers’ attention. While social media plays a minor role when it comes to learning, it is the most important source for keeping up-to-date with the latest technology news, with 56% of developers relying on these channels. This could be a reflection of the growing tech communities that prefer real-time and interactive exchanges.

The role of social media as a cornerstone for professional updates isn't surprising. It is among the most preferred sources of information, regardless of developers’ level of experience in software development. For them, social media is not just for socialising; it's a vital source of industry news and trends. However, based on our research, as developers rack up experience, their preference subtly shifts towards more digestible, straight-to-the-point content - think blog posts and succinct articles - reflecting an evolution in how they consume information.

graph showing developers' preferred content type for up-to-date

Content consumption, however, isn't uniform across the globe. In regions like Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, social media is a primary channel for tech updates, a practice less common in the Greater China region. The difference could be attributed to the restricted access to many international social media platforms in China, leading to a lower reliance on these channels compared to their global counterparts. This regional disparity highlights not just differences in access and preferences but also the adaptability of developers worldwide in how they stay informed and connected.

Problem-solving: The takeover of AI chatbots

Lastly, we turn our focus to problem-solving, a vital skill for any developer, with a fascinatingly evolving landscape. AI chatbots, with their instant, interactive assistance are positioned as the top choice for half of developers (51%), particularly those in the early stages of their careers. It’s a bold new world where AI is no longer just a tool but an indispensable, intelligent ally in coding challenges.

But don’t count out forum threads just yet! Based on our research, just before AI chatbots took over, forums were the sanctuary for the majority of coding queries. They remain a strong contender, securing a solid 45% preference when it comes to problem-solving. Their extensive knowledge base and nuanced discussions continue to be highly valued, especially among veteran developers who appreciate the depth and perspective they offer.

graph showing developers' preferred content type for problem-solving

It’s undeniable that AI chatbots have received extensive global traction. But to what extent does the adoption of this technology differ in different parts of the world? Our data shows that regions like Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa are enthusiastically embracing AI chatbots, presenting a stark contrast to the more cautious stance observed in the Greater China region.

What ultimately drives content preferences?

A few elements stick out as drivers. For one, the level of professional experience plays a significant role. While highly experienced developers favour in-depth, comprehensive sources like long-form articles and forums, their beginner peers are more drawn to contemporary, interactive formats like social media and AI chatbots.

Second, geography matters. Compared to Asian developers, European developers, for example, place a lot greater emphasis on long-form video material for problem-solving. Additionally, Greater China is far behind Eastern Europe in terms of developers’ use of social media and AI chatbots.

What does all this tell us about the future of staying relevant in tech? It points to a blended, diverse approach. As technology evolves, so do the ways developers learn and solve problems. From AI-driven solutions to traditional forums, the landscape is rich and varied. Today’s developers need to be agile, adaptable, and always eager to pick up new skills from different sources.

All the insights you read through come from the "Types of content developers value" report. Our research covers 11+ development areas. We speak to developers on several different occasions and we can ask them specific questions you want answered. Explore our tailored solutions for more details.

1 Comment

Mar 25

"Great breakdown! It's always helpful to understand what types of content developers prefer. Thanks for sharing!"

Madhuratalks - Taking About Crafted and Quality Things

bottom of page