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Discussion on: Some Things You May Have Missed in the Stack Overflow Developer Survey

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Brian Rinaldi Author • Edited on

This is a very good point. As I mention in the intro, when I say developers here it means respondents - so any bias in the population of responses will impact the results. As you mention, due to the nature of the community, there is likely some bias in terms of the demographics. Some have argued that they think that Stack Overflow audience skews younger and less experienced while, as you mention, the audience could also skew more towards white males.

We can't really know how close to the truth the data is since, unlike political polls, there is no election or other final result that proves the data right or wrong. That being said, it is one of many data points (though an important one given its size and scope) that reflect a lack of diversity in our community in general. Perhaps it is off by some percentage points here and there, but I'd be shocked if the actual numbers are hugely different. For example, might the overall developer population be more like 10-15% female? That certainly doesn't seem outrageous, but nonetheless I think the data here on that subject just simply reflects that, even if we take potential bias into account, we are nowhere near where we want to be or should be.