As a part of an on-going research effort on the impact of collaboration sites on the developers community, we would like to understand the demographics of Stack Overflow participants and their activity. Specifically we are focusing on how genders, minorities and cultural background are represented in the population of users and participants of Stack Overflow.
Therefore, we have prepared a small questionnaire:
We ask you to indicate your gender, location, educational background and professional experience in Open Source and proprietary software.
Filling this questionnaire should not take more than a couple of minutes. Personal data will not be made available to third parties and no identifiable details about individual participants will be published.
- Andrea Capiluppi [Brunel University, UK]
- Alexander Serebrenik [Eindhoven University of Technology, NL]
- Bogdan Vasilescu [Eindhoven University of Technology, NL]
Update We would like to thank all Stack Overflow participants for answering our survey. Discussion of the survey data has been included in a paper to appear in the Proceedings of the 2012 ASE International Conference on Social Informatics ([PDF here]). Specifically, the following paragraph is dedicated to the survey.
To obtain insights in the demographics of the SO, we conducted a pilot study. We asked the respondents to indicate the SO userid, gender, age, country of birth, country of residence, highest education level obtained and years of professional experience, as well as involvement in opensource and proprietary software development. We obtained 136 responses, including 123 valid ones (e.g., indicating a SO userid to be uniquely mapped to an individual). Since the responses were obtained voluntarily, composition of the sample is likely to be affected by the selection bias. However, data was obtained to derive quantitative conclusions.
Our first observation is that indeed the lion’s share of the respondents were male: only 11 respondents from 123 have identified themselves as female, and 112 as male. Moreover, we have seen that the respondents have been predominantly involved either exclusively in proprietary software or both in proprietary and open source software (both 46), while the number of exclusively open source developers was lower (16). Remaining respondents either are not involved in software development at all or indicated a more elaborate answer than “yes”/“no”. This means that a priori one could have expected the share of female SO users to be between 1-5% reported for open source projects  and 28% of male reported for proprietary software . Finally, we have observed that a significant group of respondents (22 out of 123) no longer resides in the countries of their birth due to personal, professional or educational reasons.