Experiences of Early Career Software Developers

Experiences of Early Career Software Developers

An evidence-based software engineering study

TLDR; Are you a software developer* with less than five years of experience? Share your experience in our 10-minute survey.

Your contributions may help inform future early career engineers and their managers about what works and what doesn't during onboarding and beyond.

*Software developer, QA engineer, infra engineer, network engineer, security engineer, site reliability, dev ops, data engineer or related; or any type of lead or manager role.

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Purpose of this Study

It is no secret that landing an entry-level software development role as a new graduate or early-career software developer in a saturated market is an arduous and highly competitive endeavor.

According to DataUSA, in the United States alone upwards of 50 thousand computer science degrees were awarded in 2020 and that number is expected to grow 12% each year.

But what happened after you landed that role?

The purpose of this study is to learn more about:

  1. What is anecdotally called a “sink-or-swim” environment, the effects of this environment, and the actions that they take when they encounter it.

  2. Gather evidence of what does not qualify as a sink-or-swim environment.

  3. Gather evidence of what served as a positive environment for early-career developers.

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Research Team

Xin Zhao is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Seattle University. His research spans Empirical Software Engineering, Model-Based Systems Engineering, Code Smells, and Systems Models Refactoring. View his website here.

Narissa (Nars) Tsuboi is a Master of Computer Science candidate at Seattle University. She is interested in human factors in software engineering, community smells, and developer morale.


For any questions or concerns about this study please email .