GitHub's 2021 Octoverse Report Finds Devs Flourishing in Changing Times

GitHub's annual examination of documentation and code development found automation improvements, reusable code, and mentorship helping devs weather shifting work realities.
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer

GitHub published its 2021 State of the Octoverse Report, outlining the ways developers are continuing to create code, accelerate projects, and collaborate as COVID-19 continues to transform work realities.

Despite the ongoing shifts in how and where developers are operating, GitHub found coding milestones are actually being reached faster. This is due to a combination of more efficient review frameworks, an 87% boost in speed resulting from reused code and toolchains, and the expanded use of automation. This last factor was apparently responsible for increasing merged pull requests by 36% and reducing merge timeframes by 33%.

Despite all of these structural changes, most developers told GitHub they continue to rely on Python and Java, particularly TypeScript.

Moving forward, only 11% of developers expect their positions to return to permanent collocation in the future, down from 41% prior to the pandemic. The two major factors helping them migrate to permanent remote and hybrid operating environments are documentation and automation. In fact, well-maintained READMes, guidelines, and repositories can result in as much as a 50% increase in productivity, the report claims. Meanwhile, automation was found to contribute as much as 43% to improvements in productivity within proprietary development environments and 27% in open source situations. Both sides also reported higher fulfillment metrics where automation was used to reduce friction.

As new developers and engineers continue adjusting to shifting priorities, mentorship and welcoming community environments continue to play a major role, GitHub noted. This was especially true for open source teams, where respondents reported a 46% increase in productivity when coaching and mentoring were employed.

The full findings of GitHub's 2021 State of the Octoverse Report are available here. 

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