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The Great Resignation is greatly exaggerated

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter where we share the latest tips, tools and insights to help you stay informed about the modern tech office. Today: What tech workers really want, why better office gadgets matter, and a breakdown of your year on Zoom.

—Amber Burton, reporter (twitter | email)

What do programmers actually want?

Close to 100 million engineers and programmers visit Stack Overflow every month. The go-to programming resource has accumulated around 50 million questions and answers since its founding more than a decade ago, which also means it has gained incredibly rare access to a massive base of dedicated programmers who often eschew other social media.

Every year, Stack Overflow conducts a pulse survey of some 70,000 to 100,000 of those valuable users, asking them wide-ranging questions about the state of their field, programming languages they love or hate, why they consider new jobs and why they stay in their current positions.

The question of what workers actually want has never been more pressing. The survey’s data helps answer difficult questions about the incredibly tight labor market employers face. I sat down with Stack Overflow CEO Prashanth Chandrasekar to get more insights.

  • First, we have to grasp the scope of the problem: “If you look at 2021, I think we’ve all been in a very robust environment when it comes to financing,” he told me. “We are definitely in what I would term an IPO super-cycle at the moment, all of these companies trying to go public as fast as they can, whether or not they are ready or not: There is this huge rush to the exit.”
  • The flood of cash and subsequent job openings have crashed into an environment where most tech workers aren’t really looking for new jobs. “What we have noticed about our own data, close to 74% of folks are not really actively looking for a job. Three-fourths of the coder population is not really looking for a job. There’s this massive need for talent, and most people are not interested or not even looking for a role,” he said. “That’s not sustainable at all.”
  • And recruiters are facing increasing pressure to fill the new job openings as fast as possible and with the best talent, given that this huge rush of financing means companies have to seriously prove their worth to investors over the last few years. “That is a massive number of roles to fill, that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on recruiting teams to go hire folks,” Chandrasekar said.

It’s not just about money (but a raise probably won’t hurt). The three things that programmers want most in a new job, according to Stack Overflow’s findings, are better salary, more flexibility and new opportunities to learn.

  • Flexibility has become so important that some workers are actually willing to sacrifice salary in favor of more flexibility in terms of remote work, hours and job expectations.
  • This means that for the first time, companies looking to keep their workers happy and recruit new ones have something that should be easier than salary to offer — more freedom to live whatever life you want to live at work and at home.
  • “It’s something that companies can control to a larger degree versus, say, paying more and more. That’s a very fascinating statistic,” Chandrasekar said. “If they just listen to their employees, who say they do their best work by being flexible, it’s incumbent for leaders and CEOs and hiring managers to hear that.”

But the main reason developers turn down job offers or pull out of an interview process might surprise nontechnical types. Aside from getting another job offer, it’s disappointment or frustration with the company’s tech stack.

  • In case you’re curious what languages really attract folks, Rust is the most loved language and Python is the most wanted.
  • Newcomer Svelte is the most loved framework and React is the most wanted.

“There’s a lot of pressure on a lot of dimensions. The quality of these companies is going to be really tested next year. Based on overextended future expectations, companies will be seeing if they are ready,” Chandrasekar said. “Ultimately employees are going to feel tremendously under the gun to perform, and [these companies] are going to have to hire a lot of people to execute on the promises.”

— Anna Kramer, reporter (twitter | email)

Build a better webcam

We rarely cover gadgets and try our best to avoid anything resembling a product review (we’re just not that kind of tech publication, how very dare you), but when it comes to webcams we can’t stay away. We now spend most of our days in front of a camera: If the past two years have shown remote tech workers anything, it’s that most webcams suck, my colleague David Pierce writes. Veeraj Chugh and Stefan Sohlstrom decided they would try to make a better one. The pair started Opal and created an eponymous webcam in hopes of fixing the often poor experience. The camera, which launched this week, retails for $300. And though your company might not jump at the idea of allowing you to expense such a product, Chugh and Sohlstrom said that’s not the goal. They’re not necessarily attempting to take over the whole webcam industry. Instead, it’s about making the high-end options much higher for those who make a living on Zoom.

Read the full story here.


Whether you work on the top floor or the shop floor, Workplace celebrates who you are and what you can bring to your business. Discover the place where you can be more you.

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More stories from us

Six additional women at Tesla have filed sexual harassment suits against the company this month.

A former SpaceX engineer published an essay claiming SpaceX ignored multiple alleged incidences of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Protocol’s Anna Kramer also wrote a love letter to all the anonymous developers building cool things on the internet.

Today's tips & tools

Hey, you. Please tell me you’re not using the same password for all of your accounts. That’s a recipe for disaster in an online world susceptible to identity theft and cybersecurity attacks. In light of this week’s news that LastPass is becoming an independent company, here are some more password managers that can store unique and complex passwords for you.

  • 1Password was ranked the most secure password manager by the Strategist. The individual plan is $3 per month when billed annually, and the family plan is $5. It also offers plans for teams, businesses and enterprises.
  • Bitwarden has a free option if paid password managers aren’t your jam. You miss out on certain features like password checkups and reports with the free version, but still get unlimited storage, multiple devices and free cloud storage. The Verge and the Strategist named Bitwarden the best free password manager.
  • Dashlane was Techradar’s password manager of choice this year. It stores up to 50 passwords and includes multifactor authentication. Its premium option monitors for data breaches and alerts you if any of your data has been affected.
  • Or you can use Apple or Google’s free, built-in password managers. The Wall Street Journal walks you through comparisons here.

— Lizzy Lawrence, reporter (twitter | email)

Your life in Zoom

It’s possible that you used a combination of Google Hangouts, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and a plethora of other services to video chat for work this year. But for many, a majority of that time was spent on Zoom. The company recently released its breakdown of how all of its users utilized the platform in 2021. Here are the highlights:

  • The top three days of the week for Zoom meetings, starting with the most popular day: Wednesday, followed by Tuesday, then Thursday.
  • 54 minutes was the average length of meetings on Zoom.
  • Meetings averaged 10 participants.
  • Oddly, the busiest day for virtual meetings in 2021 was January 21.
  • Last, a survey by Zoom of almost 1,700 people found that 68% of people said they dress casually for their meetings, and 47% of people still believe it’s never OK to eat during a meeting.


Whether you work on the top floor or the shop floor, Workplace celebrates who you are and what you can bring to your business. Discover the place where you can be more you.

Learn more

Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

Brazilian gaming unicorn Wildlife Studios has faced allegations of “moral harassment” within the company.

A few helpful tips for making your organization's hiring process more inclusive for immigrants and refugees.

Time magazine shared six workplace lessons it thinks we should take into 2022.

And if you’re curious, over 1,000 Microsoft employees shared their salaries in a spreadsheet that was leaked on the internet, and this isn’t the first time.

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to Have a great day, see you Sunday.

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