R user or R Developer? The survey results

We asked this question to the Community and are now ready to present the results.

Running up to the Panel Discussion “R User or R Developer? This is the question” at the useR!2021 conference, Mirai conducted a survey regarding what makes one an R Developer and how does it differ from being an R User.

The Survey

The Google Form survey was taken by 156 participants between 2021-06-28 and 2021-07-13, and presented 8 technical questions spanning from the definition and skills of an R Developer (for which we reckon there is no consensus in the Community), to what roles exist in the job market and what characteristics make R an approachable programming language, maybe ready for production?

For a quick overview of the results, check out the panel discussion slides:


R User or R Developer? This is the question


Otherwise, with this post we would like to present the results of the survey.

In the preparation of the panel we discussed the topic extensively, both internally and with the panelists. We therefore realized, how varied the view of the definition of R Developer is. With the goal of reaching a common understanding, we asked the Community to pick a description of an R Developer, starting from the more diverse opinions we had collected up to that point. Interestingly, about 48% of the participants picked as definition “someone who develops tools for others to use (also domain specific)”.

plot of chunk visualize-q1

Since the R Developer and R User roles seem not clearly differentiated, it is not surprising that on a scale between 1 and 5 (where 1 meant “R User” and 5 meant “R Developer”), the participants distributed themselves almost uniformly, with a slight pick towards the R User side.

plot of chunk analyze-q2

Independently of considering themselves an R User or an R Developer, the majority of the survey participants agreed, that R is a programming language ready for production.

plot of chunk analyze-q3

We also asked about what the job market is currently looking for. We wondered if there are such roles as R Developer or R User in the place of work of the survey participants and which skills were needed for those roles.

plot of chunk analyze-q4

plot of chunk analyze-q5

plot of chunk analyze-q6

plot of chunk analyze-q7

Finally, a key factor in R’s popularity is without any doubt its approachability for people without a software engineering background. So we asked the Community what characteristics made R an approachable language.

plot of chunk analyze-q8

It is a pleasure to see that the kind and inclusive R Community is one of the main reasons of R’s success among its users.

Follow up

If you are interested in having a look at the raw data, do not hesitate to contact us directly.

If you missed the panel discussion during the conference, you have now a chance to watch it on youtube.