TRENDS REPORT

Developers & AI Coding Assistant Trends

We surveyed over 1,000 developers around the world to understand how they're using AI Coding Assistant tools, what they think about the future of AI, and more. Here’s what we learned.

How developers use AI coding assistants

81% of developers surveyed say they use AI-powered coding assistants. That’s nearly twice the percentage of developers who said they used AI tools in Stack Overflow’s 2023 Developer Survey, conducted 6 months earlier.

Here's how they use them:

Learn new technical skills / knowledge

76%

Generate boilerplate code

53%

Practice new technical skills / knowledge

49%

Debug / check code for errors

43%

Explain, comment, and/or document the code

39%

Rewrite code using correct style / optimal code

39%

Generate regular expression (regex)

34%

Write test cases

28%

Implement algorithmic logic

26%

Rewrite code in different languages (code translation)

26%

Write code to use an existing third-party API

17%

Check vulnerabilities

15%

Refactor legacy code

76%

Generate service implementation code based on an API specification

11%

Other (2%)

2%

Key takeaways: The most common use of AI coding assistant tools isn’t actually for writing, commenting, or debugging code: it’s for learning. Over three-quarters of developers who use AI-powered coding assistants use them to learn new skills or knowledge. This stands in contrast to early studies of these tools from Stack Overflow, GitHub, and Google, which focus on the benefits for developers’ productivity.

Top AI coding assistant tools

Among AI coding assistant tools on the market today, one clearly dominates: ChatGPT.

These are the top 5 tools developers use:

Adoption and frequency of AI coding assistant use

Among developers who say they use an AI coding assistant:

49% use them daily —and another 39% use them weekly

58% started using these tools within the last 6 months

71% use these tools more often today than when they first started

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Question: How often do you use these tools?

Daily

49%

Weekly

39%

Every few weeks

10%

Monthly, or less often (3%)

3%
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Question: When did you begin using these tools?

Less than 1 month ago (5%)

5%

1 to 2 months ago

13%

3 to 6 months ago

40%

7 months to 1 year ago

30%

More than 1 year ago

13%
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Question: How does your use of these tools today compare to when you first started using them?

Use more often today

71%

No change

20%

Use less often today

10%

What developers are excited about for the future of AI

We asked developers: What are you excited about when it comes to AI uses for software engineering?

Here’s what they said:

Boosting my productivity while coding

68%

Personalized tutoring / teaching

47%

Boosting my productivity, for non-coding tasks

45%

Improving the quality of my code

41%

Writing code

41%

Opportunities for practice-based learning

39%

Helping with parts of my job or school that I don’t enjoy

37%

Key takeaways: As in other studies of AI tools, developers are excited about the potential for greater productivity while coding.

A senior software engineer who uses GitHub Copilot describes the experience this way:

“[With Copilot] I have to think less, and when I have to think it’s the fun stuff. It sets off a little spark that makes coding more fun and more efficient.”

What makes developers nervous about AI

We also wanted to know what reservations developers have about AI uses in software engineering.

Here’s what they said:

I have concerns about quality of AI-generated code

55%

I have concerns around security and/or privacy

48%

It may result in lower demand for hiring software engineers / developers

46%

It means I’ll need to learn new skills to deliver value to my employer or find a job

30%

I have other ethical concerns

24%

I'm not nervous or concerned

12%

Key takeaways: The biggest concern of developers surveyed was the quality of AI-generated code This aligns with Stack Overflow’s finding, where only 2.85% of developers surveyed “highly trusted” the accuracy of AI output.

Conclusion

Developers today are rapidly adopting AI-powered coding assistant tools like ChatGPT in their daily work. Like other early studies of these tools found, this survey finds that devs are using these tools to boost their productivity. Most commonly, however, devs are also using AI coding assistant tools to learn and practice.

This new finding has major implications for how developers level up their technical skills and learn to code. The widespread use of tools like ChatGPT for learning indicates a shift away from traditional lecture-based instruction—and toward a future where learning is highly personalized, interactive, and practice-based, all facilitated by AI tools.

Methodology

This survey was conducted by CodeSignal between November 20 and December 4, 2023, via the Qualtrics platform. The survey was emailed to a sample of individuals (n=30,837) who had taken the General Coding Framework (GCF) or Industry Coding Framework (ICF) assessment on CodeSignal, or who had used CodeSignal Arcade within the past year. Respondents were offered an incentive of entry into a raffle for one of 5 $50 Amazon gift cards. The survey was completed by 1,021 respondents.

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